As much as Matt Martin loves GTA 5, he can’t recommend upgrading from console to PC just for a slick editing suite and even prettier graphics.
“This is the third time in as many years that I’ve bought GTA 5.”
I have a Grand Theft Auto 5 obsession, as I’m sure you know if you’ve even glanced at VG247 in the past 12 months or so.
The whole GTA series resonates with me to the point where I have seriously considered getting my GTA Online’s character tattoos in real-life. I have fan fiction starring the receptionist from Merryweather Security on my hard drive.
But I have to stop somewhere. I’m glad I’ve spent this week sampling the delights of the PC version – and it is full of delights. You don’t need me to write 1,200 words on how great it looks, the hectic action, the insane characters and the potential to get forever lost in Blaine County. It’s as much an accomplished game on PC as it was on the last two generations of consoles. Now it looks even better.
This is the third time in as many years that I’ve bought GTA 5. Installing and optimising it on PC was a bit like Early Man prodding at fire because I’m a console gamer first and foremost. But I got there, and raced through the first couple of missions to open up Online play, and a bunch of single player characters to direct in the Rockstar Editor.
The Rockstar Editor and Director Mode are a lot of fun, which is saying something considering it’s essentially an editing suite. But once the novelty of that wears off, unless you’re dedicated to making GTA movies it’s not going to hold your attention. It’s a great addition, but it’s not a reason to own the PC version of the game.
The reason to own the PC version of GTA 5 is if you’ve not played it before, or you haven’t played since release in the PS360 era. In that case, you need to get involved pronto. GTA 5 single-player has the new missions but above all looks, controls and plays a lot more smoothly. Open up GTA Online and it’s an entirely different game to the one that launched in 2013, complete with all the DLC and Heists. I cannot recommend either experiences highly enough. If it was a employee I’d give it a pay rise for continued and consistent improvement.
But if you’ve been playing the PS4 or Xbox One version recently you need to take a long pause. Aside from the Rockstar Editor, there’s nothing really new in terms of content in the PC version.
“The jump in quality isn’t nearly as dramatic this time around. The truth is that sunsets on Vespucci Beach look just as beautiful regardless of format.”
The upgrade for me from Xbox 360 to PS4 was essential for two reasons. Firstly, all my friends had abandoned the console and were filtering over to Sony’s new machine. GTA Online was the only reason I still had the 360 plugged in for well over a year but once my buddies were gone I was playing in a wasteland.
Secondly, there was a quantifiable leap in quality between the two console generations. The PC version looks stunning – and better – than the PS4 version when you’re pumping max settings. And 60 frames per second is noticeable from the off – which is something I was never sure I’d be able to say. But the jump in quality isn’t nearly as dramatic this time around. The truth is that sunsets on Vespucci Beach look just as beautiful regardless of format. The butterflies around Mount Chillad are still incredibly detailed. The neon of Del Perro Pier just as gaudy.
What I’m saying might seem obvious: the PC version of Grand Theft Auto 5 is the best-looking on any format. But that takes nothing away from the PS4 and Xbox One versions. If anything, those two formats are now much better populated following Heists if you’re a regular GTA Online player, so switching over would be foolish.
I thought I might be missing out when the PC version released, and it’s a luxury to have it. But it’s not a necessity. And I say that as someone who plays GTA 5 on a daily basis.