My last review of Grand Theft Auto V was for last-gen systems, and since then, it’s received a release on current-gen consoles, and now a belated release on PC. Either way, the game is huge, and on PC it’s crazy huge, physically speaking. The retail version contains a crazy 7 discs, while purchasing the download version on Steam will run you around 60GB. Hope you weren’t thinking of using your regular capped account for it! Incidentally, grabbing the retail version nets you a nifty map that you can frame or hang on your wall or use to wrap a small body in. Since the games are functionally similar, my prior review still stands, so I’ll be highlighting the differences of the PC version of the console version.
The one thing you’ll notice about GTA V PC is that this is the only version of the game that supports more advanced graphical settings such as 60fps, native 4K, and ultra-high details on every setting. My poor rig couldn’t handle that level of detail for more than a minute or two, but it’s certainly eye-opening to see such lush detail in the terrain. The draw distance, in particular, is something you have to really experience to appreciate. And this is perhaps the first time in ages that I’ve felt ashamed at my mid-range (and falling) graphics card. The genius of the game, though, is not just the ultra-high settings, but the fact that you can experience and enjoy the game on a relatively budget machine (the minimum specs calls for a Core 2 Quad with a GeForce 9800 GT or Radeon 4870—although you’ll be playing the game in glorious 800×600). One of the really nice features that I wish other games would incorporate is a little bar in the graphical settings that tells you whether you’re going to fine or whether your machine will crash and burn in an incendiary spectacle. It’s interesting to see which settings affect the amount graphical memory the most, and which have barely an effect at all. For example, simply switching the game from DirectX11 to DirectX10 saves you a ridiculous amount of RAM, but obviously impairs the graphical glory you want to experience.
Control-wise, the game supports mouse, keyboard, and controller, and it’s the first time in my life where I’ve actively sought out different control methods for the same game. Aiming and firing works far better with a mouse (natch), but driving on keyboard sucks so many donkeys balls you’d be cleaning donkey ball hairs from your keyboard for months. If you’re not using an analog stick controller to drive, you’re missing out. Luckily, the game hotswaps controls on the fly, so simply start using a controller to switch to it–or use a combination of them all at once. At one point, for example, I was running using my controller in my left hand, and aiming and firing with the mouse in my right hand. Try doing THAT on a console.
One of the fun extras that comes with the PC version of GTA V is the Rockstar Editor, which is a fairly well-featured and robust video editor. The game provides a wealth of assets for you to play with and film. In fact, the sheer number of camera controls you have access to is dizzying at first, but playing around in the Editor is almost as much fun, if not more fun, than actually playing the game. A cursory search through YouTube yields a few short films built using the Editor, so you can get an idea of just what you can do with it.
Grand Theft Auto has always been one of games that’s set a benchmark for other games, and this is just as true on PC, 18 months later. Despite the late entry here, this is THE version to get if you’re the owner of multiple platforms and haven’t yet felt the need to dig in. The graphical glory of the game might also make it worth upgrading your rig if you haven’t done so in a while. And since I gave the last-gen version 9 out of 10, I’d say that this game is one of the rare few on our site that warrants the full treatment.
Final Score: 10 graphically glorious prawns out of 10
Developer: Rockstar North
Publisher: Rockstar Games
Platforms: Windows (reviewed), PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, XBox One
Age Rating: Aw Hell you ain’t seriously thinking it’s for under 18s, are you?
Official Website: http://www.rockstargames.com/V/
GTA Online Website: http://www.rockstargames.com/V/GTAOnline