GTA V, after an eighteen month wait, is finally out on the PC. So, is it any good? Short answer: yes. Long answer: read on to find out. I bought my version of GTAV from Steam, but there is also a retail version. I was originally going to get the boxed release, but I decided against this as the retail version lacks Steam integration (it relies on Social Club for DRM) and I have found the Steam overlay to be useful for review purposes. That said, the Rockstar Social Club has improved a lot and you will still need to sign into it to play the Steam release. The cost of the game was £39.99.
So, how does GTAV run? I do have GTAV on the Xbox 360 and I am going to say now that the PC version looks and feels better almost immediately. The game-play is the same as the other versions but feels much smoother. The optimization is good – really good. I have only had 3 crashes in over 79 hours of game play (both online and single player) and I have had the game since day one. However, a friend of mine has had several Blue Screens of Death and this isn’t an isolated issue. Graphically, I am seeing a steady 30fps in DX11 mode and 60fps on DX10/10.1. I am finding that the game, even on low, looks as good as any thing the PS3 and Xbox 360 are capable of.
The Single player includes all the things that were added on for the PS4/Xbox One versions. If you haven’t played GTAV single player before, the basic premise is that you have three characters: Franklin (A street gangster trying to go straight and sort of failing), Michael (A retired crook with anger management issues) and Trevor, getting caught up in a tangled web of lies, deceit and blackmail that only seems to get worse. The mayhem builds ups with more and more ludicrous missions taking place. The big draw is the heists which has all three of the characters working together to pull off an insane feat of crime that would make four clowns in Washington DC proud. The city of Los Santos and Blaine County feels much more realized than it did on the Xbox 360 with animals wandering about more NPC variety etc., which makes the city feel much more like a living city and less like a sandbox(except in the Desert which is, in fact, a box of sand)
One of the big things Rockstar touted was the transfer of a previous GTA Online character and in fairness this was painless The transfer lets you keep all of your houses, cars, guns and ‘borrowed’ military hardware and it lets you redo your character’s looks.
The community is still the same, but the addition of a text chat box does make it a little simpler to co-ordinate the mayhem online. The only issue I have had with Online is, if you’re playing with friends, it can be a pain to get everyone into the same free roam session or job. If there is one thing that the online needs, it is some form of party system so you can stay in the same session with the your friends. Also, Online is peer to peer, and at the time of writing there has been issues with hackers, so in my opinion Rockstar need to make the choice now to invest in some proper MMO back end infrastructure. Another option is dedicated rent-able servers like Battlefield 4 has. Otherwise, the online may end up dying a death because it’s not called GTAV multi-player, it’s called Grand Theft Auto:Online.
The biggest things that set the PC version apart from all the other versions are: the built-in video editor, and the ability to record game play clips natively in game (which is going to make recording those montages a million times easier). You can also record videos of online play. Another feature is the Director Mode, which gives you access to a load of in game assets such as NPC models which then replace your character and a selection of mutators, for example explosive melee and low gravity.
So, would I recommend GTA V on the PC? Yes I would. It is by far the best version and you can see the effort that Rockstar have put into this release. There are issues, but these are overridden by the fact that the game is finally out on PC and actually works without needing a computer that would give Skynet RAM envy. The only thing that it lacks is proper mod support and the online component needs improving but otherwise GTAV on the PC is the best version by far.