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Grand Theft Auto V Review

Replay Value:
Online Gameplay:
Overall Rating:
Take-Two Interactive
Number Of Players:
Release Date:
November 18, 2014

Grand Theft Auto V was a mammoth achievement. The upgraded version is that same mammoth achievement with another layer of gloss and intrigue. The newly added first-person mode changes the entire dynamic of this legendary franchise and while not everything works in this perspective (driving, for instance), the option is appreciated and the technical upgrades are just awesome. There’s nothing quite so mind-bogglingly impressive as Los Santos with even better draw distances and overall detail, and it makes replaying the game even more enticing.

If you’re one of those strange individuals who never played GTAV, well, talk about a no-brainer.

For most games that receive a graphical upgrade, you look at the latest iteration, shrug your shoulders, and say: “Yeah, it’s nicer.” I mean, your jaw doesn’t drop through the floor; after all, you’ve seen it before and now, it’s just a little clearer and sharper. But with a game as large as GTAV, with such a gigantic, dynamic and comprehensive landscape, even minor updates make a huge difference. Faces are more defined, effects are more…uh, effective, and the city, seen from a certain height, is that much more beautiful. Overall, this is one of the most ambitious, accomplished graphical overhauls I’ve ever seen.

The sound doesn’t boast the same type of drastic upgrade but this category didn’t require much improving to begin with. The voice acting is superb, the soundtrack is expansive and diverse, the effects are crisp and often surprisingly realistic, and the overall audio presentation is just plain splendid (wait, should the words “plain” and “splendid” be right next to each other?). Anyway, there’s really nothing to complain about here, unless you’re not really a fan of the music in the game, which is purely subjective. From a technical standpoint, the graphics and sound are absolutely top-notch, even when analyzed through a “next-gen” lens.

Yes, we produced that epic review late last year and GTAV is the same game. However, there’s still plenty to talk about, so let’s begin with the addition of that controversial first-person mode. It’s a critical alteration that completely changes the dynamic and perspective of the game, which is historically third-person. The first-person viewpoint brings you closer to the gritty action than ever before, and this includes getting up-close-and-personal with both enemies and prostitutes. It’s a more visceral experience and lends the game a darker, more sinister aura. In third-person, GTA always seemed like a virtual farce, an uber-violent yet still tongue-in-cheek crime extravaganza.

With the first-person view, and coupled with those sharper, more detailed visuals, the atmosphere undergoes a drastic alteration. How you react to this alteration depends on a number of factors and I honestly can’t guarantee you’ll like it. What I can do, however, is evaluate its functionality. For instance, it’s certainly easier and more intuitive to toss explosives in first-person, and the adopted FPS mechanic feels just about right. On the other hand, the cover system doesn’t work quite properly and driving feels touchy and awkward. The control is just far too sensitive to offer the level of precision you’d want, and that’s a problem.