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Grand Theft Auto V – 10 Years On

Can you believe that ten years have passed since the release of Grand Theft Auto V, and yet it still manages to remain one of the most popular and talked-about video games of all time. With its immersive storyline, captivating gameplay, and stunning visuals, it’s no surprise that GTA V has become a household name among gamers and a record-breaking game.

According to Statista, In February 2023, GTA V sold over 175 million copies worldwide, making it the second-best-selling video game of all time, only behind Minecraft. Despite being released back in 2013, the game continues to receive regular updates and additions. But with GTA 6 now 18 months, I wanted to look at how the latest iteration of the game and how has changed for the latest gen consoles.


The Los Santos Drug Wars

One of the standout features of the new Los Santos Drug Wars update is the addition of the Freakshop, a new social space that allows you to play the new First Dose Story Missions, store and upgrade your new Acid Lab Business, buy and update weapons, as well as various other activities. This update also includes six additional 1-4 player story missions and five new Fooligan tasks that you can unlock through “Dax” after finishing First Dose – Welcome to the Troupe.

The Acid Lab is a new business that players can manage once they complete the First Dose and steal the necessary lab equipment. They can install it in the rear of the new MTL Brickade 6×6 vehicle and unlock access to the Acid Lab business. Players can drive their Acid Lab while in Freemode and can launch source missions to gain supplies that will be turned into Acid products for players to sell. Acid Labs can also be given custom names, which adds a personalized touch to the gameplay.

The Los Santos Drug Wars update also brings eight new vehicles to the game, including the Mobile Acid Lab, Overflod Entity MT, muscle cars such as the Declasse Tulip M-100 and the Declasse Tahoma, Vans such as the Zirconium Journey II and BF Surfer Custom as well as the very cool Manchez Scout C Motorcycle. The Overflod Entity also comes with an HSW Upgrade that is only available on consoles.

In addition to the new vehicles (now at a massive 708 different vehicle types), the update includes hundreds of new pieces of male and female clothing and accessories, a new female hairstyle, and 39 unisex tattoos. The update also features several experience improvements, including visual, economy, and creator updates.

As a long-time fan of the Grand Theft Auto series, I have to say that the Los Santos Drug Wars update has been one of my favorites. The addition of the Acid Lab business adds a whole new level of depth to the game, and the new vehicles and customization options allow for even more creative gameplay. I also appreciate the regular updates and attention to detail that Rockstar Games continues to provide, even ten years after the initial release of the game.

Last year, Rockstar Games continued to release regular updates for Grand Theft Auto V, including the introduction of the Stunt Race Creator and the Casino Heist update. The Stunt Race Creator allows players to create and share custom stunt races, adding even more creativity and customization to the game. The Casino Heist update adds a new heist for players to complete, as well as several new vehicles, weapons, and customization options.


Grand Theft Auto V – Premium Edition | The Next Gen Facelift

Grand Theft Auto V – Premium Edition came with the promise of hardware-accelerated ray tracing features that were too good to ignore, and I couldn’t wait to experience the game’s third generation of gaming hardware. With the new features added, I was curious about what the new version offers over existing versions of the game.

Improved User Experience

From the initial load the game jumps straight into the introductory videos and from there into the 60fps menus. The full frame-rate menus might not sound like a big deal, but they’re running at 30fps on last-gen consoles and even the PC version. Moving from the menu to the story mode takes around 20 seconds – far faster than previously when the same process takes two minutes and eight seconds.

Rendering Modes

Three rendering modes are on offer: fidelity at 4K30, performance at 1440p60, and performance RT, also at 1440p60. These high frame-rate modes are a huge improvement over the previous gen versions that were capped at 30fps instead. Whilst the older GTA V did suffer from a high input lag, the updated frame rate helps to fix this legacy issue.

Improved Image Processing

In the last generation of the game, motion blur was limited to camera-based effects with occasional per-object blur used in first-person mode. However, the newer version of the game now features per-object motion blur that is applied throughout the game. The effect is subtle at 60fps, but definitely more noticeable when playing in the 30fps fidelity mode, which massively improves the overall look of the game when compared to the last-gen version running at the same frame rate.

Along with improved motion blur, the new version of the game also features enhancements in image quality. When the game was released, it ran at about 1080p and used a basic FXAA-like post-process anti-aliasing effect that was common at the time. However, this then resulted in shimmering, dithering, and other stability issues. The updated versions of the game now include a temporal anti-aliasing solution that is more in line with today’s technology stack, similar to what was used in Red Dead 2. This has significantly reduced shimmering, dithering, and noise to the point where, in some ways, GTA5 at 1440p on consoles looks better than on a PC with native 4K resolution.

Ray Tracing

Of the two performance offerings, the ray tracing mode is an absolute must. Ray tracing is now used on all the shadows, and more specifically shadows cast by the sun. You may only notice it when it’s pointed out but the Ray tracing shadows significantly reduce graphical issues and mimics the properties of shadows in real life are more accurately. The ray-traced shadows also have this lovely softening so when the shadow the further an object, the more diffuse the effect.

Grand Theft Auto V is a high point in gaming history and its longevity is testament to its high quality. Its open-world design, engaging story, and plethora of activities have kept players (including me) coming back for more over the past ten years. The addition of Grand Theft Auto Online, with its constant updates and expansions, has only further cemented the game’s status as a cultural phenomenon.

Grand Theft Auto V – Premium Edition offers improved graphics, image processing, and user experience compared to the last-gen console version. The game’s higher frame-rate modes, image quality improvements, and ray tracing features make the game a whole new experience.

Looking back on the past ten years of Grand Theft Auto V, it’s clear that the game has had a significant impact on the video game industry and popular culture as a whole. Its legacy is sure to endure for many years to come, and even when GTA 6 is released, it will have big shoes to fill as it’s predecessor made history and earned a place in the record books.

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