Guest Blog by Ronald K@MusicManiac1965
Before the Current Generation release of Grand Theft Auto V, I had the Xbox 360 version, and finished the story five times even before the Xbox One version came out. GTA online was a ton of fun too but there where no heists. I was eager to find out what a more tweaked and more detailed version could add to my gaming experience, as I knew, I love this game a lot!
The first thing I noticed was how much smoother the frame rate was. Billboards next to the freeway could be read far into the distance. In poor parts of the city, you see more worn out houses, bad paint jobs, tagging, and litter on the ground. All those small details give the city a more realistic look as no streets are as clean as they where on the Xbox 360 version. The sharper textures, more cars on the road, more pedestrians, and much thicker foliage in forest areas gives the game a finished and polished look. All that I can find that I don't like to much, is how close to the screen the shadow gets more detailed. This is mostly noticable on the freeways around the city, and it does not really ruin the look of the game, but it could have been a more smooth transition from a blurry shadow to a sharp one. I'd much rather have a less sharp edge closer to the car, than a shadow that has a hugely noticeable swap in detail, close to the car.
This goes for the in car radio stations and the music but also the voice acting, and sounds of the city. I noticed a better sound quality in the music, but also the voice actors sound a bit more clear on my 5.1 surround set. You can leave it up to Rockstar Games to give attention to detail in the sound and music department. The hustle and bustle of the streets, the conversations all around you and the story of the main three characters are of a high caliber. For me, this feels like I'm playing a action movie. The extra music in the next generation version is nice, and ads more variation to the radio stations. When I play the story, I leave the radio where the characters are listening to, but when I play online, I listen to Los Santos Rock Radio, and Non Stop Pop the most.
At first, when I came from GTA IV, I was not to fond of the way they changed the handling of the cars, but now after putting a lot of time on the 360 and One version, the car handling grew on me. I love it how you now can get faster around corners, and some cars can even be put on two wheels when you hit the curbs and proper direction of the front wheels. The smoother frame rate sure gives the handling a boost compared to playing it on the Xbox 360. I love the fact you can choose different aim assist, or even turn it off completely. When you play in first person mode (new to the next generation versions, this is not available on the Xbox 360), it's cool to turn off the aim assist if you want to challenge yourself a bit more. I finished the game twice in first person mode, and only the parts where you have to shoot while driving (think about the boat from Michael being stolen and you Chase it on the freeway), I switch back to the far view and then aim the crosshair on the target, but other than that, I love how this new mode gives the game a fresh feel. Also it's cool to see Rockstar Games put lots of time and effort in the extra animations, as it's not just a matter of slapping on a new point of view.
For me, I could play this game again and again. Not only the story mode, but also online. Now the heists are there, this gives you much more variation in what you can do. But if you prefer, you can just keep on doing the missions you like, and leave the rest alone. The fact that Rockstar keeps on giving extra modes, more houses, cars, and all this at no extra cost, I am proud they don't fall for the easy cash grabbing and charge (small) fees for all those updates. Free roaming with no goal but just to cause chaos is as fun as it has always been, starting from GTA 3, and with completing all the stunt jumps, flying under all bridges ads more time to the game if you feel like it.
I mentioned the online part of this game before, but since this game considers the single player mode and the online mode as two completely different games, I feel the need to share the ups and downs of the online part. I want to get the bad thing done first, so I can end with the good stuff. When playing with a friend, and you play for instance the first heist, there's a huge chance you get disconnected from each other, so you need to invite your friend back into your game first before you can continue the heist. Combine this with a rather long loading time, and you can see how much it can get you out of that vibe you get from playing a heist. Some missions also have this disconect problem. I think this should have been solved long before, but even now this is still a point. Also Rock Star removed the restart function when you finish a mission. I would love to have this back, as this is a great way to train on a mission, so you can get more accurate and faster Also it would have been great if you just have one extra friend to play, that you can still do all the heists, but then you have to do just more, as usually the other team are doing the other half of the work. So now you are forced to play with strangers, who often leave before the heists are done, or not even starting the heist. Ok, this is all I don't like about the game's online mode, but the huge amount of content (user generated or by Rockstar) and if you have a fun group of friends playing this online, you will soon forget about the disconnect problem, as the game play and variation keep you entertained for a long time. Also the content creator (making your own races for instance) is fun and easy to use, and ads even more variation and lastability to the online mode. In general, I think the online mode ads more fun to the game, it just needs to be fine tuned, and then it would be perfect for me.
I don't score games, as some times I feel this way you can pick up the vibe of the review, and get your conclusion from this, as if i would score it, it's just my opinion, but in this way, I just report on what I like and dislike so you can make up your own mind of what points are more important to you. This game will be played for much more hours, and I think only a new GTA game can topple the amount of hours I have put into this game.
Guest Blog by Ronald K @MusicManiac1965
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