Grand Theft Auto V hits Playstation 4. Welcome back to Los Santos.
You’re in a hypothetical building. In this building lay a multitude of rooms. You’ve been stuck in this building for about a year now with no way out. You’ve entered a few rooms to try out the new experiences but you’ve ultimately found yourself back in the lobby, awaiting something new to see. You’ve had your fun with the smaller, quieter rooms because they don’t scream as loud as the Penthouses and perhaps have more to offer you because of that. It’s been fun but now you want a reminder of why you entered this building in the first place. You’re kinda bored with two-dimensional aliens and black and white arty ‘unique perspective’ rooms. They have their audience and that’s fine. It gets to the end of the year and lo and behold, you are welcomed to the Penthouse floor, where the magic happens. Before you, lay two rooms, a room on the left and a room on the right. In the first room, you see a nameless soldier. This soldier has looked familiar for years to you and isn’t doing much acutely different, despite the visual appearance. Now, in the second room is a mask, a railgun, a prostitute, a Jet-Ski, a sports car and $500,000. Now, you have the choice to go to either room for your satisfaction and enjoyment. The next six months of you life will be stuck in this room, so make sure you choose wisely.
What do you do?
Grand Theft Auto V. That’s what you bloody do.
Let’s get this out of the way at the top: If you have annihilated GTA V already on PS3/Xbox 360, is there enough here to warrant you coming back new-gen?
Pah. Course there is.
Rockstar don’t do things by halves. Their remix of their most famous flavour is a new kind of ice-cream that you haven’t tasted anywhere else before. Los Santos remains the beautiful, broken, stunning, uncompromisingly disgraceful land of shattered dreams it always aspired to be. It’s still the greatest open world we’ve yet to run around in. It’s the culmination of imagination that simply can’t be ignored. The visual upgrade makes you weep in places, and given that we have only just celebrated the consoles first birthday, what could possibly be in store for Grand Theft Auto VI is beyond my current levels of comprehension.
Michael, Franklin and the despicably entertaining Trevor are all present and correct. The campaign story remains exactly the same as it was previously, with no new arcs or characters. But that’s fine by me, the story was perhaps the most interesting, inter-weaving story in gaming this side of The Last of Us upon release, and deserves your attention, even if you just want to run around blowing shit up to live out your stone cold fantasies you couldn’t quite explain to a psychiatrist – this reviewer also discovered how utterly and completely awkward it is trying to explain sitting in your living room on your complete own whilst watching a digital stripper grind her ass and asking you how much you enjoyed that particular movement, and how bad I am -.
The extra additions then? It’s all quite exciting. Front and centre is the first person mode. To be completely frank, I couldn’t really imagine playing the whole game first-person, it got a tad frustrating driving that way after a while and whilst shooting is naturally brilliant in this viewpoint, getting into cover shatters your view of anything and you’re relying on the auto-aim to make sure you know what you’re doing. Your visibility goes out the window and you’re left – with not much option to see what you’re doing – to jump back into third-person. You have to admire the extra work that’s gone into the viewpoint and how every single damn car has its own unique interior, along with the jets, motorcycles and aeroplanes. I don’t envy the ‘first person team’ that made this happen, it’s a goddamn marvel of an addition visually, but for my style of gameplay, it didn’t completely win me over. It’s a very personal thing though so by all means give it a damn good do. Rockstar have also thrown in a plethora of options to tweak it to your satisfaction. My issue can be fixed quite easily in the menu, so don’t let it put you off too much.
Returning players get treated like royalty with additional features such as Wildlife Photography side missions, a couple new vehicles and the new Railgun, which is beautiful and causes some serious devastation. You gotta work for it though, it won’t unlock until $250,000 is in your pocket and you pass certain missions. Keep an eye on Ammu-Nation. It’s a nice addition and one that’s certainly welcome.
You can still very much get lost in doing all sorts of random quests in GTA V. The brand new murder mystery will keep you hunting for a LONG time looking for all the clues, you just have to stumble across them really. They don’t give any indication as where the next one may be. The two I found I was trying to hide from the cops so make sure you keep an eye out. My favourite of the side-quests though isn’t a new one but keeps me deliriously entertained. Attempting to help out the old couple looking for celebrity memorabilia is just hysterical and never fails to keep me smiling.
Online you’ve got a solid world to explore and despite a couple of connectivity issues we had at first – hence the late posting of this review – eventaully we joined up with our buddies and caused some mayhem across Los Santos in our own particular style. Successful connections don’t seem to be an issue now and we can get on fairly easily without much interruption. We’re certainly enjoying the 30-player brawls that should keep you playing online for months to come. They’re a bit bonkers and a wonderful addition to the game as a whole.
Remote Play was solid with the rear Touchpad working as L2 and R2. This can be changed to suit your play style, but as with most Remote Play experiences, PS Vita isn’t the controller you want to be playing it with.
So is it perfect? No it isn’t. The aforementioned first-person mode isn’t as sick as hoped and instead can become a bit of a burden in certain areas. The flying controls are still an utter catastrophe and needs some serious tweaking and some missions steal wain with a slight lack of excitement when you’re just hauling cars and listening to Franklin’s pissing annoying friend Lamar ramble on. The little bits haven’t really been touched up with is frustrating, but so much of this game is excellent you don’t even notice. Only if you’re really looking for issues you’re going to find them. The whole ‘suiting up your character only for their suit to change because it doesn’t fit the cut scene’ still grates too, making everything you do rather pointless in terms of clothing and styling up your character. Still, when it comes to GTA and your clothes are all covered in blood after a heavy shootout anyway what the fuck does it even matter. Can’t help but dress Trevor up as ridiculous as possible though, which is always entertaining. I just wish as much attention was paid too the little flaws over just the visual ones. The car handling has certainly improved, although the obvious increase in traffic around the city negates the chance to really tear it around the roads, again another frustrating aspect when you’re trying to get somewhere particularly fast.
So a solid week on Grand Theft Auto V confirmed my suspicions that this is the definitive edition of the game. I’m blown away by the visuals and how smooth everything is. You get the feeling playing the game that this is the version Rockstar wanted to make all, but were stuck behind the constraints of the previous generations console power. There’s nothing wrong with the originals, they are still both masterpieces in their own right, but to have an all new masterpiece all over again to play with upgraded visuals, new features and a tonne of side content to get into, you know next-gen GTA will be an experience unlike any other, and one you’ll happily come back to time and time again. I most definitely missed Trevor, Michael and Franklin as I got on with 2014 gaming and like I said at the top, nothing – bar Velocity 2X – has really grabbed me this year. That’s why I’m so glad the inescapable freedom of Grand Theft Auto has returned back into my life, reminding me why my PS4 is sat under my TV in the first place. Whilst it may be a game I’ve already completed and seen all four endings to, it’s still a game of such magnitude, to say anything otherwise than JUST GET IT would do the game a disservice. And that’s ultimately not what it deserves.
Plus you can be a seagull.
Welcome to your room. Enjoy your stay.
Developer: Rockstar North
Publisher: Rockstar Games
Grand Theft Auto V is now available on PS4.
Disclosure: In order to complete this review we were provided a copy of the game from the publishers.
For more GTA V, take a look at our list of 27 Experiences we Encountered Playing Grand Theft Auto V PS4 for the first time.