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Less than a year after its release on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, Grand Theft Auto V is back in remastered form on the PlayStation 4 ($799.95 at Amazon) and Xbox One ($200.00 at eBay)(Opens in a new window) (the PC version arrives on January 27, 2015). Along for the voyage are a slew of new features and improvements, including a fantastic first-person perspective that changes how the game plays and feels, a tonne of entertaining new radio songs, and a graphic upgrade that gives Los Santos an even more vibrant appearance. If you previously played Grand Theft Auto V on last-gen consoles, you might want to forego a second visit.
Welcome to the Jungle
The fifth main GTA game is set in Los Santos, a parody of Los Angeles. Three primary characters that have connected tales are under your control. Their objective is to cause mayhem throughout the city and make a tonne of money in thrilling heists, if you so want. It’s up to you what you do. Do you want to watch movies on the couch or play tennis? Do it now. Do you want to rob automobiles or punch someone in the face? You can do that, but you’ll have to answer to the police who are after you. The essence of the game is the same as it was last year, but a number of enhancements have been made that change the gameplay.
The first-person perspective, a first for the series, is the biggest improvement in this new version of Grand Theft Auto V. It transforms the game into a first-person shooter or something more akin to Skyrim, replete with cover mechanics, strafing, and an incredibly handy quick-turn. You can alternate between the two points of view at any moment by selecting the Options button if you choose to play the game in its original third-person mode. Even better, you can mix and match the controls to play in first-person on foot while driving in third-person. This feature was expertly implemented by Rockstar North without in any way detracting from the gameplay overall.
In reality, I like to wander around Los Santos and see the city from the perspective of the criminal I choose. Firefights feel more intimate and hand-to-hand clashes feel more visceral when I play this manner because the city’s intricate texture and sinister people are right in my face. I felt more immersed in the role of a gangster because to the thousands of new animations that were added in this remaster, such as arms and legs flapping during street fights or when scaling fences. The range of vision might be bigger in first-person mode, which is the only criticism I have of it. Perhaps the PC version will include peripheral vision. The combination of Grand Theft Auto and the FPS is a great success overall.
Without a stunning city to see, the first-person perspective wouldn’t function as well. Before, Grand Theft Auto V had a nice appearance, but now it appears spectacular. Although the resolution has been increased to 1080p at 30 frames per second, there are occasionally significant dips, especially during the game’s more intense missions, for example, anytime there are many explosions. The draw distances have significantly increased, though. The San Andreas mountains are seen in the background, while far more intricate skyscrapers and buildings tower above.
At street level, there are more vehicles, people, and other elements. I also noted businesses, signs, and walls with considerably higher resolution than I had on PlayStation 3 or Xbox 360 previously. Animals like cats and dogs suddenly have what appears to be soft fur, and there seem to be a lot more of them stumbling around streets and back alleyways. Although the body and face motions are better, people still appear to be made of plastic, including their clothing. The lip-synching for the superbly written and superbly performed dialogue is almost flawless.
However, there are still some pop-up issues. In my testing, a whole building once materialised out of nowhere, albeit that particular incident might have happened just once as I was leaving the stop menu. And some textures, particularly those of the hair and clothing, may look better. The new lighting is the nicest addition outside everything else. At moments, Los Santos resembles Forza Horizon 2($14.11 at Amazon)(Opens in a new window), especially when neon light perfectly bounces off a convertible’s chassis during the game’s early morning hours. It’s the closest thing to a Drive-like video game experience one can get, driving around committing crimes in a fictional rendition of downtown Los Angeles.
I Want it That Way
150 new radio tracks, only available in the PS4 and Xbox One editions, will up the sombre ambiance. These tunes include songs by Lady Gaga, Portishead, M83, Toro y Moi, and, yep, Kenny Loggins’ Highway to the Danger Zone. We needed that one for a while now. Kavinsky is regrettably still absent from the track list. We can only hope that GTA VI includes his aural joy.
A few upgrades are made to Grand Theft Auto Online as well. It now has first-person mode and can accommodate up to 30 players at once. You can also import your previous generation game’s old character.
Five Is Alive
Grand Theft Auto V is without a doubt the Xbox One Editors’ Choice title for greatest open-world game. The situation is the same as it was last year, with the additional benefit of numerous upgrades. By itself, the first-person perspective and supporting animation would make this a worthwhile release. We can only hope that Rockstar will include it in further games in the future. But for now, if you have a next-generation console and haven’t played GTA V, you must. Given that the main gameplay is the same, you might definitely skip this updated edition. Another choice is to wait for the PC version, which will look even better and enable 4K monitors.