Note: This review is a comparison of Grand Theft Auto V for PC compared to its previous console versions. For its other iterations, check out our review for GTA V‘s last-generation release and its recent remaster on current-generation consoles.
It feels like it’s been forever and frankly, that’s because it has. A year and six months following the original release, with delay after delay, Grand Theft Auto: V for PC’s finally been released with the addition of the also incredibly delayed Heists missions, making this the third and apparently final version of GTA V. Looking back on GTA releases, the PC versions haven’t held up very well, but surely with all the extra time GTA V won’t be the same, right? You betcha. GTA V on PC is simply the ultimate version available.
The world was stunned when GTA V hit Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 two years ago and many claimed it was the best looking game on all platforms at release. Already a masterpiece with its engrossing campaign alone, its later addition of GTA Online brought thousands to Los Santo and everyone was wreaking whatever havoc possible. It was the following year that Rockstar released the game on the new consoles, Xbox One and Playstation 4, not only greatly improving the graphics, but adding an all-new first person mode – a first for the franchise.
What people might not know about the first-person in an open world scale is how much extra detail the game demands. A first person UI for every weapon, vehicle interiors, improved building interiors – anything and everything in the game can now be seen up close and so has to look just as good in first person as it does in third, and GTA V pulls it all off amazingly well. If you own the 360 or PS3 version, other exclusive additions include increased player cap in GTA Online, classic GTA vehicles, and new outfits all compared to the last-generation versions. These are nice for the fans, but PC players want what’s expected of the platform’s
The first thing to look at is the Settings and how much of the game is ‘editable’. PC gamers love to control every aspect of their game, but especially changing the graphics, altering mods, and editing the game’s code. GTA V not only lets you do all three of these things, but it excels at them. There’s an entire list of graphical options to alter and what I find useful and annoying’s the fact that the settings only add to your total VRAM. I own an AMD R9 280x with 3GB of VRAM and each setting you put higher uses more of it. If you max out on the VRAM, you can’t improve any of them, which is a good thing as long as you know your game won’t stoop into low FPS, but it’s bound to aggravate gamers that they can’t max out the game to at least see the full visuals.
Graphically, GTA V on PC’s a notch higher than its current-gen versions and comparing it to its initial 360 and PS3 version’s a sight to see. Of course, if you don’t have a high end gaming PC, which you’ll need to play the game on its highest settings, you can still play it looking only a little worse than the old versions of the game for lower end computers. The game controls decently with a mouse and keyboard, but you can always use a controller – Xbox, Playstation, or third-party model. This multitude of settings, along with the standard audio and gameplay options, is exactly what PC games should have. Add in the game’s 4K resolution support and you’ve got the crispest visuals on the market today, surpassing any console.
One of the biggest and surprising extras this version gained was the Rockstar Video Editor, announced just days before the game’s release. A fine example of PC exclusive content, the video editor’s a clever tool integrated into GTA for video makers, specifically ‘machinima’ videos, either for their own enjoyment or to share on sites like YouTube. This is one of the best moves Rockstar could have made. Sure, some people won’t be interested in it and it’ll be a useless feature sitting in a tab on the menu. For the others, it’s a great, free tool to use and for Rockstar themselves it’s an even better promotional tool. Players make videos, people see videos, people buy the game. Pure, simple, and everyone’s a winner. Good on you Rockstar.
The editor itself features the ability to start and stop recording at will, filters, speed settings, greater camera control, depth of field and more including a ‘Director Mode’ allowing the user to use any character in GTA V, ranging from main characters to even animals. The ability to change these aspects make it a far more useful tool than trying to record and edit an entire video in an external program. It’s exclusive to PC right now, but we don’t know if Rockstar have plans to add it to the Xbox One and Playstation 4 versions of the game.
Here’s one example of a video using the Rockstar Video Editor created by GTA Series Videos:
One of – if not the biggest part of PC gaming that players like to boast about – are mods. Already, there have been hundreds if not thousands of community created mods made for GTA, from playing as an animal, changing the look of the game, to attaching weapons to your vehicles. A lot of video games can now be modifiable via the Steam Workshop as long as the game is, of course, available on Steam.
Although GTA V‘s available on Steam, it doesn’t support the workshop and forces users to manually add mods themselves. It’s a little more complicated to add mods to the game, as you have to delve into the games files, but that’s all child’s play to your average PC gamer. There were the expected number of bugs at launch that come with most Skyrim-sized PC games, but most have now been fixed in updates and the game’s now stable enough on most computer systems and for online play.
Of all GTA V‘s positives, the only negative’s its huge file size. At over 65GB, that’s a bit of a big problem for people downloading the game onto smaller hard-drives with slower internet speeds, but buying a physical copy of the game gives you seven discs to install. That’s right: you’ll have to swap out seven DVDs just to install the game.
Nevertheless, GTA V on PC’s the biggest and best Grand Theft Auto experience, complete with all the beautiful visuals and gratifying gameplay we already fell in love with and features thrown into the already gigantic game. For fans or new players alike, it’s pretty hard to discount GTA V, unless you’re not into violence, cursing, or fun. If you haven’t played GTA V yet, pick it up for PC now. If you played it on a previous console and still enjoy it, pick up your character and get driving.