GTA 5 PS5 Review: "A Fantastic Reason To Tear Up Los Santos Again"

GTA 5 PS5 Review: "A Fantastic Reason To Tear Up Los Santos Again"
Images via Rockstar

Written by 

Stephen Wilds


17th Mar 2022 10:01

There’s an odd dichotomy between the idea of wanting games we adore ported to the most recent consoles so that we may play them easily, and the sickening notion of re-releasing it on every generation coming across as milking a particular title to death. Either way, 2013’s Grand Theft Auto V (GTA 5) has emerged once again, here to remind everyone how great it was, as well as that there is still a party happening online, but with even more polish on the old girl this time.

Some may feel that this is simply trotting out the old heifer onto the PS5 and new Xbox consoles for one more show, a final grab at leftover change hiding in the sofa, but there might still be a bit of milk in there, something worth noting before taking it out to pasture.

Get In Quicker

GTAV Intro
Click to enlarge

For anyone returning to GTA V to check out the expanded and enhanced version, the first obvious improvement comes in the form of load times. Previously, these were almost a joke, pressing the button to log in and then walking away to go make a sandwich or using that time to catch up on Twitter. Jumping in is now much more manageable and takes away from that daunting feeling of trying to decide whether to switch servers more often or to open the game back up and squeeze in a few more missions before bed. The new menus have also made choosing whether or not to play the story mode or go into GTA Online easier, and some of the smaller lists of options have been tweaked as well, without changing anything drastically.

GTA V has always been incredibly painless to dive back into with the gameplay and controls, but running the game on a PS5 this time is slightly different. Driving has always felt responsive, but the thumbsticks and button placement make weaving in and out of traffic handle like second nature, without feeling like I needed to push harder to compensate. Some players take issue with how the gunplay feels, but it's much easier now and has a flow to it, with the haptic feedback from the controller giving much of the combat that extra exciting little bit of kick. Finally, for those who enjoy it, phone calls are set to come through the controller speaker, for a more immersive ambiance, but this can be changed in the settings for anyone who doesn’t enjoy that.

Blinded By The Lights

Driving Into The Sun
Click to enlarge

The majority of people interested in this new iteration will want to know about the visuals and any upgrades or drops in that department. There hasn’t been too much of a facelift, so enhancement might be the best term to use, but overall, things still look quite impressive. It’s the sign of a game that was built well in the first place, where the engine and other elements were handled correctly from the ground up, so it’s easy to keep things pristine all these years later, which isn’t a huge surprise when it comes to Rockstar normally. With that said, expect to be pleased, albeit not blown away.

The game still has a lot of lens flare, bloom effect, and some blur to even things out, help hide the few visible seams of ageing, but that isn’t a surprise. These bits of concealer still blend well and help the backgrounds, reflections, and cars remain sparkling in the San Andreas sunset. Shadows still look bold and smooth up close, but at certain distances, the transitions don’t hold up to close inspections, which can be said for certain mirrored models as well. Small things like some of the random animals on the streets or architectural choices pop out more and show a subtle artist’s touch.

Mode Me Up

Driving Smart
Click to enlarge

These details may seem like polish brushed over previous polish, lacking substance, but there are three modes to choose from that can help make the experience different. We have Fidelity, which boasts the purest visual quality with native 4K resolution on appropriate setups, as well as ray tracing, but at 30 FPS, while Performance offers something smoother and responsive, going for a 60 FPS experience with upscaled 4K. Then there is Performance RT, a middle ground of the previously mentioned modes, with the smoothness of 60 FPS, some ray tracing, and upscaled 4K resolution. This is the preferred way to go, a mode that keeps the frames high, cuts down on a good bit of the pop-ins, and has the in-engine cutscenes and many of the animations looking more fluid than they should.

The online can run a small bit worse when multiple player characters, vehicles, and explosions enter the mix, but all of the action in story mode looks crisp. I did have one cutscene crash on me and a car appeared out of a wall at one point, but after the showing from the GTA Trilogy remasters, GTA V looks airtight. It is mildly disappointing that there wasn’t more added, like some accessibility options, better text size, or a couple of more modern quality of life changes, not to mention that this would have been the perfect time to add more single-player content for returning players who don’t dig the online, but that doesn’t take away from what is still such a bright and engaging action game with an entertaining story.

No Time Like The Present

Meeting New People
Click to enlarge

It’s still shocking when people say they haven’t played the GTA V story, and with the revamped introduction to GTA Online, people who finally want to try that side of the game out will have an easier time. That makes this expanded and enhanced edition perfect for anyone who fits into either of those two groups, but having played it before doesn’t mean at its current discounted price that this release isn’t a fantastic reason for everyone to tear into Los Santos again.



Reviewed on PS5. Code provided by the publisher.