GTA V – Tales of the disorient

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Just a little over one year from its original release, GTA V Remastered is finally out after months of rumour and teasing.

I’m only one and half hours in so far – all I could squeeze in after work – and it is pretty much how I remembered it; much like The Last of Us Remastered, this games looks how you thought it did back in 2013. Luckily, the graphical prowess of the current-gen consoles helps us forget the limitations of the PS3 and Xbox 360.

The internet has already revealed much more than I can about Rockstar’s additions, as the internet obviously has a lot more free time than I do. Aside from the graphical bump, secrets are popping up everywhere on Incy Wincy’s web; there’s even a peyote-fuelled trip that lets you be a chicken.

The most significant feature is the acclaimed first-person mode. The previously celebrated immersion has been showered with more praise, as GTA has gone FPS and all the little details of Los Santos have taken the fore.

So why am I the only one who thinks that it is god damn disorientating? The whole mode comes with a slew of additional animations and renders, such as the inside of cars, but using it mostly emphasises that it was designed as a third-person game.

Los Santos was built for a third-person experience and no amount of polish can hide this. It becomes most evident when driving in a fast car as anyone but Franklin. Cars and lorries hurtle towards you or cross your path in what can only be described as terrifying; I have found this more tense than anything The Evil Within has thrown my way.

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Lamentably, your trail of destruction does not show up in the wing-mirror.  Maybe I am asking too much of current-gen’s processing power.

This is my third play through of the game, and previously Franklin’s special mode – slo-mo driving – was reserved for only special occasions. In first person it has become a necessity as the perspective prevents easy-viewing of a lot of the action.

To counteract this, the mode comes with a slew of options including a third person cover mode – which works much like Rainbow Six Vegas – field of view options and a ‘head bobbing’ option that doesn’t really do all that much. These are much appreciated but cannot combat feeling inebriated when whizzing around in a fast car.

A simple example of how the mode affects the way you play is on a mission with a companion. With the camera in third person it is easy to see when a companion has got into the car. In first person, less so. I keep forgetting to let my companion in before I zoom off. See the below video for an example.

Admittedly, being my third play through – and generally playing videogames a bit like Troy Barnes – I happen to run forward, jump and punch a lot for no apparent reason. I’ve had to completely change my way of playing so that I realise exactly what is going on. Maybe this is Rockstar’s intention. I’m playing the game how I imagine professionals do: playing the game rather than dicking around. But the so-called ‘dicking around’ is why I love the series. The game becomes less comical and more brutal; a steep price to pay for immersion.

Saying that, I’m still enjoying playing in first-person and I am determined to see the game through to the end in this mode. It genuinely feels fresher than any FPS I have played since Mirror’s Edge. Crashing on a motor bike or falling from a tall building is even more brutal than the first time you played GTA IV. The combat roll now becomes a spinning showcase of land and sky. The different perspective is mightily impressive to say the least.

Rockstar’s effort with the mode is much appreciated and if you are just going for a cruise to see the sights of Los Santos, there probably isn’t a more impressive way to do so. But, truth is, it just isn’t that practical.

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