Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Grand Theft Auto V PS4/XB1

A little over a year ago Grand Theft Auto V was unleashed onto the gaming public. Last year I reviewed it for CeX too, and ultimately praised it as not only the best game of 2013, but also one of the best games of the last 10 years. It was literally perfect. But GTA V came out at the tail end of the previous generation, and while that didn't hurt sales, it left me wondering why might have been. But while a GTA V upgrade on PS4 and Xbox One may have been wishful thinking last year, that dream has just become a reality, and it makes for an ever better GTA V experience.

Developed by Rockstar North and out now on PS4 and Xbox One comes Grand Theft Auto V, the same game you played last year, but improved to the point where it puts all other current game releases to shame. For the first time in GTA history this entry features three protagonists instead of one. They're pretty diverse in every way you could imagine. First up there's ex-bank robber turned house husband Michael Townley, then his criminal understudy Franklin Clinton, and finally Trevor Phillips, an old accomplice of Michael's who lives in a trailer and is pretty much completely insane. Together they plan some bank heists throughout the city, ultimately trying to earn enough money for very different personal reasons. They're a fantastic trio of characters, and as playing as each of them throughout GTA V, they'll grown on you like Niko in GTA IV did.

Gameplay is business as usual in the GTA series, but GTA V just perfects the recipe. As Trevor, Michael and Franklin (you can instantly change as who you're playing as during gameplay), you'll take part in missions that range from simple pick-up and escort missions, to much more elaborate ones like assassinations, insane car chases, underwater excursions and missions that have you transporting drugs across the city via plane. But while doing missions for the various gangsters, cops and bizarre citizens of San Andreas is fun, the best moments come about during those times between missions. Whether you're hiking to the top of Mount Chiliad, hanging out in the Hood with your homies, watching the hilarious in-game TV in your mansion, listening to the radio while going for an easy drive or parachuting across the city itself, the amount of fun, adventure and opportunity in GTA V is staggering, utterly staggering.

The open-world of San Andreas -which is essentially GTA's version of California- is truly incredible both in terms of size and detail. From the grubby bars, trailer parks and lonely forests dotted around Blaine County, to the neon lit buzz of the city at night, Rockstar North have created the perfect open-world here. Though it looked awesome last year, the step up to the current generation of consoles has served it very well. From higher resolution textures, extra foliage and tress, more realistic water and everything generally looking much more refined, it's clear that Rockstar North didn't do a rush job here. However, the biggest addition to this upgrade is the much talked about first-person mode.

Make no mistake, this addition of first-person mode is not an afterthought. Instead it draws you into the game more than ever before, and will not only make you see GTA V in a new light, but also
makes the game play entirely differently. Seriously, it's actually pretty incredible how much this mode suits the GTA formula. Whether you decide to going on a rocket launcher killing spree or just chill out in your car, first-person mode is impeccably achieved. That said, there are times in which it looks so real I almost had to look away. They came in the form of killing someone with an axe and going through my cars windscreen in first-person. Those two moments were highly realistic, a little disturbing and a testament to how much the world of San Andreas can pull you in.

Overall Grant Theft Auto V is perfect, but you already know that, right? But while you probably own it already, you need- and I mean NEED- this current generation upgrade. It not only betters it in every way visually, but adds a first-person mode to the mix that is a wonderful, chilling, exciting and disturbing experiment. Buy it.

Grand Theft Auto V pulls me back into San Andreas and gets a 5/5.


Denis Murphy

Grand Theft Auto V at CeX

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