Grand Theft Auto 5 Next Generation Review

Developer – Rockstar Games

Publisher – Rockstar Games

Platform(s) – PlayStation 5, Xbox Series X|S

Release Date – March 15, 2022

Disclaimer: Thanks to Rockstar for Providing a Review Copy

Whatever your opinion is on Grand Theft Auto 5 and the way Rockstar has supported it over the past few years, no one can deny its longevity. Since its initial release in 2013, Grand Theft Auto 5 has gone on to sell over 160 Million Copies across all platforms. Then there’s the juggernaut that is Grand Theft Auto Online.

I remember a period when sometime after its release, GTA Online was thought to be an experience that would come and go. Those expectations seemingly went away after a Heists update to the game in 2015. Ever since then, Rockstar has provided a plethora of content updates to the game that has kept the player base active.

In June of 2020 at the PlayStation 5 reveal event, the next-gen version of GTA 5 was officially announced. After a few delays, the upgrade has been officially released for PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S. This won’t be a review for the game overall, it’ll be a review for all the enhancements made by Rockstar.

For things first, let’s talk about the biggest change to the next-gen version of Grand Theft Auto 5, 60FPS. 60FPS looks absolutely amazing on Grand Theft Auto 5 and is a welcome change for anyone who plays on console primarily. It genuinely feels like a gigantic difference when playing, especially in GTA Online.

You have all your standard modes to choose from with Fidelity Mode (Native 4K, 30FPS, and Ray-Tracing), Performance Mode (60FPS, No Ray-Tracing), or Performance RT Mode (Targets 60FPS, Ray-Tracing). I’d recommend you to play on Performance RT Mode. Fidelity Mode is fine but I don’t feel the ray-tracing in that mode is high enough to warrant staying at 30FPS.

The new main menu layout looks great! There are two tabs for Story Mode and Online Mode and it’s quick and easy to get your head around. There’s not much to the Story Mode tab but the GTA Online tab is something I’m glad they added. I’m not an avid player of GTA Online, but I sometimes log in from time to time. A big problem I previously had apart from the load times is how convoluted it can be at times to get into a certain game mode. This main menu layout fixes that issue with how many game modes it displays on the screen.

The load times aren’t exponentially quick in this version. I’m sure this is due to the fact that the game was originally developed on 360/PS3 hardware. Still, the load times, while not the best you’ll experience are still massively improved from the previous generation. Going from the PS5 home screen to the main menu takes less than 30 seconds.

Besides the addition of 60FPS and additional ray-tracing, Rockstar did add more elements to the game. If you’re an owner of a PS5, you’ll know about the importance of the DualSense Controller. It’s been one of my favorite aspects that Sony has enhanced about their hardware this generation. Astro’s Playroom is still the blueprint and standard when it comes to DualSense implementation but I like what Rockstar has added here.

As much as I enjoy the haptics and adaptive triggers, there seems to be a problem with these features when using a vehicle. At times there’s a clicking sound from the DualSense when I’m driving around which I assume is coming from the adaptive triggers. It’s been a problem ever since release and I know this isn’t just a problem on my end as plenty of others have reported the same issue.

New fire, smoke, and explosion visuals have been added as well and they look great. These visual upgrades stood out immediately and legitimately look realistic. More vegetation has been added around the map but if you’re not an avid player of GTA 5, you probably won’t even recognize the difference all that much unless you’re doing some sort of comparison.

Porting your save data from PS4 to PS5 is simple enough, it’s the same process on Xbox as well. You can save your GTA Story Mode data over to the Social Club via a tab in the in-game menu. Your GTA Online profile is saved to the Social Club outright. Once you open the next-gen version of GTA 5 on your PS5 or Xbox Series X|S, the options to migrate your data should be available when entering each tab on the main menu.

One thing that has to be noted is that once you migrate your GTA Online profile, you can’t go back on your PS4 or Xbox One and play with that same profile. From the point of migration, you can only use that profile on PS5 or Xbox Series X|S. This wouldn’t be so bad if there was cross-platform play but there’s none in the slightest.

PS5 players can’t play with PS4 players and vice-versa in regards to Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One. To put it simply, I do not like this at all. I don’t know if this was a choice from Rockstar or a hardware problem they couldn’t get around. Still, it’s inconvenient for those who’re on newer hardware and can’t play with their friends that haven’t upgraded to the current generation on consoles just yet.

When you look at what comes with the upgrades to GTA 5, it’s not like Rockstar didn’t make any improvements. There’s no doubt, that 60FPS looks and plays great. Some of the updated visuals and textures look nice. Also, while ray-tracing isn’t as noticeable as I’d like, it’s still there. As of this writing, the upgrade is available for discount on both platforms in the $10 to $20 range. In a few months, it’ll go off discount and be full price on both platforms. The real question still stands, is it worth it to upgrade or not?

I’d say it depends on how much you play GTA 5 at this point and if you have any friends who are still on PS4 and Xbox One. With no cross-platform play, it’s hard to recommend this upgrade to everyone. The new additions are welcome but aren’t substantial. Depending on when the next installment in the GTA series releases which has been confirmed to be in active development, I’d say if you don’t actively play GTA 5 you’d probably be fine without this upgrade.

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