Grand Theft Auto V (PlayStation 4) Review

By Albert Lichi 10.12.2014

Review for Grand Theft Auto V on PlayStation 4

What more can be said about Grand Theft Auto V that hasn't been said already? One of the most controversial game franchises that will be remembered forever as it broke new ground with its sandbox gameplay and vast amount of activities to do, and how delicate snowflakes around the world tried to censor the hard work the team at Rockstar poured into these fine games. It is the fastest selling game of all time on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 platforms, and now gets a second shot, remastered on the PlayStation 4.

The world of Grand Theft Auto V is a mean spirited and pessimistic one, populated by some of the most wonderful scumbags. Most urban sandbox games would have gamers playing as a noble criminal or a person who is as much as a victim as the Non-Playable Characters players would prey on. Grand Theft Auto V, though, has them not only assume the role of one monster, but three. Franklin, Michael, and Trevor are wonderfully illustrated monsters. In the dog-eat-dog world of San Andreas, no matter how big and bad anyone is, there is always someone bigger and badder. It is a beautifully cynical depiction of the human condition, and even though it can seem like it could overdo it at times, Grand Theft Auto V never feels phony or like it is trying too hard. The atmosphere feels pretty natural and realistic; even when the game is at its most satirical it never veers off into Saint's Row territory. While some characters, like Trevor, may go off the deep end and do something outrageous, at first the instinct is to just laugh about it - but then a dark air of unease develops and the gravity of the character's actions take hold. It is a very subtle deconstruction of the typical sandbox crime game.

The enhanced resolution, now running a very crisp 1080p, looks excellent. Although not every texture is something to write home about, for the most part Grand Theft Auto V looks very pleasing. While there are some very simplistic low poly models here are there, and quite a few bland or generic textures that give away the fact that this is indeed a last gen game, for the most part this is one of the better looking games on the PlayStation 4. There are some very realistic-looking lighting effects going on and GTA never had water look this good. Damage details to cars are uncanny and are possibly the most realistic damage effects to be seen in vehicular destruction. Even exit wounds on characters look pretty believable. Rockstar knows that the devil is in the detail, and Grand Theft Auto V is a very devilish game. The attention to the most minute details is in Grand Theft Auto V, ranging from full episodes of animated cartoons, TV shows, and even games within the game itself. There are even some minor events that will occur due to player agency, like receiving a hospital bill, should gamers feel like trying to kill Michael's wife, and receiving a text from her. All these little things amount to a very immersive world that feels very palpable and realistic.

Screenshot for Grand Theft Auto V on PlayStation 4

While the driving may have improved since the previous instalments, sadly not much else has. Grand Theft Auto V still maintains the floaty and clunky character controls and unresponsive aiming that the competing urban sandbox games have long since improved upon. It doesn't help that it, unfortunately, only runs 30fps; if Rockstar could have this running 60fps, it might have helped the responsiveness. This is an issue that has continued in the series when other sandbox games like Sleeping Dogs have more responsive and fluid character actions like general melee combat or even shooting. While Grand Theft Auto V does have a lot of options to adjust the controls, it still will never be as snappy or responsive as would be hoped. One saving grace that this re-mastered edition has, however, is the new first-person mode. This new means of playing actually improves on its original design. With the right control settings and tweaked just perfectly, the first-person mode actually makes Grand Theft Auto V a better game. Of course, since it was never designed to be a first-person game, some things like the melee fighting and cover mechanics don't work out as well as might have been hoped, but they do get the job done. This mode makes the game feel slightly more responsive and feels like the player has more control due to it not relying on full character awareness 100% of the time. It is also in this mode where the shortcomings of the shooting mechanics become very much apparent and how it just lacks the fluidity found in other first-person action games.

If gamers can get past the slowness of the controls and sluggish animations, there is a lot to enjoy. In particular, the online mode, which is almost like an MMORPG in terms of character growth and asset accumulation. It's too bad that online is stuck behind Sony's PS Plus pay wall, when the exact same mode is available for free on the PS3 version of this year-old game. Despite the shortcomings, this comes recommended to anyone looking for a urban sandbox title. The abundance of activities to do, sights to see and discoveries to be found is unmatched - just when it seems like everything has been seen, Grand Theft Auto V manages to surprise.

Screenshot for Grand Theft Auto V on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Very Good - Bronze Award

Rated 7 out of 10

Grand Theft Auto V is an ambitious game with a lot of content and a great story, along with a lot of compelling monsters who make up the cast. However, the actual character control mechanics waste it. The floaty and sluggish character controls bog things down and take away the accuracy and responsiveness that shooting or beat 'em up mechanics demand. The sparsely populated city is a letdown when going on psychotic joyrides and there are so few pedestrians to hit or gun down. While some of these issues are understandable for the last gen platforms to have, there is no excuse for the developer to waste the new hardware's horsepower and release the game running only at 30fps. All the new graphical effects won't mean much in the end if the core gameplay suffers. As far as sandbox crime games go, Grand Theft Auto V is an incredible achievement in world building, and comes recommended, but just don't expect the best action.

Developer

Rockstar North

Publisher

Rockstar

Genre

Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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