There seems very little point trying to introduce Grand Theft Auto V. After all it came out on the PS4 and Xbox One in 2014 while the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions were released way back in 2013 and is one of the most well-known games in the world, thanks to the overwhelmingly positive critical reception and high sales and of course the media controversy that hovers over the franchise. The only real question here is how the oft-delayed PC version compares.
The main allure with the PC version of course is the potential for graphics that let Grand Theft Auto V look the best it ever has. This does rely heavily on the specifications of your PC and seeing it running it on a monster PC it does look incredible with up-close detail and shots of the sprawling environments that truly showcase Los Santos and its surroundings. However on my medium-spec machine the graphics only ever reached PS4/Xbox One levels and even that resulted in a poor frame rate – I had to scale the resolution down even further to get it running smoothly. As you’d expect from a PC game there are a whole host of customisation options which means you’ll be able to get it running to your own exact specifications.
Like the PS4 and Xbox One versions the PC version also benefits from the inclusion of a first person option which adds a new dynamic to the shooting mechanics while the in-car view looks great, but makes navigating at speed through busy streets pretty difficult. Unique to the PC version is the inclusion of the bonnet cam which will appeal to some but in my opinion being able to view the dashboard improves the immersion.
Playing on the PC also adds the ability to play with a keyboard and mouse option which can add greater accuracy and feels particularly natural in the first person view. It isn’t quite so intuitive when driving but it’s possible to plug-in any of the usual gamepad options for alternative controls, I fluctuated between an Xbox 360 controller and the keyboard/mouse combo and had very few issues.
Elsewhere the other addition of note is the new Director mode found under Editor section of the menu. This is exclusive to the PC version of the game and allows you to create your own short videos using a variety of ‘actors’ (more of which can be unlocked as you play), environments and adjustable settings. It is fairly rudimentary although of course in the right creative hands some impressive productions are possible as having a quick look online can demonstrate. Videos can also be easily uploaded to YouTube which is another useful feature.
The numerous delays that have befallen the PC version do also have some added benefits in that all the DLC, updates and new modes that the console versions have seen are readily available, complementing a title already bulging at the seams with content and activities. However it is annoyance that you’re still required to sign up to the Rockstar Social Club in order to experience Grand Theft Auto Online (the separate multiplayer mode), and even more so that you’re prompted to link this to your Google account in order to share videos to YouTube.
GTA V was already a brilliant game when it was released and two years later it’s just as impressive as it ever was. As a video game it’s perfect blend of compelling gameplay, enormous freedom and an engrossing world, and as an example of the entertainment medium it’s a great demonstration of writing, acting and humour. Admittedly some of the violence and other dubious elements can overstep the line and go from satire to just plain disturbing but for the most part it easily holds its own against many films and TV series.
For those that have yet to play the game and have a decent gaming PC this is probably the best version of one of the best games of all time. Even those that have played it before have the option to import their console progress into the PC version and as such it’s easy to recommend to anyone (well anyone over the age of 18 anyway).
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