When Grand Theft Auto V was released almost ten years ago on September 17, 2013, nobody expected it to go on this historic run spanning multiple console generations. In fact, a PS5 and Xbox Series X version was launched just a few weeks ago, and to the delight of fans looking forward to jumping back into Los Santos, the game is being offered at an irresistibly cheap promotional price.
The ensemble story of Michael, Trevor, and Franklin as well as all of its side content still remains the same to this day and it’s a chance for us to revisit it on the PS5 and the Xbox Series with a bunch of visual upgrades.
By some chance, if you haven’t experienced Grand Theft Auto V yet and have recently purchased a brand spanking new PS5 or Xbox Series, it’s almost a shame to let this piece of gaming history pass you by. For all of my personal hang-ups with Rockstar Games in general, Grand Theft Auto V is still one of the gold standards for open-world action-adventure games.
An Incremental Update
These current-gen consoles are no strangers to remasters and re-releases, and Grand Theft Auto V is no different, providing an incremental update to the whole open-world adventure. As mentioned earlier, the game has not changed at all in content and even with its many features that were introduced all the way back in PS3 such as motion controls.
One of the primary improvements is the visual updates as expected from a next-gen port. There are three options for your screen: regular Performance mode, Performance Ray Tracing (RT), and Fidelity. The current recommendation for an optimal current-gen experience on the PS5 and the Xbox Series X would be the Performance RT mode, giving you the best of both worlds at 4K 60FPS.
Apart from the obvious visual upgrades, one of the best improvements that this release has are the improvements to the Loading times, taking advantage of the SSD tech that both systems are equipped with. Gone are the hefty loading screens that are so frustrating when repeating botched missions in both the Story and Online modes, so there’s quite a boost in the quality of life in this experience.
PS5 users can also take advantage of the extras provided by the Dualsense controller. Haptic feedback could be felt with the more delicate features such as the drip of the sprinklers during the prologue and the feel of the cars when driving across Los Santos. Adaptive triggers add to the action, especially during gunfights. As mentioned earlier, motion sensors could be applied to certain parts of the controls allowing you to reload by shaking your Dualsense the same way you did with your Sixaxis back in the PS3 days.
Audio has also been improved, with the right headphones putting you into your grand life of crime as you hear the sounds of Los Santos. For the most part, these changes may not seem like a huge deal but they are definitely noticeable, which would excite returning players and newcomers to the whole Los Santos experience.
A Drive Down Memory Lane
Grand Theft Auto V is an open-world adventure where you tread morally objectionable choices and proceed to live your life through the eyes of your anti-heroes – Michael, Franklin, and Trevor. The series, as a whole, has always featured deplorable side characters serving as a foil – whether it’s the ambitious Lamar, Michael’s ungrateful family, and even Trevor himself. Like them or hate them, they do fall under the irreverent tone that Grand Theft Auto has been known for and what its seasoned fan base accepts and enjoys.
It’s also quite interesting seeing how storytelling in games has progressed since 2013. While indie games have grown leaps and bounds with their storytelling, I could not say the same for AAA stories. In a way, just like Mass Effect Legendary Edition before it, I miss the storytelling from that generation. They had the right balance of edge, heart, and narrative risk-taking that I find storytelling in AAA games these days lack.
It is as if storytelling seemed to have stopped progressing, maybe because of its priority to live service (which is ironic because Grand Theft Auto Online has proved the success of that business model). I, for one, appreciate revisiting Grand Theft Auto V‘s plot even if it wasn’t exactly my cup of tea, although its adherence to its themes and snappy dialogue has made me re-evaluate my opinion on it. Grand Theft Auto V‘s story is well-written and deserves another look.
One gripe I have with these types of releases is how faithful they are to the old-school controls from years ago. Throughout the years, control schemes have improved and we’ve been accustomed to certain buttons doing specific actions, so replaying Grand Theft Auto V was a bit of a struggle. It’s almost akin to what I experienced with Mass Effect Legendary Edition, where the controls didn’t quite age gracefully compared to its visuals.
Ten years later, Grand Theft Auto V still holds up and is worth looking into especially with a consumer-friendly price point. It could be argued that the update should have been given for free, but its price now isn’t one to break the bank. Newcomers will definitely be in an enviable position to experience this title with fresh eyes and despite the game showing its age, Grand Theft Auto V is still very much the classic game we all know and love.