Think you know GTA V ? - Games Weekly

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Monday, November 3, 2014

Think you know GTA V ?

After months desperately try to shed our crippling dependency on a certain trio of crooks, Rockstar only goes and checks us into the Blaine County Relapse Clinic. Bigger, bolder, better: Grand Theft Auto V on new gen.

Glimmering 1080p presentation; hugely increased draw distances; 100 new songs, fresh wildlife; a bumper version of GTA Online this is the sandbox you’ve dreamt, So put any notions of a half-baked port to bed and buckle in for take-two of the greatest sandbox story ever told.

THE WORLD
Nothing screams new-gen quite like procedurally generated lightning storms. Rockstar has a history of cooking up some of the most eclectic and elemental weather patterns in gaming, with GTA V on PS4 set for meteorology reports that would have Michael Fish in knots.

The game’s weather system has been updated and enhanced for new-gen, with some of the moistest sky tears you ever did see. Yes, rain looks utterly gorgeous now, casting startling reflections and making Trevor and co’s clothes sodden. The effect  is subtle, too rewatch the debut PS4 trailer and you’ll see rippling puddles down at the Port Of Los Santos.

Particle effects have also been bolstered to flex PS4’s mighty GPU. Rockstar has released a clutch of fresh screens showing off various buildings going kaboom, including Franklin fleeing from Route 68’s Motor Hotel as detailed smoke plumes and fiery debris snakes up through the reception’s entrance. A reworked foliage system rounds off the environment updates, with lush and verdant grass adding further sheen to a world that feels more tactile than ever. 

THE ANIMALS
Blaine County’s circle of life has never packed more bite than on PS4. Rockstar North has gone to town populating its map with all the furry critters that now boast fully rendered fur, not just painted on textures. Watch the ‘A Picket Fence And A Dog Named Skip’ trailer and you’ll see a monkey (that appears in Michael’s hallucinating ‘Did Somebody Say Yoga?’ mission) rocking some beautiful, flowing new-gen hair. Mmmm, follicles.

Away from alluring simian fur, PS4 GTA V introduces new wildlife, including cats and annoyingly trendy pugs. New underwater threats also lurk in the deep around Del Perro. Thought those sharks were intimidating when you were scouring the ocean floor for submersible parts? Pffh. Jaws and co have nothing on the game’s new killer whales. Of course, orcas are actually quite passive, so Free Willy’s pals may not pose much of a threat when you’re plumbing the depths.

With more deer, cougars and coyotes roaming the likes of Banham Canyon and Tongva Valley, Rockstar has wisely added new photography challenges for your inner Attenborough. Don’t be shocked if Red Dead-style random animal attacks crop up frequently, either. Where’s a friendly rottweiler when you need him?

THE MUSIC
Tired of MC Eiht’s ‘Streiht Up Menace’ murdering your lugs on West Coast Classics? Can’t face another sampling of ‘Music Sounds Better With You’ (enough already, Stardust!) while bombing around Vespucci Beach? Good news: Rockstar is beefing up GTA V’s radio stations with 100 new songs and freshly recorded DJ mixes.

Now, if Count Von Count’s maths classes have done right by us, you should be looking at somewhere in the region of nearly 350 songs, considering the PS3 game launched with 240 tracks. Don’t forget that score, either. Soundtrack supervisor Ivan Pavlovich speculated there’s somewhere in the region of 20 movies’ worth of musical cues across missions.

GTA Online should also boast new ditties. The PS3 version’s survival and deathmatch modes recently had new cues spliced into them via an online update, so expect these to make the cut on PS4, too. Said update also included new scoring sessions by Tangerine Dream, Woody Jackson, Alchemist and Oh No, which should resurface to serenade your new-gen ears. Now, excuse us while we pop on some Alan Parsons Project.

THE VEHICLES
Hooray! Another chance to careen around Sandy Shores with the Space Docker. Yes, Omega the hippie’s unlockable moon buggy returns if you seek out all of GTA V’s hidden spaceship parts, but there’s a lot more going on with the new-gen port’s vehicles than just George Jetson’s morning ride.

