More an experience than a game, GTA V is what the modern gaming PC has been waiting for – dive into the mayhem!
I’ll never forget firing up Grand Theft Auto V for the first time. As I watched it purr to life in vivid 4k gaming splendor and went through its initial opening trials, I learned some of the basic commands and movements systems.
Soon, I was introduced into the game proper, and began to get a taste of how sweet this game could be on a gaming PC. I started off playing the role of one of the game’s new main protagonists, Trevor Clinton. Trevor’s story starts out as one of a scrappy, inner city youth who is trying to not only survive the mean streets, but to strive and make a name for himself.
Within the span of twenty or so minutes, I was exploring the truly massive city of Los Santos, in sunny San Andreas (modeled after Los Angeles and Southern California respectively). I received a mission right away, but was so entranced by the sheer magnitude of the city that I saw fit just to run around and see what sort of mayhem I could get into.
No sooner had Trevor left his momma’s house and hit the streets that I had him stalking back alleys menacingly on foot, intimidating rival gang members. One group of Hispanic gang bangers weren’t having it, and I promptly got jumped by a gaggle of them. After a violent dance of fisticuffs, I had knocked three of the four vatos out cold and had only taken a few blows to the dome myself.
I scanned the vicinity for my final assailant and soon spotted the girthy gangster wobbling down the street in full flight mode. I reached down and snatched up one of the gangster’s dropped pistols and took off running after El Lardo. In something that seemed like it was out of a Martin Scorsese film, I took aim at his pudgy legs, and fired. The brilliantly implemented damage location detection had the fat man falling disabled to the ground, where he had to wait for me to calmly walk up on him to administer the kill shot.
A band of their compadres soon caught wind of the situation and pulled up armed to the teeth, so I carjacked a nearby unsuspecting motorist and sped off. Just as I crossed over some railroad tracks, a train whizzed by just behind me, cutting me off from my would-be hunters.
I tooled around a bit in my large drop-top 70s ride, listening to old school tunes while taking in the scene (after switching from third, to the more intimate first person view) in stunning 4k gaming magnificence. The sumptuous scenes of people walking, talking, and carrying on, made it seem like a living, breathing, world, and I wondered what lay ahead for Trevor in the treacherous city of Los Santos. My fanciful musings were suddenly cut short as a police car whizzed by, almost careening into me, while chasing an SUV.
I took off after them in order to see what all the commotion was about (okay – I was being nosey). Soon we left the city and were all barreling up through the hills along the Los Santos Freeway. The cops finally managed to ram the perps off into a freeway center divider, and the four baddies all hopped out brandishing firearms. I pulled up close by in order to witness the unfolding shootout.
Just like in real life, the cops, although outgunned, used superior training and tactics (and cover), and quickly put down two of the criminals. A third had wandered out into the freeway a little too far and got plastered by a diesel truck. The final baddie, a woman, saw that the odds were stacked against her, and leapt back into the SUV in a desperate attempt to flee. The officers unloaded on her, one had even brought out a shotgun. The SUV’s horn sounded as she lay slumped over the steering wheel, and her life leaked out of the door and onto the hot asphalt.
As I sat their gaping at the entire scene (I had jumped out of my car for a better look) I, in turn, was smashed into by someone driving a sports car down the busy freeway. Guess it pays to be alert in the dangerous and unpredictable world of GTA V.
That entire sequence was merely an unscripted, random occurrence over the course of about fifteen minutes; I hadn’t even started any of the game’s missions yet!
Yes, Rockstar’s crowning achievement in video gaming, Grand Theft Auto V, is a very different beast from its predecessors. Indeed, the recently released PC version even sets itself apart from the previously released GTA V console versions. I played the original GTA V on the Xbox 360 when it was released in 2013, although everyone pretty much bailed on it for the slightly enhanced PS4 version which came out the following year.
However, those of us in the PC community knew it was only a matter of time before a superior version came out for us. We waiting with baited breath until April of this year, and boy, were we not let down.
One of the first major differences I noticed was the astounding frame rate; up to 60 FPS on a beefed up rig. Those fortunate enough to have upgraded PCs will behold a thing of beauty. I knew that 60 FPS would make somewhat of a difference, but you really have to play the game to notice how silky-smooth the gameplay truly is.
Another big overhaul is the graphics; they really are staggering. A friend of mine walked in on one of my gaming sessions where I had left GTA V onscreen, and mistook it for a scene out of a live action film. The visuals are almost photographic in nature. No wonder Rockstar has stated in interviews that this is the ultimate version of GTA V.
The PC version has also been built specifically for the PC. It wasn’t like Rockstar was like “Hmmm…this was good on consoles, let’s just do a quick port over to PCs.” Nope, they didn’t skimp, and it shows. Enhanced textures, increased draw distance, denser traffic, etc., even the foliage has seen an upgraded for the PC. And you can tell that these improvements weren’t tacked on; they were built from the ground up.
Narratively speaking, the new storyline is incredible, and surpasses any from the previous editions of the GTA series. In a first ever series departure, GTA V lets you play through the lives of three main characters, Franklin Clinton, Michael De Santa, and Trevor Philips, who are more like anti-heroes than anything else. I won’t spoil the story, but the character’s narrative threads intersect as the main missions are accomplished. Let’s just say that Rockstar has truly gone out of their way to hire great writers and create a compelling and engrossing storyline.
Once the lengthy campaign is finished, there is more than enough fun to be had with GTA V’s multiplayer component. Especially the ever-popular Heist mode, where players take on increasingly difficult criminal jobs. Heist is a blast when played correctly with a group of team players, and is a milestone in both multiplayer enjoyment, and interaction.
In all, GTA V is a bastion of unabashed creativity, where gamers can live out their politically incorrect fantasies and seek fame and fortune in the captivating city of Los Santos— and beyond. Rockstar has upped the ante by outdoing their previous installments, and giving those in the gaming community what we truly want, unbridled adventure and fun (along with lots of mayhem). In spite of its upgraded graphics, enhanced controls, and slick new frame rate threshold, GTA V has been optimized to play decently even on mid-range PCs and gaming laptops.
Want to fully indulge yourself in all that GTA V has to offer? Consider investing in a superior gaming machine that can tap into its potential. Here are a couple of sweet setups:
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NOW GET OUT THERE AND GAME!