Last night was launch night for Grand Theft Auto 5 on PC, and in a turn of events no one could have possibly foreseen, it was a bit of a bear. We did a live stream last night, fighting through multiple patching issues and launcher resets, after over 70 minutes we finally got to actually play the game. Since then we’ve put in a few hours of play, so let’s have an early First Opinion look at Grand Theft Auto 5 PC.
The first thing I’ll say for GTA 5 is that it runs really, really well. Compared to the laggy, buggy mess that GTA4 was on PC, I was worried about framerate drops and general instability, but I have had not yet had any such issues, and the game runs smoothly between 45-60 FPS on my modest rig. Once we got into the game (after having to download that accursed day one patch three separate times) we have not experienced any connection or server problems whatsoever.
Last night’s live stream featured Will of Chaos is Gaming and I running amok in Los Santos as Franklin. Things we did include shooting practice at an Ammunation gun range, cruising around looking for fast cars to steal, wrecking said fast cars in record time, attempting stunt jumps in a semi-truck, getting in shootouts with the police and learning that Will’s natural predator is the humble truck – he got ran over by so many trucks that I lost count. After about an hour and a half of general mayhem we wrapped the stream up and called it a night. The game in general controlled pretty well, but the keyboard is not an ideal solution for accurate driving, especially at speed. Aiming, however, is spot-on with a mouse.
This morning I got up and hopped in to GTA Online. I played only sporadically on the PlayStation 3 and Xbox One, so this was my first serious foray into the mode. Rather than directly import one of my old characters (neither of whom were over level 5) I started over to get a fresh perspective.
The first thing I did was start in an invite only session to get my legs under me. With the free money that came with preordering the game I bought up a nice apartment and started stockpiling – of all things – muscle cars. Once I got my avatar kitted up (and gave him a haircut) I switched over to a public session, starting in my new apartment. I popped over to passive mode so I could safely explore and see what other players were up to before grabbing a car and hitting the road. This gave rise to my new favorite pastime: having people try so hard to kill me while in passive mode while I stare impotently at them like, “why? Why would you attack me?” It was pretty funny to watch people fruitlessly waste whole clips of ammo on me or try over and over again to ram into my ghost car. One player just kept shooting at me, despite the lack of results, so I drove my car inside of his – passive players pass clean through other players, no-clip style – and sat there until he finally drove away.
Online seems to be steady as a rock as well. I have not experienced any lag or connection issues thus far so the mode that so many people loved on consoles has survived the transition smoothly. The big new feature on PC is the Rockstar Editor video suite, and while it works well and is relatively easy to understand, it’s sad – albeit understandable – that footage captured in first person mode, either through continuous recording or action replay capturing, disables camera manipulation in the editor. Gameplay recorded in third person can have its camera positon changed in postproduction, but first person footage is locked to that perspective. Seeing as how first person mode is one of the bigger draws, losing that functionality is a bit of a letdown. I have not yet tried Director Mode, a mode where you can apparently set up just about any scenario for filming, so no opinions on that as of yet.
Keep it here on AAGH for more on Grand Theft Auto 5 in the coming days, including a highlight video from our launch night live stream and more from GTA Online.