Are GTA 5 and GTA Online for PS5 and Xbox Series X|S worth it?

And we’re going to talk about another version of Grand Theft Auto V and GTA online. Since the games original debut in 2013, still in PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, more than 160 million copies have been sold. So why the rock star would not take the opportunity to increase this number even more, this time on Playstation 5 and Xbox Series X|S? We know that the interest to buy is what will not fail, but is the upgrade to the next generation worth it?

I spent the last days playing GTA 5 and GTA online to PlayStation 5, via a digital copy kindly provided by Rockstar Games. As someone who’s experienced these games on all three console generations, it’s safe to say that the graphical improvements are great, but many of them will likely go unnoticed by the vast majority of gamers. The best news, actually, isn’t related to the revamped look.

Los Santos 3.0: what changes in GTA 5 and GTA Online in the next generation?

The new versions of the game are coming to improve the quality of life of the players and also to make the experience more beautiful than ever. Remember those PC mods that aim to make Los Santos ultra-realistic? Well, they’re now a reality on PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S, with Rockstar’s stamp of creation and approval.

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Textures, shadows, lighting, sharpness, vegetation density, and several other visual aspects have been improved, allowing the game to be run in three graphics modes, available for selection from the main menu. Here are the options:

Loyalty mode Performance Mode RT performance mode
PlayStation 5 Native 4K, ray tracing, 30 FPS 4K upscaling, 60 FPS 4K upscaling, ray tracing, 60 FPS
Xbox series X Native 4K, ray tracing, 30 FPS 4K upscaling, 60 FPS 4K upscaling, ray tracing, 60 FPS
Xbox series S 4K upscaling, 30 FPS 1080p, 60fps Unavailable

I favored the game in Performance RT mode, precisely to enjoy the gameplay at 60 frames per second with ray tracing. The visual differences between the three options aren’t overdone though, which is great. Of course, playing in native 4K will bring sharper textures and edges and better draw distance (maximum distance of objects rendered in a three-dimensional environment). But I, in particular, preferred not to sacrifice the lightness of 60 FPS – what a pleasure to cross Los Santos at this rate!

In this image, fidelity mode was enabled. With native 4K, background elements are slightly sharper. (Image: Screenshot/Bruna Penilhas/Canaltech)

Many visual effects are more realistic: try blowing up a car to see how the smoke density has changed. Now all objects casting shadows and reflections are more elaborate – again, only the sharpest of eyes will notice these details. One noticeable change is in the colours: thanks to HDR, Los Santos looks much cleaner and more vivid, with the colors exhibiting a more pleasing intensity which also contributes to the realistic look.

Don’t expect any significant changes to character animations or visuals though. After all, we’re talking about a remaster, not a full remake. As beautiful as the game is, the fact that it was developed over 10 years ago is still noticeable.

Not that this is an issue that should have been fixed by Rockstar, as the game has aged very well in that regard, but it’s always good to have those details spelled out so no one is disappointed. Many other changes and rewordings would be needed to GTA 5 get closer to a next-gen game, as dazzling as Forbidden Horizon West or even like the not so old Red Dead Redemption 2. But it wouldn’t make sense to bet on it now. It will be a job for the to come GTA 6.

Ah, the Californian skies are more beautiful than ever in GTA 5! This image was taken with Performance RT mode enabled. (Image: Screenshot/Bruna Penilhas/Canaltech)

Changes beyond graphics

On PlayStation 5, players can take advantage of DualSense’s haptic feedback and adaptive triggers. Control technologies have been used to the right extent: for example, you will feel the subtle intensity and frequency of an engine when the car is stationary (it’s a bit like actually having a small engine Between hands). The triggers adapt to the type of weapon you use, but do not offer fiddly resistance to your fingers.

Oh, and the loading screens! Finally, we no longer need to lose years of life while we begin the campaign of GTA 5 or exchange a session at GTA online. Thanks to the power of the SSD, the loading of screens on the next generation is at least twice as fast. Starting the game for the first time will still take a while (about 25 seconds on PS5), but the multiplayer room change really surprised me — I went from a public session to a private session in less than 10 seconds, practically an unimaginable miracle for anyone who has played the game on PS4 Where Xbox One (I’ve been very stressed about this in the past, I admit).

There is new and exclusive content for the next generation of consoles: Hao’s Special Works. When starting the new version of GTA online, if you have imported your character, you will receive a call from Hao, who invites you to a challenge against the clock. After completing the mission, you will be able to visit the LS Car Event Mod Store to purchase new upgrades and modifications for selected vehicles. It’s nothing major – thank goodness, because I don’t think it would be fair to leave loyal PS4 and Xbox One players excluded from great content.

Finally, let’s open the paragraph of “Look at these changes that should have been there forever, but only happened now!”. Ok, this is useful and welcome news, but simple and should have been implemented before, because it does not need the power of the next generation to exist. In order to improve the quality of life of players and to welcome new criminals on duty, GTA online now has a start menu that makes it easier to access the game’s main activities, including missions, heists and more.

With GTA Online’s new start menu, you can start a heist more easily (Image: Screenshot/Bruna Penilhas/Canaltech)

However, the menu could be better: it is still not possible, for example, to start a session solo or with friends from the home screen. To do this, you must enter free mode and then load the desired session type. At least the charging is faster.

And if you play GTA online For the first time or if you want to create a new character, you can select a career for your Los Santos criminal at the start of the experience (choose between Executive, Arms Dealer, Nightclub Owner or Biker). That way, you won’t get lost in the game’s massive amount of options or content – after all, multiplayer has been getting updates for years.

After all, is it worth it or not?

For anyone who owns a PS5, there is nothing to discuss on the GTA online for the new generation. After all, the updated multiplayer version will be available for free until June, just play it during that time to keep it in your library forever. Do yourself a favor and don’t miss this opportunity – it’s a shame the offer is limited to PlayStation. On the other hand, it is not pleasant to think that the owners of GTA 5 on PS4 and Xbox One have to pay for the new new version, even if it is not the full amount.

It’s always a great pleasure to return to Los Santos! (Image: Screenshot/Bruna Penilhas/Canaltech)

Do I think it’s unfair that Rockstar doesn’t offer the free update? Yes a lot! Should I say it’s not worth the investment? I won’t, just because there’s no way to say no to GTA 5, but that is entirely up to you. I don’t think you’ll be at much of a disadvantage if you choose to stick with the last-gen version, which has already done a great job of remastering the original game, even more so if you’ve completed the campaign mode in the past.

So you can’t say it’s a must buy – unless you’re really looking forward to replaying the story of Franklin, Michael and Trevor, or you’re a very active gamer. GTA online (in the case of Xbox people). If you choose to buy, wonderful! You’ll have one of the best games of recent years at its best (and we hope it will be the last, right?).

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