A couple of evenings ago I finished all the story missions in Grand Theft Auto V. I’d waiting until now to play it, having played all the others on PC. I’m glad I did, because the PC port is fantastic. After the debacle that was the GTA IV PC version, I was a bit worried, but after reading lots of positive comments on Steam and a few reports from around the Internets, I bought it on release day, and have been loving it ever since.
First of all, the performance and controls on PC are superb. Although there’s no on-screen indicator of frames per second while you’re playing the game, the benchmark I ran showed I was always close to the 30 frames per second range:
Frames Per Second (Higher is better) Min, Max, Avg
Pass 0, 7.566393, 63.779850, 26.368166
Pass 1, 7.455696, 60.052273, 26.912331
Pass 2, 21.403170, 59.393494, 30.255259
Pass 3, 20.599567, 59.684101, 30.431293
Pass 4, 16.085732, 87.445267, 30.047213
The benchmark is a bit demanding, with some complex lighting transitions during some portions, multiple light sources, and very quick lighting transitions (light going quickly from day to night and back to day again) that can cause some framerate dips. That almost never happens while you’re actually playing the game. I felt like the framerate was always high and felt very smooth during gameplay. The relatively high framerate, even at pretty high levels of detail, contributed to the believability of the world Rockstar had created.
And what a world it is. I didn’t play the game on PS3 or Xbox 360, but if the game on those platforms is as busy and vibrant as the game on PC, I’ll be impressed. There always seemed to be dozens of cars, pedestrians, buildings, and planes on screen at any given time, no matter the time of day or night. The world of Los Santos is filled with things going on, whether you are interacting with them or not, and the sound and visuals power such a believability that this is a real place and you’re just visiting.
Of course the controls are fantastic, and the default controls work well, but the options and customizability is really what makes a PC game special. All those things are present here. Gamepad and keyboard/mouse controls are present, with fully modifiable settings for each. Lots of options exist to configure the graphics and display attributes. It even allowed me to pick which of my two monitors to display the game on, which was very handy.
Lots has been written about why people should play this game, and I don’t feel like I need to add to it. But this version of the game, on PC, feels like the definitive version. I’m glad I waited for the PC version to experience this blockbuster title.