GTA V on PC is the latest and final format in which the game is being released.
It was first released on the PS3 and Xbox 360 back in October 2013, which feels quite some time away now, mainly because it is, but with the rise of next-gen consoles – the PS4 and Xbox One – the game saw the light of day in stunning 1080p (on the PS4, at least), yet there were still quite a number of examples of drops in picture quality for the Microsoft console as it hasn’t got the power of Sony’s behemoth.
And now we get to the PC version. Yes, it may be 18 months on from the initial GTA V outing, but Rockstar Games certainly haven’t been sat on their laurels. Not only do you get 1080p running in 60fps, but, for the first time in this series, you can play it in blisteringly-awesome 4K!
Naturally, better graphics lead to less screen-tearing, pop-up, plus also longer draw distance and the visuals can all be tinkered from the settings to attune to your PC’s specs.
With the ‘suggested limits’ on, I can’t get a setting for full HD of 1920×1080 – I know my graphics card is rather behind the times (an nVidia GeForce GTX650), but until I change my PC – and unless I override the settings – I’m rather stuck with it. GTA V basically looks at the video memory on the card and calls a halt to it if your combination of settings takes you over the limit.
You do get warned if you decide to override the limits, however. And, as I found out, the suggested limits are a little like when you’re a child and your mother tells you not to touch that plate because it’s hot… and you touch it… and you realise it wasn’t a good idea. Yes, I tried it in full HD and in 60fps and it gave a delay to the keys as you press them, so it wasn’t playable. So, basically, don’t touch that plate too much – it’s hot! 😉
The ‘suggested limits’ feature is surprisingly clever, since I’d rather know which resolution and settings were safe to use in order to get a smooth experience, Rockstar helping us avoid an ‘Assassin’s Creed: Unity’ situation – a game which seemed to stink graphically for everyone.
More often than not, I did get a good flow with the resolution at 1600×900 at 60Hz, so I can touch that hot plate as my fingers must be partially made of asbestos. In short, what I’m saying is that Rockstar have done a bang-on job of getting the game to run as smoothly as possible whatever your set-up.
All that said, it’s a good job I wasn’t able to try and select 4K! I don’t have a 4K TV, though, so that’s probably why. When the day comes that I do have one, this game will be first on my list.
I was also curious to try the game in 21:9 – just one of the many aspect ratio choices available, as this is the equivalent of modern action films in approx 2.35:1. For a videogame, I’ll generally stick with 16:9 so it fills the screen. Alas, in this game, it’s aimed solely at those with 21:9 screens as it anamorphically squeezes the game into a 16:9 ratio, and doesn’t give you an option to show it played within a 21:9 ratio on a 16:9 screen. I don’t have such an option on my TV to resolve this, either.
But if you want to play the game wiiiiide on a PC? Well, Rockstar have provided Dual and Triple monitor support, plus NVidia 3D Vision support for single or triple monitor setups. So now I need a 4K TV *and* two extra monitors. Who wants to be Father Christmas for me? 🙂
As regular players are well used to by now, the GTA series reflects the usual struggle in life of having to start at the bottom and work your way up the ladder. Last time, in the main release of GTA IV, you took control of Niko Bellic. This time round there are three characters to control: Michael, Trevor and Franklin. Initially, you’ll catch sight of Trevor for a short time before starting the game proper as Franklin, and then coming across Michael before too long. Hence, this is three games in one as you’ll complete missions individually, while at other times their paths will cross and, when working on a mission together, you’ll be able to switch between them. I won’t go into detail about their backgrounds or locations because this is something you can enjoy discovering as you play the game.
Anyone who’s ever played a Grand Theft Auto game beforehand – which will be most of you reading this, will just want to get stuck in as soon as possible, so the best way to present much of the info I have to say is by simply listing my observations and differences:
- It takes much longer to blow up a vehicle by shooting at it. In previous games, you could get away with a handful of shots. I guess, here, it’s more realistic. Hence, when I created a pile-up on the freeway by shooting at some cars, causing the front ones to suddenly back up and crash into the rest, while the drivers had long since run off, I wanted to shoot one of them until it was on fire and cause a huge explosion. Alas, the cops were on to me before I could achieve this and running away was the order of the day.
- While the rag-doll physics were quite something in GTA IV, here they feel even better. More fluid. This is best experienced by driving into a group of people and enabling the rear-view, so you can see them fly over your bonnet in style.
- GTA V sees the removal of GTA IV’s “hard locking”, where your weapon’s crosshair would instantly lock-on to an enemy, making it easy to kill them without having to think. GTA V still does this to a degree ? and I’m glad, because when the police swarm on top of you, you need a quick and fun way of attempting to escape, but there are times when it doesn’t, so that effectively makes it more realistic.
- I had a download code for this game which meant a sizeable installation of 65Gb. Some people have moaned about this taking a long time. So what? It might take a long time, but that’s because it’s an incredible, involved game and there’s gorgeous graphics and sound aplenty! Set it going and then make a brew or three, or watch a film. If you can’t handle a little wait for a game to download, then God help you waiting for Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens! (due out December 18th). If you want a game with a small download, go play Angry Birds on your mobile.
Go to page 2 for more observations and differences…
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.