GTA V Next Gen Review – worth buying again?

GTA V released on Xbox 360, PS3 in September of last year and just over a year later sees a re-release on Xbox One and PS4 with a PC version shipping later in 2015. The big question one has to ask surrounding the game is whether it’s worth visiting San Andreas once more so soon and are the differences a justification for spending more money on the same game. Take a look at our GTA V next gen review for the full picture.

GTA V Next Gen Review:

Today we’re taking a look at Rockstar’s expected re-release of last year’s Xbox 360 and PS3 open world action game GTA V or Grand Theft Auto V giving the game its full title. With a year gap between last gen and Xbox One, PS4 releases and many gamers coming direct from those consoles, it’s become a bit of a norm for the bigger selling games to see a version appearing on next gen consoles. Ultimately the question asked is whether it’s worth spending money to play the same game all over again?

What’s different and enticing for players already burnt out on last year’s effort. Well aside from all the DLC for the game’s GTA Online Mode, the single player sees some visual upgrades most notably, a better draw distance, additional assets in the game world, a smoother and more consistent frame rate and sharper visuals in 1080p. In a nutshell, combined, these add up to make the game a far more exuberant version and closer to Rockstar’s vision for the game, that’s not to say the last gen games are lacking, because at the time the game was praised for its attention to detail. In this revised version those details are simply much more apparent.

The other major addition and enticement to jump in again is the option to play the entire game in first person mode making the game feel much more personal as you live and breathe every moment of the three characters Franklin, Michael and Trevor. Players can now eye up lots of details up-close that perhaps get overlooked in the usual third person and with a slew of extra animations to suit the mode, the game takes on a more adventure flavour which is welcome.

Aside from the visual effects which has to be said are pretty spectacular for the most part, the first person view is the main draw here and whilst it’s possible to customize viewpoints to suit, there’s a distinct charm in tackling the entire experience from this perspective, in a way it does make it feel like a new game despite the copious amounts of familiarity.

Sadly, it’s not all good though as the transition to first person comes at a cost. Most obvious is the turning speed and movement which isn’t as fluid as expected from a first person game making aiming and general running about feel a bit delayed. The shooting mechanics which rely on cover based approaches doesn’t blend well and is often a bit too cumbersome in the heat of a fire-fight. Players really have to work extra hard here despite when it works making encounters much more visceral and engaging with its handy lock on system.

Driving is a major tour de force in the game and in first person looks great as the sense of speed and attention to the vehicle dashboards is excellent. However, the field of view especially when corning is narrow and with the many inclines across the city there are moments where players simply cannot see what’s in front of them. Combine this with somewhat floaty handling, some dodgy AI drivers and there’s recipes for unnecessary crashes using this view which is a shame. To combat these elements, players can simply have driving auto set to third person, but this takes away from what is mostly an excellent way to play.

GTA V offers stunning visuals which upgrade from the original but are still a bit lacking in up close details, especially some of the textures which are still low res and last gen looking. The audio also remains the same high quality here with no need for improvement, although there’s a healthy roster of new licensed music added to the numerous radio stations on offer which is a bonus for returning players.

Having played the entire game in first person and enjoyed every moment despite some of the flaws here, it’s certainly has to be said GTA V is a worthy investment and upgrade from last year’s game which can only be fully recommended for those who’ve not yet sampled the game’s delights already. In this regard, new players get the three main story arcs that link together quite perfectly despite the overall tale being somewhat expected and cliché for most of its duration. Crazy caricature characters of previous GTA leading heroes complete with an abundance of witty and sarcastic dialogue. Excellent heist missions – which are the best part of the game – and tons of lengthy driving sequences to soak up the sights. With a plethora of side activities and collectibles to hunt down coupled with a fully fledged online mode and you’ve got a definitive vision of the GTA games over the last 13 years.

For returning players, there’s less to be excited for as essentially this is the same game in a new skin, albeit a very pretty new skin. It’s pleasant to revisit Los Santos, its surrounding areas – and to marvel at the visual clarity on offer – but once the honeymoon period has worn off, the reliance on a first person mode is the only tangible hook. If this simply doesn’t appeal, then the journey might feel a little too familiar and not worth forking out for so soon. If first person is all that’s required to fire up your juices, then you’re in luck as GTA V comes across as an excellent first person role playing adventure game set within a familiar and modern world.

Score 9/10

Review code supplied by Team Xbox UK.

Written by: Robert Cram

Robert Cram has hundreds of video game reviews and thousands of articles under his belt. He aims to remain objective and fair in his analysis. With years of experience, feels his gaming opinions are valid and worth sharing. Agreement is entirely optional.