Grand Theft Auto V PC Review
Grand Theft Auto V has taken a long and winding road to its final destination on PC. Fans have waited over a year and a half for it to arrive, and the wait has undoubtedly been worthwhile as this version brings with it many improvements, even over the recently remastered PS4 and Xbox One versions. The base game remains largely the same, but improved visuals combine with a few additional features, and an enormous amount of customization options to make for the definitive Grand Theft Auto V experience.
GTA V PC Video Review
The story and single player campaign of GTA V are well known at this point. The original game launched almost two years ago, and while improvements have been made, it remains mostly the same here. Rockstar’s usual satirical touch is on fine display in GTA V, with commentary thrown at the player about modern life, the American Dream, inequality, and a host of other hot button topics. Ultimately the story isn’t as emotionally evocative as GTA IV, and might not be as memorable as GTA: Vice City, but it is still a fine addition to the franchise nonetheless.
GTA V features a bunch of standout missions, such as the various Heists, though many still fall back on the tried-and-true “go here, kill them” or “drive here, get that, drive back” mechanic that has been a heavy focus in the series for years. Throughout the main story you take control of three characters in the world of San Andreas, Michael, Franklin, and Trevor. Occasionally you will tackle a mission with all three characters, leading to GTA V’s most engaging moment. Giving one of your character’s cover from above as they take out enemies below is always enjoyable.
As you progress you can switch between all three at almost any time, with each character offering their own main and side missions for you to choose from. Finish up one character’s set of missions and you can swap to another for a while until the previous character gets some new options. This allows the game to keep the player engaged in the story as they are able to swap around to a new character any time they get bored with the current one. This also allows for some subtle touches that make the world feel more alive, as the characters are usually in some interesting situation just at the point that you take control of them.
Seeing the world of Grand Theft Auto V in 1080p, 60fps, with high-res textures, and additional effects is worth the price of admission alone
This living world is certainly Grand Theft Auto V’s greatest achievement. The city of Los Santos is massive, vibrant, and simply begging to be explored. From the congested highways of the inner city to the open desert of the north, every piece of San Andreas has been meticulously crafted for the perfect GTA experience, and it has never looked as good as it does in the PC version. Higher resolution, improved textures, and a better framerate aside, the world is simply more dynamic here than in the previous iterations of GTA V. There are even options available where you can tweak the amount of traffic, or number of civilians on the street.
One thing that the PC version brings as an option is keyboard & mouse controls. The default key bindings work exceptionally well, transitioning the experience to PC with little detriment. Some players will likely feel the mouse controls are a little odd, and they seem to feature acceleration or some other form of modification, even when these options are disabled, but overall the game functions quite well on this new control method. Of course, players can always hook up a gamepad, such as an Xbox 360 controller, and use that instead. This will probably be the preferred method of play for those that have the hardware.
While the options are a definite benefit, those aforementioned technical improvements are the true star of the show this time around. Of course, this all depends on players having a powerful enough machine to run the game properly, but if you are at or above the recommended system requirements you will be in for a massively improved game, even when compared to the PS4 and Xbox One versions. It might take a while to fine-tune your settings to achieve the best look possible, and the opening sequence is strangely un-optimized, resulting in more stuttering and graphical issues than you’ll find in the main game, but once you do you are in for a visual treat. A few minor elements, such as hair and the somewhat too small field-of-view, reveal the older and console-specific roots of the game. However, many of these problems can and likely will be fixed in future updates. In the end, seeing the world of Grand Theft Auto V in 1080p, 60fps, with high-res textures, and additional effects is worth the price of admission alone, even if you have played the game already on its previous platforms.
This is especially true if you have only played on PS3 or Xbox 360, as there are a number of features carried over to the PC version from the Remastered edition on PS4 and Xbox One. First-person mode is probably the most earth-shattering, as it offers a wholly new way to play. What at first seems like a minor shift in perspective actually serves as an entirely different experience altogether. Something about putting the action of GTA V right in your face really immerses you even more in the carnage. Few games offer an experience quite like driving around the streets of Los Santos, cops on your tail, glass shattering in your face as bullets pierce the windshield. It was immensely fun in third-person and it becomes even more so when given the option to get right up close to the action in first-person.
Along with the returning features comes GTA V’s main PC exclusive, the Rockstar Editor. Using this tool you can record your in-game antics and stitch them together to form your own video clip. Director Mode even allows you to step into the shoes, or paws, of various denizens of San Andreas. Always wanted to get a shot of a hobo punching an alien? Now you can, inside of GTA V. The ability to share directly to Youtube and other social media services is the icing on the cake, hinting at a bright future full or interesting and/or hilarious Grand Theft Auto V videos for fans to enjoy. And, of course, the PC version also comes with built-in mod support, though the benefits of this won’t be fully apparent for some time.
This is all just the content in the single player portion of Grand Theft Auto V, there is still the multiplayer in GTA Online, which is also better than ever. The mode launched rather poorly back in 2013, with buggy gameplay, glitches, and missing features. Now though, after almost two years, the mode has finally come into its own and PC players can reap the benefits. The long promised, and much delayed GTA Online Heists are available right at launch, and the server architecture is relatively stable, even in the frantic chaos of GTA V’s PC launch.
Jumping into GTA Online, pulling off some missions with your friends, earning cash, and buying cool vehicles has never felt as good as it does here. All of the technical improvements carry over into GTA Online, allowing PC players to enjoy all the fun, with even better visuals. While the wait for it all to come together may have been long, GTA Online seems to have come together into a fantastic package that fans will easily enjoy for many hours. The Heists are the obvious main draw at the moment, having taken almost as long to launch as the PC version itself. These new pieces offer players dozens of additional hours of fun as they team up to take on multi-step missions, with big payoffs promised at the end. Those that already played GTA Online on a previous version can quickly and easily transfer their character to the PC version.
Grand Theft Auto V took a long time to get to where it is, but anyone that plays the game today should see why. The world is massive, the characters and story are entertaining, the gameplay is fun, and, with the latest in PC gaming hardware, the graphics are phenomenal. Having to wait so long for it to come out certainly raised expectations, but GTA V has met and exceeded them in every category. Any minor issues one might have with the game are easily drown out by the sheer amount of fun and engaging content on display and the immense improvements made for this version. In short, Grand Theft Auto V on PC is simply the best way to play the game that has continued to impress players for over a year.
Grand Theft Auto V
- Available On: PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PC
- Published By: Rockstar Games
- Developed By: Rockstar North
- Genre: Action-Adventure
- US Release Date: April 14th, 2015
- Reviewed On: PC
- Quote: "Grand Theft Auto V finally hits PC after over a year of waiting. While the wait was hard it was completely worth it given the final product on display. Improved graphics are just the beginning as the game becomes an entirely new experience on PC."
- Improved visuals and performance
- Remastered features carry over
- Massive, vibrant, living world to explore
- GTA Online is better than ever
- Still the same base game as before
- Non-heist missions can get repetitive