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Review: Grand Theft Auto V.

gtawin2

It took Rockstar Games for more than a year to bring Grand Theft Auto V to PC. The game, originally released on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 near the end of 2013, has since been re-released on current-gen consoles. However, the PC release of V comes with various (visual) extras to persuade you to come back to Los Santos once again. The question is though, with the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One versions released not so long ago, is Grand Theft Auto V for PC really worth it?

A legendary game.

Back in November 2014 I had bought various games for my PlayStation 4 to help me survive the winter. Among them were titles such as Dragon Age: Inquisition and the re-release of Grand Theft Auto V. I already finished GTA V before on PlayStation 3 but I was eager to get back in. While I really enjoyed GTA V on PS4, Dragon Age became my personal favorite of 2014. I usually don’t write reviews for games. I haven’t even done so for Dragon Age. But for the PC release of Grand Theft Auto V I had to make an exception.

There are moments in your life (the more you have them the more blessed you are!) when you experience something great and you really want to share that moment with others. Grand Theft Auto V for PC is an experience of that magnitude. It made me want to write this review.

The game was already great on last-generation consoles to begin with. The re-release on current-gen consoles made it a true masterpiece. So how does one improve a masterpiece? Well, you do that by turning it into something legendary. And that is exactly what Grand Theft Auto V for PC is. Legendary. Beyond its time even.

These guys in the background were not invited!

Just look at that. Can it run Cry.. GTA V?

We celebrated Max Payne style!

Tevor is even more pissed in this version of V.

Built from the ground up. Amazingly optimized.

I haven’t been this excited for a game release since Max Payne 3. We all remember the nightmarish PC port of Grand Theft Auto IV. Fortunately, the PC version of Max Payne 3 was of good quality and thus restored our confidence in Rockstar for still caring about PC gamers. Rest assured, GTA V for PC runs like a breeze. Even on older PCs. The game has been amazingly optimized to run on older hardware. I can vow for that. Not so long ago I  built a new PC myself. It’s a decent machine but by no means special. I have been anxious to test its power with a new and demanding game. My system specs are as follows:

  • Intel Core i5-4460 @3.2Ghz
  • 16 GB of RAMM
  • ATi Radeon R9 270x 2GB

The game automatically set the graphic settings to “High” and my resolution to 1600×900. Using these settings I was running the game at a smooth 60FPS. I quickly changed various settings to “Very High” or “Ultra” to see what would happen but even then the game was still running smoothly. Changing the game’s textures setting to something higher than “Normal” quickly adds up GPU load. Of no surprise of course, since GTA V supports 4K. For the textures to stay sharp even at a resolution that insane, they need to become pretty big. But hey, who has a 4K computer display yet anyway?

Graphically the game is stunning. Effects are greatly improved on PC, especially the skin shaders. Skin looks much more realistic now. Even at the lowest possible settings the game looks alright. Probably on par with the last-generation versions of the game. On lower settings you’ll notice a decrease in shadow quality, object detail and view distance.

Installing the game is quite a hefty task. The game took about 20 minutes to install on my PlayStation 4. On PC it took me about three hours. GTA V for PC is about sixty gigabytes in size and is split over seven DVD discs for installation. After about one and a half hour the game was done installing but it needed to download an additional six gigabytes from the Rockstar servers. As you can imagine, these servers are now operating at maximun capacity since a lot of people are installing their newly acquired game right now. It took me another hour and a half to finally be able to start the game up.

Console vs. PC.

I myself am more of a console gamer. I like a comfy chair, a controller and have become fairly attached to my huge HD TV and accompanying surround set. I could connect my PC to my TV but since I don’t own a 4K television, there’s not much use in doing that. Not for as long as I also own the PS4 version of the game. GTA V for PC also supports controllers if you’re more after a console-like experience on PC.

Unique to the PC version is the Rockstar Editor. A video capturing and editing tool. Unlike most video editors this one is fairly easy to use. The “Director Mode” lets you play as various characters of choice (animals even!) with modified game rules so whatever you imagine is possible to create. Within minutes I had created an exciting movie of  random gameplay. Watch the result below:

A short video created with the Rockstar Editor, exclusive for PC.

Also unique to the PC version is the addition of a new radio station called “The Lab” which quickly became one of my favorite stations. You can also create your own radio station by adding your own music to the game. I’m also very curious to see what modders are able to do with this new title. The guys behind OpenIV are already working on compatibility with their modding tool.

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  • Dragoş

    Nice review! Soooo good to hear Rockstar did a terrific job optimizing this game for PC. Between this, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Pillars of Eternity, Metal Gear Solid V and Batman Arkham Knight it will be a hell of a year!

  • Oh man, I totally forgot about The Witcher and Batman! It’s going to be a great summer indeed! Thanks again for the kind words Dragos. If you like, I could write reviews more often :)

    • Dragoş

      Of course I’d like more reviews from you (and I’m sure I’m not the only one), but only if you have the time.

      Also… you forgot about The Witcher 3?!?! You should really play the first games, too, if you haven’t yet! Maybe even write some impressions…