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    Grand Theft Auto V: Bigger, Better, and Prettier On PC

    Rockstar says it’s been working on a PC port of its popular console title, Grand Theft Auto V, since the beginning. It’s been bit of a rocky road, with a couple of delays, but now that the game’s here, it’s hard to argue with the dev team’s dedication. GTA V on PC is a sprawling game with a huge amount of content, and it takes full advantage of all the power of a good desktop gaming system.

    It also takes advantage of a lot of improvements that the game received when it launched in next gen consoles last year, while still finding room to boost the game’s graphics even more. Our review machine may be a few years old, but it can handle games such as Battlefield 4 at full fidelity; GTA V, on the other hand, simply won’t run at full settings. It’s actually nice to have a game that makes upgrades seem worthwhile, and having seen the game at a preview event, running at a 4K resolution with everything turned up.

    It was amazing. First up, the view distances have been tweaked to so that you can see further than ever before, and with higher detail. Standing high in the Vinewood Hills you can see the lights of high-rises in downtown Los Santos with stunning clarity, and the lights of traffic creeping along the freeways. Even more impressive is that as you approach, these are actual vehicles, not some graphics slight of hand the sheer size of the moving population in the game is astounding. In fact, you can play with population settings to take advantage of particularly beefy specs.

    Possibly the best thing about the game, however, is first person mode. Playing previous GTA games on PC was always a bit of a chore, being forced into third person, but playing GTA V in first person is a revelation. The amazing detail of the world, from the range of people walking the streets, to posters on city walls, and even car dashboards is sharp, and rewards those who stop and pay attention. Whether you’re walking the city streets or cruising the desert in a buggy, there’s always something interesting to look at even without the gameplay, just exploring the world is fulfilling. And first person mode completely changes the game’s gunplay.

    Playing in first person mode on the keyboard is very rewarding, but it’s still handy to have a controller handy for driving, and it’s practically essential when you start flying aircraft around.

    Thankfully, though, there is a tonne of content in the game. Every DLC and release on console is present, and there’s more wildlife than any previous release.

    If you’re not familiar with the game, the single-player campaign follows three criminals as they meet (or, catch up with) each other, and start planning a new life of crime namely heists of banks and jewellery stores and the like. It has the usual black GTA sense of humour, skewering everything and everyone from Apple to gamers to the excesses of modern living. Nothing’s off limits, and at times the humour can cross the line your mileage will definitely vary in this instance, but many of the gags do seem a bit meaner than previous outings.

    There’s a huge amount of content in the single-player game, but there’s also GTA Online to enjoy. In this, you create your own customised characters to roam the streets, and at any time there are up to 30 players online at the same time, challenging each other to races, death-matches, or even teaming up for four-player heists. Even online, just wandering around, holding up liquor stores, can be a lot of fun, and the addition of other players ups the mayhem nicely.

    Even if the bombastic story isn’t your deal, there sheer amount of other content, and gorgeous, open-world visuals in the game are worth the price of admission. It may not be huge bar, but this is easily the best GTA game on PC and a better game than it was on console.

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