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.
Some additional observations:
- I love the way you can run up to people and punch them in the street. After you’ve done this to the first one, some of the others are going to leg it if they think they’re next, so as you chase up to them and are within a reasonable distance, pressing ‘punch’ while running will make your character lurch forward just enough to strike them. (add video of Franklin being a complete…)
- I like that the police are shown as just one car with a directional ‘view’ in front of them which shows what they can see, rather than making the whole area a big circle you need to escape from, as per the previous entries in the series.
- As taxis pull up, it is possible to hail one, but everyone knows you’re just going to nick any car you want. Then again, you can take one and skip the ride part of it (paying a slightly higher cost, albeit nothing to worry about) so you can effectively teleport there.
- You can train Chop the dog via the iFruit app (available for iPhone and Android), and in the game, itself, you can even *play* as Chop, chasing after a bad guy. Personally, I tried downloading the app and my phone’s being a bit crap as it’s telling me I do have enough space to download the 147Mb app, yet then is telling me there’s not enough space! I need to get that sorted, but I’m due for an upgrade, anyway.
- There’s also entering Franklin in races, going hunting with Trevor, and playing a round of golf with Michael, for a game of golf, although one time it was clearly the rainy season and it still didn’t put him off!
- You can also do some of the usual things in GTA games, such as going to sleep to save the game and advance time, using Quick Save on your phone to… well, quickly save. And watch TV back home, and in Franklin’s case, you can smoke some weed at the same time. However, this, like being in Niko’s apartment in GTA IV, and CJ’s games console in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, these are a once or twice novelty and not something you’ll do regularly.
- On the PS3, I couldn’t press ‘circle’ to centre the view ahead while driving, whereas I could press a similar button on the Xbox 360 in GTA 4 to do exactly that, and same again with GTA III on the PS2. So, on the PS3, the only equivalent was to switch to a rear view first by pressing R3, but it took about half-a-second to react rather than show you instantly, which was rather annoying. On the PC, this problem is solved as whatever I do with the mouse, as soon as I set forward in my vehicle, it’s only a moment before the view corrects itself.
Grand Theft Auto V: First Person Experience – Rockstar Games
Now some gripes:
GTA III was the first 3D game in the series.
GTA IV took the 3D into high-defintion.
GTA V feels more like… GTA 4.1
- Yes, there’s a greater draw distance on the game, this time round, and the visuals are improved, but it feels more like another game in the GTA IV series rather than something brand new, despite the inclusion of three fully-playable characters rather than just one.
- There’s a funfair in Los Santos, and it was a laugh to ride the rollercoaster “Leviathan”, but at $15, it’s quite overpriced for the average rickety ride. That said, only that and the ferris wheel seem to be playable. Which is a shame.
- Overall, it feels very samey at times, but then when GTA VI comes along, do they change what works dramatically ? and leave it to go all Hitman Absolution, which was an abomination, taking over the final scene from some levels rather than letting you work out how to cap the bad guys… or just play it safe and keep it the same again?
- And not a major gripe, but in playing this on the PC, I’m still getting used to using the keyboard to play the game as I don’t have a joypad for my PC, but that’s something else I need to resolve.
Want some new stuff on the PC? (which also applies to next-gen consoles):
- The Dodo – Can you find this classic GTA seaplane somewhere on the coastline?
- Imponte Duke O’Death – Take a ride in this new vehicle, but if you’re looking for trouble, you’ve come to the right place… as Elvis sang.
- The Rail Gun and Hatchet – get active with these new weapons, especially in the shooting range challenges!
- Murder Mystery – Solve the case by finding the clues to unlock film-noir game filters.
- Stock Car Races – a new race location unlocks 4 new liveries.
- Wildlife Photo Challenge – capture photo of new animal species to unlock the new Kraken Sub.
- Monkey Mosaics – find all of these to unlock monkey outfits and Monkey Blista.
- Xero Blimp – Hey there, Blimpy Boy! Take a ride in this fast and manoeuvrable blimp.
- Marshall Monster Truck – Ride roughshod over anyone else in your path in this beastly new vehicle.
While I’m not one for multiplayer, generally, for those who are there’s GTA Online with an online multiplayer maximum of 30, there’s Heists, a new 4-player co-operative gameplay experience addition GTA Online, giving players the chance to team up to pull off a string of intense, multi-part raids and robberies across Los Santos and Blaine County.
First-person view is also new to next-gen and PC, and it seems rather marmite – some like it, some don’t. Personally, I’m not wholly sold on it so far, but that’s probably because I’m used to 14 years of third-person view and I like to stick with what I’m used to. I’ll give it another bash, but either way, it’s nice to see something new brought into a game series which we’ve not seen before.
PC users will also find GTA V includes the new Rockstar Editor, which gives players a full suite of editing tools to create and publish gameplay clips direct to both Social Club and YouTube. Myself, I’ll still use my own method of recording them via Fraps, editing them to suit in Adobe Premiere Pro and uploading to Youtube directly and I’ll keep a copy of my uploads on my PC, but it does simplify the process for anyone who’s not editing video on a daily basis like myself.
Finally, I’m in the process of making some new GTA V videos, but I haven’t had chance to finalise them yet, so in the meantime, there’s a couple of my favourite videos from other Youtubers, plus Rockstar’s video about the first-person experience, and also two of my GTA V videos on the PS3.
Visit my DVDfeverGames Youtube channel for many more gaming videos.
- Publisher: Rockstar Games
- Players: single player campaign, multiplayer: 2-30 (+2 spectators)
- HDTV options: every resolution up to and including 1080p and 4K
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.