The long wait is over, and it’s here, so how is it? Grand Theft Auto V runs on the PC like a dream come true. I played it once on the PlayStation 3, I played it again on the PlayStation 4, and now I’m playing it on my Windows PC. Some may say “hey, wait a minute, this is just the same old game being re-released?” and that’s not entirely true – however, I say to that it’s a testament to how good this game really is. When you play it over and over again you notice more and more care and love that was put into every piece of the title by Rockstar Games. It still stands high and tall above the quality of other games on the market even to this day, it has not been out-done in these couple of years in which it has seen release on the PS3 / 360, PS4 / XO, and now Windows PC platforms.
So this time we’re offered a chance to take our time and do things right. I’m taking my wife Amanda out to dinner, taking her to the movies, to golf, to play tennis. You know, enjoy the little things in life, because life is so short after all. Originally we ran through the game at break-neck speeds and probably missed out on some of the side-stuff. Enjoying the adrenaline ride that is Grand Theft Auto V the first time around was great fun, and when it hit next-gen I spent a lot of time revisiting the GTA Online features. But now that it’s on PC it’s time for me to dive through every nook and cranny of the Story Mode, gather friends around in TeamSpeak servers to group up more efficiently and enjoy the smoother online experience offered on the PC, while we all wait patiently for the inevitable mods that will improve the game even further.
Director Mode for the return of the Rockstar Video Editor is already a smashing success with clips like the one below this paragraph showing a badazz version of Jesus just making sure everyone “gets rekt”. It had me dying laughing. I guess this time he’s not turning the other cheek. Players unlock various characters as they progress in the story mode which can then be used as actors in the Rockstar Video Editor’s new Director Mode exclusive to GTA V on the PC. This is just icing on the cake on top of an already excellent game and is producing some really fun moments, but may also end up making it easier for machinima-producers to make their in-game fan films.
One of the other unique features that the PC version of the game has is the ability to put the MP3s in your hard drive into play as your very own Radio Station within the game called Self Radio and it even features some hilarious DJ hosting and commercial breaks tied seamlessly with your very own music. I went ahead and loaded up a bunch of video game soundtracks as well as the video game inspired musings of Mega Ran AKA Random. This process is actually very painless and simple. Just drag and drop shortcuts into the game’s designated Self Radio folder and you won’t even have to copy the files. There are plenty of helpful tutorials for this on Reddit.
In addition to the new custom radio feature, the performance of this game is able to be very scalable and fits like a glove no matter what machine you have (assuming you meet the recommended specs). The options menu is more in-depth than any PC game I’ve seen in recent years, allowing every single property of what’s going on in the game to be tweaked to your heart’s content. There’s even a guideline meter at the top measuring the capability of your graphics card and how far you are pushing it with those settings, with the option to ignore the guideline and go forward if you think you have enough RAM and Processor Power to negate the issue.
This game is exactly what PC players were hoping for. Sure, it has been delayed a lot of times. But the quality is undeniable. Some of the most advanced machines are showing us what is possible in terms of graphics and it’s now being argued that this is one of the best looking PC games ever made. Surprisingly enough, the game runs decent on mid-range machines as well and can be played at 60 frames per second with considerably less power required than expected. If you dream of 4K graphics and try your best to buy the parts to pull it off, this will probably be one of the games best optimized to do it while still making you feel like the cost to benefit ratio on parts was worth it.
Every detail in the game has been crafted so well that when Rockstar brought it to the Windows PC it has a clear difference in quality from the console versions. It’s way better. Playing with 60 frames per second or more allows for a more immersive experience, it feels more real, it feels like you’re more in control of what’s going on rather than just sitting back and watching something happen. It’s quick, it’s snappy, it’s in the moment. The gun-play is excellent, the movement is solid, an evolution beyond what we experienced on the consoles by far. The first person mode is offered as a free bonus, and similar to a mod it isn’t perfect, but that doesn’t detract from the experience and is mainly used for fun times in online mode where exact graphical fidelity is less important because the action at hand is very distracting making it harder to notice blemishes.
One of the incredible differences the PC game shows from the console versions is its draw distance. Hit detection was already perfect in the game, thank god, so it wasn’t too jarring to play on the consoles – but on the Windows PC when you’ve tweaked your settings to best suit your machine there are no pop-in textures at all and you can see for miles. Excellent controller support is provided with the entire game playable from an Xbox ONE controller, or keyboard and mouse if you so choose. Grand Theft Auto V requires an online connection to start up, even if you’re just playing the Story Mode. On a PC this should not be a big problem, and in fact I’ve noticed only one person mention it so far. It seems this isn’t bothering anybody but is important to know before purchasing it. I assume you’d be purchasing it on Steam anyways though and have an online connection since the physical version requires 7 DVD discs to be installed and I don’t even use optical drives in my computers anymore!
If you’re running on an i7 Processor of decent spec and have your Windows installation running on an SSD drive then you probably won’t experience much load times at all. I personally have the game installed on an aging 2 Terabyte mechanical drive while my Windows is on an SSD and using my old machine which used a dated AMD Processor or my new machine using the i7 4770K there was very little loading time to be heard of. Both times I only used 8GB of RAM. There’s not many bugs to be found in this game either, other than the somewhat infamous Windows User Account Name Bug if you have /;’:!@#$%^& or other symbols as your name in Windows, but why would you do that anyways? If that is your name in Windows then let’s be honest, this isn’t the first game to have issues with it and you should have changed your name to something reasonable by now. There was also a Memory Leak issue causing some gamers to have the title crash after 2 – 4 hours of playing since the RAM usage steadily climbed, failing to release no longer needed assets from RAM. As of today that has been fixed in a 177MB patch which installs through Steam automatically in less than 5 minutes. Last but not least if you’d like to find out about the actual Story behind the game and the many awesome levels of depth that are offered by its gameplay please consult our GTA V Xbox 360 Review and our GTA V PlayStation 4 Review which detail the title and its evolution on consoles as well as provides far more details about the actual game’s lore itself.
All in all, there were a million ways this could go wrong. Instead Rockstar Games has managed to maintain the integrity of their masterpiece and extend the legend of their development skill with the PC release of Grand Theft Auto V for Windows. A wide variety of machines run this game excellently, the upgrades in visual effects such as draw distance and texture detail are obvious, exclusive gameplay features such as custom radio stations, the Rockstar Video Editor w/ new Director Mode, and a smoother online experience are just some of the reasons. The original game itself is still an amazing journey of three men attempting to redeem themselves (or in Trevor’s case redeem the loss of a close friend) throughout a treacherous world that doesn’t care about them and is full of backstabbing / danger. If you’ve never played this game, then you should definitely do it on whatever platform you can. But if you have a reasonable Gaming PC then that’s the ultimate place to do it and will provide the definitive experience. GTA V consists of hundreds of hours of innovative, quality gameplay that won’t let you down and pack a punch even to this day.
*Click the gear to select 1080P 60 frames per second option and then hit the fullscreen button
Overall Score: 10 / 10
RGN Rating: Diamond Game
Developers: (Main Dev) RockStar North
(additonal work) RockStar NYC, RockStar San Diego, Rockstar Leeds, RockStar Toronto, RockStar New England, RockStar London, and RockStar Lincoln
Publisher: RockStar Games
Review Copy Info: A digital copy of this game was provided to RealGamerNewz by the publisher for the purpose of this Review.