GTA V Review

You know what they say, “you can never have too much of a good thing” and certainly this sentiment rings truer than ever if we’re talking about the Grand Theft Auto V. Leading up to its initial release there was definitely an air of excitement abounding, people weren’t sure what to expect. The pessimists were quick to jump on board the “it’ll pale in comparison to the mighty GTA IV” boat while the optimists were ready to go full-on “kool-aid swilling cult member” in their intense support of the title. The point is – expectations were running high and Rockstar needed to pull something magical out of their fantastic, yet sometimes dirty hat, which they did, of course. Now we’re seeing the game re-released onto 8th / next-generation consoles, and need we remind you that this comes AFTER all the statements made in the press about how this wouldn’t be happening. Well, it looks like all the sandbox aficionados got their wish, GTA V has landed on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, the question is – what new features is it flaunting?

GTA V

Graphics and visuals

Arguably, the first thing most will notice is the fact that GTA V seems to have been given a bit of a facelift upgrade on one or more fronts. Now, don’t get me wrong, it looks fantastic on 7th gen systems but once you get a taste for the higher end of the graphical spectrum it’s tough to downsize, you know? But really, there are certain moments of play on this expanded version of the base game for the next gen consoles that’ll make you do a double take, that’s how realistic it looks sometimes. Complete replication isn’t everything of course; GTA V’s art style and direction are impeccable as is, how else would the series have been able to build up such a following? There’s just an incredible level of detail present here, the likes of which fans will absolutely go bonkers over. Perhaps one of the best places to check out just how much of a difference there is in terms of visual is the shoreline (water rendering in games is always a great benchmarking tool of sorts).

First person mode

The sheer thought of actually having a bona-fide First-person mode to utilize in a GTA game is, well……awesome as crap. For many gamers (not unlike myself), there is no substitution for assuming direct personal control over a character, it not only increases immersion but also lets you take in the action and scenery as if you were really there.   The first-person mode in GTA V (jeez, just saying that out loud sounds so good) is arguably one of the major reasons why you NEED to repurchase this title, even if you own a copy for the PS3 / Xbox 360. Seriously though, if you even need convincing that this is a great idea then there’s probably something wrong with you.   At the very least it allows you to experience the game’s world and story from a totally different perspective, but at best it’s practically a revelation. In fact, if you’re anything like this reviewer, you probably don’t even WANT to go back to 3rd person mode…..ever again, it really is that COOL.

GTA V First Person

Everything feels and responds differently, from simply running around the world on foot to jumping in any of the land or air vehicles. Those who love to take to the skies will certainly get a kick out of the “in cockpit” view. In truth it’s often easy to forget just how much detail is actually in the game until you switch over to first-person mode. Given the fact that, again, this is such a stand-out feature and certainly there are throngs of gamers who are absolutely digging this FPS angle, let’s hope they catch the drift here and incorporate the same mode into all subsequent releases as well. You might initially find yourself experimenting a bit to get the controls set up the way you prefer, but the good news is that once you figure out that 3rd person driving is superior and first-person action is best on foot, the game will remember your preferences. Nice.

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Don’t start thinking that it’s just a dumb gimmick though because it actually feels fully realized. In other words, you’ll see pieces of gameplay mechanics which seem reminiscent of other things. On occasion you’ll get a slight Skyrim vibe, especially when in the country and if you’re running around parkouring during a brithgly lit day in the city? …forget about it, totally seems like something out of mirror’s edge (as many have already pointed out on the internets).  Then there’s the obvious Far Cry 3 (now Far Cry 4) comparisons, which again, is astounding to hear and much welcome.   Who would’ve thought that they’d expand their horizons this far?! It would seem that many have been lambasting Rockstar for being a hollow purveyor of senseless violence simulation while overlooking the incredible abilities of the team itself. Needless to say, this first-person experience will lay to rest any doubts you might have about the quality of Rockstar’s wares, in fact, we think you’ll end up being amazed by what you discover (this game is going to set up camp in your console).

Oh yeah, all of the DLC is included too

Every single time I tear into a new GOTY / bundled title with a load of content its like Christmas (regardless of what month it is). As if the base GTA game weren’t big enough by itself, the devs have seen fit to include every single scrap of content in this release. This means all the updates, character modifications, vehicles, etc. will be making their way onto fresh consoles immediately. If you’ve been waiting for a good time to check out this game, take the hint (this is it).

Deeper multiplayer features

At the same time, there’s also the promise of even more amazing things for those who find themselves drawn more to GTA online, like being able to add 30 players to a lobby, for instance. Moreover, there are the creator tool props and all the extra goodies that have been added to keep things interesting (apartments, weapons and vehicles, for starters).

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You can add even more radio conversations and tunes to the list too, 150+ in all, which should spice things up even more if you’re itching for a fresh audio palette, that is.

Now you have the tools to direct your own gaming experience

Arguably, GTA V lies at the top of the open world pyramid, pretty much an undisputed success and a testament to the power and allure of sandbox gaming. While the world itself is obviously set up to put you on the pathway toward completing the main quest, no one is saying you HAVE to do that at all. With all the new additions in this PS4 / Xbox One edition, you can literally (pretty much) direct your own interactive movie of sorts. Having included so many activities and side quests, not to mention the economic systems at play or the heists you can pull off, GTA V stands alone as one of the best virtual worlds to call home. Even better, if you already have a team of creative crazies then the sky’s the limit.   It’s hard to imagine a more feature-packed game than this; it was already amazing before the upgrade but now it’s……well, flat-out incredible.

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Normally one might point out the genre of a title and state who might enjoy it and so forth, but the truth is that ANYONE who owns a PlayStation 4 or Xbox One NEEDS to get this game. It is probably pound for pound the absolute best game available on 8th generation consoles right now and you really owe it to yourself to check it out. The fact of the matters is that Rockstar just nails everything on multiple fronts with this release; you can’t turn to any features and honestly say that there’s something lacking. Somehow they’ve managed to take something that was already a smash runaway hit and make it even more engrossing and wonderful. Remarkable exploits await you in mythical Los Santos.

Verdict?

GTA V is an absolutely must play game and if you don’t then you’ll never forgive yourself. A truly stunning achievement in video game development and design and it really needs to be in every PS4 owner’s library.

Rating - 9.8

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