Update: It turns out that GTA 5 on PS5 and Xbox Series X is a lot more impressive than I thought it would be.
Original: Rockstar has finally outlined what improvements we can expect to see in GTA 5 Enhanced Edition. But I’m not sure they’re substantial enough to tempt players back to Los Santos for what could potentially be the fourth time.
GTA 5 Enhanced Edition has already come under fire for looking “exactly the same”, at least according to some commenters, who slammed the game’s latest trailer on YouTube. And now that Rockstar has outlined what players can expect from GTA 5 Enhanced Edition from a technical perspective, I doubt that narrative will change anytime soon.
Bro STOP @RockstarGames pic.twitter.com/PNGslZed3ZSeptember 9, 2021
In a blog post on Rockstar’s website, the publisher said that GTA 5 Enhanced Edition will feature “graphics modes with up to 4K resolution up to 60 frames per second, texture and draw distance upgrades, HDR options and ray-tracing, as well as offering the technical advancements of the latest console generation with faster loading times, immersive 3D audio, platform-specific features like advanced haptic feedback, and much more.”
That all sounds very much par for the course when it comes to the majority of PS5 and Xbox Series X games, which isn’t a bad thing, of course. But what’s hard to determine from the above is whether Rockstar is comparing other technical improvements – like texture and draw distance upgrades, as well as faster load times – to the PS4 and Xbox One versions of the game, or to the PC version.
If it’s the former, then the Enhanced Edition will merely bring the fourth release of GTA 5 in line with a version that is now almost seven years old. Yes, ray-tracing will be a genuinely new addition (outside of the PC modding community), but I’m fairly confident that “up to 60fps” won’t be possible if you want to take advantage of this graphically-intensive feature. We’ve seen this play out on countless PS5 and Xbox Series X titles already – like Control: Ultimate Edition, Watch Dogs: Legion, Dying Light 2, and many more. These games all drop to 30fps when ray tracing is enabled, which is never a sacrifice I’m willing to make.
It’s also hard to overlook the fact that Rockstar is re-polishing a game that was originally designed for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 back in 2013. There’s only so much they can do with the game’s core graphics without undertaking a drastic overhaul, so it’s easy to feel like 4K certainly reached the point of diminishing returns. It helps that GTA 5 was always a looker, but compared to the games of today? Not so much.
It’s admittedly nice to see that GTA 5 Enhanced Edition will receive DualSense and 3D audio support on PS5, but again, that’s to be expected – particularly as third-party developers have embraced the unique features of Sony’s console.
And what of GTA 5 as a whole? Does it still hold up by today’s standards? Probably not, even though it continues to sell by the bucket load. The game’s story is noticeably outdated, which isn’t surprising considering it was written a decade ago.
The core gameplay loop also falls short, as it essentially revolves around traveling from one point to another, with a bit of action in between. We've seen other open-world games do so much more.
Pump the brakes
So, is GTA 5 Enhanced Edition on PS5 and Xbox Series X worth buying? If somehow you've yet to experience the story of Michael, Trevor, and Franklin, then sure. Loading up a bunch of GTA 5 cheats and blasting around Los Santos is super fun. But for everyone else, you're better off saving your money and waiting patiently for GTA 6 to arrive. However long that may take...
- GTA 6: everything you need to know
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Adam was formerly TRG's Hardware Editor. A law graduate with an exceptional track record in content creation and online engagement, Adam has penned scintillating copy for various technology sites and also established his very own award-nominated video games website. He’s previously worked at Nintendo of Europe as a Content Marketing Editor and once played Halo 5: Guardians for over 51 hours for charity. He is now an editor at The Shortcut.