Rockstar continues to impress with Grand Theft Auto re-release


via Rockstar Studios

Promotional still from GTA V’s re-release.

By Omar Guetfa, Akins High School

With the recent slew of new releases for next-gen gaming consoles, gamers are frantically searching for the best bang for their buck. At $60 or more a game, purchases can quickly add up to a hefty sum. Thankfully, Rockstar Studios has blessed us with a release that is worth the full price and more.

On November 18th, Grand Theft Auto V was re-released on next-gen consoles to much skepticism. One question on players’ minds: was a previously-released game worth the new, higher sticker price?

Let’s break it down.

Rockstar could have taken the easy way out, simply improving the graphics and adding a few things here and there. Instead, they took the game to new heights by adding something the series had never seen before: a first-person experience. Robbing a bank or sticking up a liquor store is suddenly much more immersive, to the point where a user may even carry the resulting guilt with them.

The driving is more refined than ever. Transitions between the three main characters are smoother and faster, making a seamless switch between first- and third-person modes. However, the problem with the new first-person mode is that a player can sometimes feel detached from the other roles. Also, with three characters, it’s evident that in-depth character development was not a main concern for game creators.

The story in GTA V is identical to last year’s original release, so expect nothing new here. For newcomers to the latest installment, the three characters–Michael, Trevor and Franklin–all come together at one point and do various jobs for high-level mobsters and government agents. Each of these lunatics have different, rather selfish motives, but because each character’s downfall is clear, they’re still easy to empathize with.

The satirical dialogue is rather hilarious and well thought out. GTA V’s genius script provides a sarcastic approach towards American society today, and takes little jabs at every stereotypical Hollywood character.

With the release of next-gen consoles last year, gamers expected quite a lot in terms of graphics. The GTA re-release’s visual overhaul is impressive. In order to create a world that immerses the player into the fictional city of Los Santos, Rockstar needed to pay attention to detail, and that’s exactly what they did. Even minor adjustments such as wallpapers for phones, or more detailed bark on a tree, are noticeable.

Character models remain the same, except for a few new facial expressions and features. Not only did Rockstar upgrade the visuals along with the console, but the developers also added a depth of field feature. Backgrounds are blurred in the distance, while the foreground “pops” more when taking pictures and during cutscenes.

Many games suffer from lack of content–the campaign is completed in a matter of days or weeks, and the game is shelved forever. GTA V takes that stereotype and buries it six feet under. The game’s story mode will keep players entertained and occupied for hours upon hours. And after completing the campaign, the single player mode is riddled with extra side missions and an entire city to explore. Those bored of playing alone can always hit the “Options” button to go online and wreak havoc upon Los Santos with some good friends.

Overall, GTA V on next-gen consoles is absolutely mind-blowing. From the massive graphics overhaul to the immersive first-person mode, the game is a great installment in the series and worth every penny.