PC gamers have had to wait over 18 months for the release of GTA 5, but it is now finally available on desktop computers. The delay in the incredibly successful Rockstar game will be considered completely unacceptable by some, but it definitely won’t stop PC users from rushing out to purchase a copy immediately.
There is always a quandary for game produces with regard to releasing software. On the one hand, they do not want to be judged as having rushed out a game before it is fully completed. On the other hand, the delay of GTA 5 will hardly have had a positive impact on the image of Rockstar with PC gamers. Even though Rockstar is a hugely successful company, it still needs to maintain a strong brand identity with every aspect of the modern video game marketplace.
Nonetheless, even though many PC users will undoubtably have recriminations about the amount of time it has taken for GTA 5 to be ported to PCs, it is still exciting for desktop gamers to have the opportunity to play this stellar title. Although GTA 5 isn’t a perfect game, it was almost without exception recognized by the critical community as being an excellent technical achievement. And certainly on both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One consoles, it retains a huge popularity well over a year after it was initially released.
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The GTA 5 cash cow
In fact, Rockstar has managed to ensure that the GTA franchise is now one that can attract custom and revenue for the corporation through online play. Previous editions of the GTA series have been a little light in online content, and Rockstar evidently gave this some serious consideration before producing the latest title. With a fully cohesive online world having been created, Rockstar has been able to attract many GTA gamers back to the title again and again, and this has certainly added significantly to the longevity of the title.
So now that the PC version of GTA 5 is in the can, how does it compare to the existing console versions? There were a lot of rumors ahead of its release that the PC version was going to be a significant improvement on its console cousins. And one should frankly expect this considering that the highest grade PCs are considerably more powerful than either the Sony or Microsoft machines.
It can be said firstly that the PC version of GTA 5 is hardly a lightweight piece of software. Installing GTA 5 for the PC will require 65 GB of free memory. It is also noteworthy that the PC version of GTA 5 is 64-bit only, while there are some other interesting technical aspects to the way that Rockstar has produced the game. GTA 5 takes advantage of DirectX 11, and skilfully exploits new technology from both NVIDIA and AMD to the limit to produce an extremely slick experience.
What is notable as soon as the game boots up is that switching between the three essential protagonists of the series is considerably quicker than on its console brethren. There was a significant pause on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One-based GTA 5 when selecting one of the trio of characters through which the story of the game is told, but this is far speedier on the PC version.
4K resolution and 60 FPS
Another major aspect of the PC conversion of GTA 5 that will be particularly attractive to consumers is the fact that it has been optimized to provide 4K Ultra HD resolution support. Although this remains a niche technology, it is now possible to support this resolution via high-end video setups. The fact that Apple has recently released an iMac with a 5K resolution indicates that this is becoming a feasible technology for desktop computers. Although there is no version of GTA 5 for the Mac, and possibly no version ever planned considering that GTA 4 was not released on the Apple desktop computer, we do know that the iMac could handle this game beautifully should it be required to do so.
Aside from the resolution of the graphics, it is also notable that GTA 5 on the PC can run at 60 frames per second. This is obviously dependent on the power of the PC in question, but it should be achievable for the majority of modern PCs at certain graphics settings. One might need a monster gaming rig in order to run GTA 5 at 60 fps and 4K resolution, but more meagre graphical resolutions can certainly render 60 frames per second speed achievable.
Although games companies often claim that there is no significant difference between 30 frames per second and 60 frames per second, this is pretty laughable for anyone who has ever experienced a game at both frame rates. The recent release of The Last of Us on PlayStation 4 enabled Naughty Dog to produce a 60 frames per second version of their masterpiece. The quality of animation involved improved significantly, and many people who were veterans of the first game even reported that gun fights were significantly superior in the sequel.
So we can safely say that the PC version of GTA 5 is the ultimate edition of this incredible and hugely popular game. What can be said in mitigation is that the PC version is also plagued by issues which often cause problems for PC gamers.
The early days of the release of GTA 5 have been overshadowed to a certain extent by bugs, crashes and compatibility issues. Rockstar has already released a 270 MB patch for GTA 5 which is intended to iron out all of the most common problems. But anyone who has played a lot of PC games will know that it is impossible to completely overcome all compatibility issues with PC gaming, and that this is something that simply goes with the territory.
In the meantime, it has been reported that GTA 5 has already been cracked, and this will mean that the modding community will be beavering away at producing new versions of the game in the near future. PC gamers frequently present the modding community as a major advantage over console gaming, and it will be fascinating to see how these creative individuals recast the absorbing world of San Andreas.