One of the touted features in the next-gen version has been the graphical upgrade applied to the year old game. In the trailers released by Rockstar the graphics sure do paint a pretty picture, but in reality it’s not as significant as one would expect.
There have been visual upgrades and they are noticeable from the word go; character models are more detailed whilst vehicles have that extra layer of polish that really brings out the beauty under the beating Los Santos sun. It’s not just the material objects that look great, but the world itself has been given a facelift. GTA V looked stunning on the PS3 and Xbox 360, but it really shines on the next-gen machines. Weather effects are fantastic and are full of detail; the glare effect of the sun is still there too.
The already beautiful Los Santos flaunts her charms and suckers you into the seedy underbelly its colourful inhabitants. The city streets are choked full with NPC’s, all going about their business. The majority of them serve as nothing more than window dressing, but they all seem to be doing something. I followed one lady (creepy…) for around ten minutes, listening in on her phone conversation. Then she was run over by a speeding police cruiser in pursuit of a perp. The beauty of GTA V, ladies and gentleman.
Not all is rosey red in paradise. GTA V suffered from some bland and flat texture with its initial release and although Rockstar claim they’ve upped the ante in the visual department, there’s still plenty of ugly areas that feel out-of-place, especially out of the city. The mountains still seem flat and lacking in detail with many textures simply copy and pasted in a pattern, though the added shrubbery throughout the outer city does make give the impression of a deeper environment and helps it look a little more three-dimensional, rather than a flat plane with a few cacti dotted around.
Buccaneers will enjoy taking to the waves given that the water effects are a drastic improvement over the original release. Sailing the seas, whether on a speedboat or jet-ski, is still enormous fun when there’s a reason to do so, but without any specific goal I found the ocean to be a little bit wasted.
All in all, GTA V looks the part on the PS4 and stands up against the few other open-world games available on the latest consoles. Los Santos gets a fresh injection of life with draw-distances improved upon the already impressive ones on the PS3/Xbox 360 whilst the frame-rate is as steady as you could wish for. The original release saw more than a few stutters when the action got heavy, but the power under the hood of the PS4 ensures a stable and reliable experience, even if there are a few dips from time to time it’s almost negligible.
GTA V isn’t just another next-gen port of a last-gen release. Rockstar has made active efforts to improve the actual gameplay as well as giving the graphics a fresh coat of paint, even adding on the varnish for longevity. Is it worth a second purchase? If you’re desperate to jump back into the world of crime and don’t mind stumping up the asking price then you’ll be happy with whats on offer; it presents better value for money than previous re-releases.
If you’ve never played GTA V yet (seriously, what’s wrong with you?!) then I highly recommend the next-gen release over the original version, especially if you want to get the most from the single-player campaign and enjoy the definitive edition of Rockstar’s best effort to date.
GTA V releases on PS4 and Xbox One from November 18th. You can pre-order your copy from Amazon UK and receive $1,000,000 in-game cash. A PC release is set for January 27th and is also available to pre-order.
Review carried out using a PS4 copy of the game which was purchased at the reviewers expense.