GTA 5 first impressions are good, but room for next gen

By now those of us who picked up GTAV at midnight have been playing for 2-2.5 hours now. While a full review is definitely on its way, there’s plenty...

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By now those of us who picked up GTAV at midnight have been playing for 2-2.5 hours now. While a full review is definitely on its way, there’s plenty more that needs to be explored in this game. For now I can offer some initial impressions of the game.

Shooting mechanic
Every other game since Gears of War has had to live up to that standard of combat system. Everything from auto aim, to the cover system and switching weapons, needs to happen seamlessly and naturally to be effective in the heat of the battle. Thankfully GTAV has just that. It’s a great system that works incredibly well after you spend the 2 seconds to learn it.

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Graphics
It is immediately clear when playing GTAV that this game begs for the next generation of console hardware. While some cut scenes are beautifully rendered, the general gameplay suffers from severe anti-aliasing issues. Sure the developers are extracting as much as they can from the aging Xbox 360, but this world does seem to stretch them. I will be upgrading GTAV to the Xbox One version when it’s released in Novemeber. It’s a real shame the timelines didn’t match up, because we’ve now seen the not so great visual side of GTAV. The good news is that we’ll have a direct comparison.

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Driving
The vehicle handling and damage systems have all been updated. After destroying a car through the train tunnels, I was impressed at just how much you can break in cars. The front suspension completely failed with the camber on the wheel resembling the leaning tower. Scratches, paint marks, loss of doors and general carnage is all possible and the vehicle handling works great. I haven’t however been able to get to first person camera in any of the vehicles I’ve driven. This list is growing quickly, but now include, many cars, trucks, cement mixer, bus and motorbike. I’m looking forward to flying some planes later in GTAV.

On the Xbox 360, the skidmarks from burnouts still fade away shortly after making them. I really hope more realistic, permanent tyre marks is the kind of difference we seen in the Xbox One version.

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Water
There is a standout visual upgrade in GTAV and that is in water. Not only does the transparency and reflections look great as the water meets the sandy beaches, there’s waves in the water. There’s even surfers on the waves. There’s also underwater swimming.. I know this after I crashed my car into the water hazard of a golf course. Yep, been exploring.

Money
The missions I’ve done so far have ranged between 50-65% success rate. If you have time and can be bothered you can attempt them again to try for a higher success rate with things like head shots making the difference. It’s clear already from the options available (clothing, haircuts, weapons) that money is going to be a big issue in the game. Might need to pull off a few bank heists to cash up.

Overall
Basically it’s very, very early days as this game could easily be a 100 hour game. Still it does feel very, very familiar. I’m sure there’s plenty new that I haven’t got to, but straight away there’s a strong feeling of being here before, despite it being based in a different city. I am someone who poured at least 50 hours into GTA4, so expectations were high, just hope I don’t have to wait till November to really be excited.

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