Quick trailer glimpses show off properly rendered dashboards for cars, throwing firewood on the flames of the first-person rumours. PS4 speedometers are great and all, yet it’s the sheer amount of traffic that really impacts the game. From the packed streets of Little Seoul to the bustling backwater passes of Grapeseed in the shadow of Mount Chiliad, Blaine County is now teeming with vehicles to carjack… Or get run over by.

Rockstar is also adding new classic vehicles from the garages and hangars of GTA’s past. Look out for GTA IV’s Duke muscle cars, GTA III’s illusive Dodo (why won’t you fly?!) and an updated blimp that promises to be, “faster,” and, “more manoeuvrable”. Personally, we’re more pumped for tearing up South Los Santos in a Grotti sports car. God bless your naming conventions, GTA.

THE TECH
Farewell, 720p. You served your purpose adequately enough. Still, our eyes have been gagging for 1080p’s pin-sharp pleasures and the Los Santos sandbox is only too happy to oblige on PS4, running at a native 1920 x 1080 pixels. For a game erected on hundreds of tiny incidental details, the resolution bump is a huge game changer for GTA V.

Signs and billboards now pop with a clarity that makes the likes of the building-sized ‘San Androgyny’ hipster clothing poster impossible to ignore. Textures assets have also been reworked across the whole game, adding in a host of new details to an almost ridiculously fastidious degree. Squint extra hard and you can make out individual screws on certain vehicles’ wheels, such as the debut trailer’s dump truck. 

For those partial to advanced lighting renderers (steady), ambient occlusion appears to have made the new-gen cut enriching the game’s colour palette with an added depth. Draw distances have also been massively increased for PS4. Not only can you now spot Los Santos’ skyscrapers from miles away, but vehicle pop-in is drastically reduced. Buh bye, magically disappearing Sentinel XS.

THE MULTIPLAYER
Like a fat child longing for cake, Rockstar’s hugely ambitious multiplayer mode has an appetite for growth that’s insatiable. A year in, and GTA Online just keeps getting bigger and better. Constant content updates have transformed the mode from‘ambitious if slightly undercooked 16-player sandbox’ into a PSN playground that’s truly thriving. And it’s only going to get more epic on PS4.

Rockstar is upping the player count to 30 on new-gen to ensure your online assaults thrive with activity… And loads of impromptu drive-bys. But what if you’ve already sunk hundreds of hours into your PS3 character? Are you going to have to bin off all that cash, property and obnoxiously rimmed low-riders? Worry not: you can import your last gen character and all those hard-earned stats and possessions onto PS4.

Every update and DLC pack Rockstar has pumped into its online world will also be included on the day of release. Master loop-the-loops with the Flight School update. Suck in the seaside ambience of the Beach Bum pack’s 30 additional jobs. Create your very own missions, courtesy of the Content Creator. GTA Online has simply never been deeper or more generously proportioned than it is on new-gen.

The most recent Last Team Standing update will also be included on PS4. Not only does the pack cater for large scale team deathmatch slaughter, but it also stirs new weapons and cars into GTA Online’s murderous broth. Visit Ammu-Nation and you’ll be treated to the sledgehammering delights of the Heavy Shotgun. Prefer your homicide from half a mile away? Try the Marksman Rifle on for size. The pack also lets you rule the road with the new Shitzu (tee-hee) Hakuchou sport bike, the LCC Innovation chopper and the ‘in no way is this a rip off of a Lamborghini’ Lampadati Furore GT.

Despite the commitment Rockstar clearly has for GTA Online, ''There is some ambiguity'', fish head-eating evil twin of Los Santos’ single-player offering. After you spend 90+ hours 100%-ing one of the greatest games ever made, it can be hard to muster the energy to dive into a world where your created character looks they've had botched surgery.

Now, though, we're massively excited to give the mode the love and time investment it clearly deserves. PS4, with its easy-to-use party chats and couldn't-be-simpler game invites, provides a far more welcoming home for GTA Online than PS3 could ever offer. In the meantime, cross your clown masks those long-promised heists finally turn up.

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