It’s been just over a year since GTA V came out on the Xbox 360 and PS3, and now it returns to the Xbox One and PS4. Much like one of the main characters in GTA V, you might be wondering why it’s back ‘in the game’ on the next-gen. I’m going to talk about the improvements in this review, as GameGuide reviewed the original game back when it came out.

Initially I was worried it might be a cynical exercise in getting any GTA game out for the new consoles, particularly since we’ve seen other publishers already release a handful of ‘remastered’ games for next-gen. However after giving GTA V a fair crack on the PS4 I’m pleased to say they’ve actually done a large amount of work on the game for this new version.

GTA V next-gen looks generally fantastic, and absolutely stunning at times. It sports a bunch of new textures, new lighting effects, new weather, and a much bigger draw distance. Yes, you’ll still see the occasional graphical glitch or texture pop in, but it’s much less noticeable, and certainly less frequent than it was on the Xbox 360 version of GTA V from a year ago. Characters in the cutscenes look more believable, because they have more lighting and texturing applied to their faces and clothes. The world of GTA V really looks beautiful too. It’s not too noticeable in downtown Los Santos (although the bigger draw distance makes the city sing from the rooftops or when driving at speed), but head out into the country, or down to the coast and it really showcases the work that’s been done with new textures for shrubs, trees etc. Water also looks a lot better too. I’ve been posting screenshots on Facebook using the PS4’s share feature and confused a friend who thought maybe I’d been quad biking in the weekend, until they realised it was a screenshot (and that I’m unlikely to go outside into the sun – gah).

However it’s not all pretty pictures, the gameplay has been enhanced and modified too. There’s a new ‘first person’ camera mode which apparently involved a bunch of work on rebuilding the interiors of vehicles, and reworking the way weapons were presented and used in combat. This is a cool new feature, and ridiculously easy to use on the PS4, as the controller’s touchpad is used to quickly cycle through the camera modes. This new view changes the way you play GTA, and I found myself jumping in and out of it freely. It’s superb for driving vehicles (seriously, a fast motorbike in this view is terrifying), but I struggled to navigate interior spaces like houses in first person view without bumping into stuff. Fortunately a quick tap on the touchpad flicks you back to classic third person. Using this new view also really shows you how fantastically detailed everything is in the GTA V world too.

Other gameplay changes include using the gruntier hardware in next-gen to support a lot more traffic on the roads, and pedestrians in the streets. This makes the urban areas really feel like a living city, particularly during rush hours. It can also change the gameplay too, making certain car or motorbike chase missions a little more challenging with the busier streets. I also noticed it seems easier to ‘accidently’ mow down a handful of pedestrians and get yourself a star or two at the wrong time if you’re not careful. The PS4’s controller has also been used for amusing effect. If the cops are after you you’ll hear their police band radio playing through the controller, and it doubles as the cellphone speaker when taking calls.

What hasn’t changed is the story however. So if you’re already played through GTA V single player don’t expect any surprises there, at all. It’s all exactly the same story. GTA V multiplayer has been improved though, again because of the next-gen hardware. Now instead of 16 players in a multiplayer instance, you can have up to 30 players on the PS4 and Xbox One. That makes the multiplayer world a richer experience.

So, if you’ve already played GTA V on the old consoles, should you pick it up again on your fancy new console? That depends I guess. If you never finished the GTA V story, or you spend a lot of time in GTA multiplayer still, then go for it. The improved graphics and the new first person mode are a pretty easy sell. If you haven’t played GTA V yet then definitely. GTA V is the same gritty R18 story from a year ago, but the game has been polished to amazing levels and the world of Los Santos has never been a better place to visit.

Reviewed on: PS4

Rating: R18 Violence, sexual material, drug use & offensive language.

Reviewed by: Stu



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