Grand Theft Auto V Current-Gen Review: Return To Los Santos
So you’re wondering if you should purchase Grand Theft Auto V for your Xbox One or PS4. You already know its one of the best games, from start to finish, in recent memory because you saw that it won our console Game of the Year award last year, right? If you haven’t played GTA V yet, you’re doing yourself a disservice.
Whether you enjoy the game’s trio of crazy characters and the pretty good but not-quite-there story, you won’t play a video game more fun than this. Rockstar consistently keeps gameplay interesting through the introduction of new mechanics and thoughtful mission design. The story mode is tightly designed, so much so that little excess fat is left for the user to scratch their head at.
So you don’t need to be told whether Grand Theft Auto V is a good game. It is worth every penny of that $59.99. Is it worth replaying on Xbox One/PS4 if you’ve already played it on PS3/360? Again, Rockstar provides fans with a simple answer that wouldn’t sound strange coming out of the mouth of Trevor Phillips: Hell Yeah!
The biggest addition to last year’s GOTY is first person view. With a simple press of the camera button you can switch to first person at any time. Running is done by holding down the A button and you don’t have to tap it anymore. This alone makes GTA V worth another play through. First person view is immersive, more than you might have imagined. Every detail stands out ten times as much as it did in third person, from driving through busy traffic to chaotic gunfights.
Character interaction is more personal in first person and driving is exhilarating. Driving in first person isn’t as hard as I thought it would be. Hooking the tow truck to car in first person by actually looking back through the window was far more challenging than it ever was in third person and significantly more enjoyable. Car crashes are more intense, you’ll probably spend hours finding creative ways to wipe out with style. For missions that require more risky, high-speed chases you may want to switch back to third person view for efficiency just to prevent unnecessary mission failures, especially for parts of the game that require a bike.
Gunplay takes some getting used to in first person. You can freely aim but most players will prefer using aim assist, which essentially snaps your aim to the enemy. Getting in and out of cover in first person doesn’t work as well as it should but for a game that was clearly not designed to play this way its easy to forgive. You’ll love first person and instantly fall in love with it though fast paced chase scenes on bikes and large firefights that require more use of the cover system perform better in third person.
Visually the game looks stunning on Xbox One and PS4. For this review we tested the Xbox One version, which runs the game at 1080p and 30 frames per second almost constantly but also tested the PS4 version for comparison’s sake. There were a few times the frame rate dropped during my playtime but for the most part the game performs admirably. Character models look far superior to their last-gen counterparts, draw distance is dramatically improved and the lighting is some of the best we’ve seen on these new machines so far.
The Xbox One version holds up almost perfectly to the PS4 version though it does lack smaller visual features like foliage. If you remember how the Xbox 360 version of Red Dead Redemption boasted better foliage and environments than the PS3 version, this works the same way but with the Xbox One version on the bottom end of the exchange. Here’s the visual difference in a GIF.
You can import your GTA Online character from your PS3/360 game and you’ll want every edge you can get. Online play is even more cut-throat now that the player count has been upped from 16 to 30 per match. Thankfully online matches load a bit faster than they did on last-gen consoles but you will still have to be a patient player. I didn’t favor first person play in GTA Online as much as I did in single player but is a welcome option. Some players will flock to it while others will prefer the visibility that third person gives you in close matches.
All around, Grand Theft Auto V is a must-have for all PS4/Xbox One owners. Whether you played the game on last-gen consoles or not, you’ll want to take another trip to Los Santos. Rockstar could have taken the easy route and not updated the visuals as much, added more players in GTA Online or first person view but that wouldn’t be the Rockstar we know and love. GTA V is a masterpiece that transcends generations and would have been the measuring stick for all open-world action games this generation even if the PS4/XB1 versions didn’t exist. Don’t take a vacation to Los Santos, buy a house and settle down, you’ll never want to leave.
Whether you've played it already or not, GTA V is arguably the best game currently available for Xbox One and PS4. First person view alone makes it worth another purchase. Rockstar successfully revamped an already near perfect game, making it better with improved visuals, better online play and new mechanics. Xbox One copy of GTA V provided by Rockstar for review.