There aren’t many games for which I’d shell out money for a remake less than 18 months after the initial release. The fact that I have is a testament to just how impressive I find GTA V and this remake. It’s funny, this game sold like hot cakes yet I don’t know a single other person over the age of 18 who actually likes this game. Call me a philistine; I love it and Rockstar have absolutely raised the bar when it comes to current gen ports of last gen games.
I covered everything about the game itself when I reviewed GTA V when it first came out, so I’m just going to focus on what’s new. There are a few new cool additions, such as peyote plants which let you play as animals and new songs for the radio. The game also looks much better. Sure, it still doesn’t run at 60fps but the roughness around the edges has been smoothed over. People often criticise games like these for the amount of time spent travelling between actual major content rather than actually taking part in missions. I can see the issue, but for me I derive a huge amount of pleasure in just getting around, even if it’s to the same places. I gained a pretty familiar understanding of the geography of Los Santos and the surrounding environs and it’s a genuine pleasure for me to just drive around and soak up the atmosphere. I enjoyed this on the Xbox 360, but everything looked just that bit nicer on PS4 and really brought the setting to life.
The biggest addition, and the one I appreciated most, was the inclusion of a first person camera perspective. Now, I’m not saying that it’s better than the third person mode, in fact if playing for the first time it almost certainly isn’t, but it’s also a huge incentive to replay. I played the whole thing in first person, on foot and driving. The whole thing is very customisable; for example, I had it so that when I went into cover it popped out into third person in the style of Deus Ex: Human Revolution. The perspective that you play a game is one of the biggest design choices that a developer must make and it’s frankly astonishing that the first person mode for a game designed for third person isn’t just functional, it’s fun. This feature alone sold me on this remaster, with new first person animations showing the effort that Rockstar put in. They could very easily have buffed up the graphics and added in a few more songs then called it a day; it still would have sold like hot cakes, but they didn’t. They put in the effort to offer a new way to play the game, one which incentivised me to return to the game a little over a year later, something I have never done before.
GTA may be a behemoth of a franchise, but it’s also one I consider to be a victim of hipster disdain. In gaming circles, it’s really not cool to love GTA V, but…well, I do! It’s brash and unsubtle and I have serious reservations about how it treats women, but it all comes together remarkably well. GTA V was brilliant on Xbox 360 and PS3; now it’s a masterpiece.