Grand Theft Auto V is genuinely an exceptional experience, and it deserves most of the hyperbole that it is attracting, but is it really a huge step forward from GTA IV, which was ritually ripped to shreds by fans who expected the world, got a near five star game and were unduly disappointed?
The answer is no.
Both GTA V and GTA IV are excellent games, despite the venomous bile that the latter inspires from certain quarters: both are monumental achievements, and while GTA V is the superior of the two as a complete package, there are components that simply have not been improved from GTA IV.
Perhaps it was unreasonable to expect a dramatic uplift in quality between IV and V, since the games both have to comply with the technological constraints of current gen consoles (which is why graphics get a free pass here) but the issues outlined below are areas that could very reasonably have been fixed or improved upon. And though they might be sorted out by patches, or the PC and next gen releases, it is not unreasonable as a fan to wish they had been improved upon ahead of release.
At the end of the day, even with the Game Of The Year award probably under its belt by the time the new generation of games lands in the coming months, will GTA V be considered as genre-defining as GTA IV? Who knows, but with the following issues to consider and in light of how GTA IV was criticised for some of the very same problems, it’s certainly an intriguing question.
No Day One PC Availability
Perhaps a triviality to console gamers, but Rockstar’s decision to delay the PC release (and occasionally flirt outrageously with the idea of not releasing on PC at all) is a major point of criticism for fans who prefer their game engine to have a little more PC-powered oomph behind it.
Naturally, the reasoning is sound – console gamers are the key market for games like GTA, and releasing to what amounts to a superior platform (in terms of the tech, and the way players can explore the guts of the game – and usually change them) would be effectively like showing console gamers the limits of their technology.
But then, the game WILL come to PC eventually, and it was never particularly likely for Rockstar to roll the game out on PC as well at launch. It’s far smarter on their part to launch after the next gen launches.
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This article was first posted on October 22, 2013