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Grand Theft Auto 5 launched this week with a new update designed to take advantage of a new range of game console capabilities. That’s enough. We’re talking about titles originally released in 2013 on PS3 and Xbox 360 before being renewed for PC, PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. With the release of this new premium edition, Rockstar’s mega-selling game now arrives on third-generation gaming hardware, which promises three quality modes, including the addition of hardware-accelerated ray tracing.
Grand Theft Auto
We’ll cover platform comparisons in another article (actually we only got the code the day before release and this takes time). So our focus today is to make sure the new version is the old version of the game. What updates are coming from the previous generation console experience? If you’ve previously played the highly expandable version of GTA5 for PC, how does the ultimate experience compare to the new version? For testing, we focused on the PlayStation 5 version of the game, and found that the new hardware provided a much better user experience before even starting to play!
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I’m not just talking about loading, I’m talking about installation as well. After downloading GTA5 on PS4, I realized that another installation period was required, which took more than an hour (!). On the PS5, there’s a lot less friction. Just hit play and you’ll be taken straight to the intro video and from there to the 60fps menu. A full frame rate menu may sound like a no-brainer, but surprisingly it runs at 30 fps on newer consoles and even the PC version. Logging into Rockstar Social Club is one thing (jumping single player), but going from the menu to story mode takes about 20 seconds. The same process is much faster than on PS4 taking 2 minutes and 8 seconds on my system.
Digital Foundry’s video tech review of Grand Theft Auto 5’s new “next-gen” update, tested here on PlayStation 5.
Three display modes are provided: 4K30 fidelity, 1440p60 performance and RT performance (even at 1440p60). These higher frame rate modes are a dramatic improvement over the last gen version of the game which was instead capped at 30 fps. There’s obviously more visual feedback, but the improved frame rate also alleviates GTA5’s long-standing problem: extremely high input lag. Back in the game today, it’s unacceptably high and almost unbearable in 60fps mode.
Not only that, compared to the PC version, Rockstar has improved the 60fps implementation. 60 fps was easily achievable on PC, but there was a problem: character animation.
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Even with the renderer turned on it runs at 60 fps and the camera still stutters. Character movement is much improved on the new consoles, but I still think the camera movement in cutscenes could have been better. Still 60 fps doesn’t seem good. So it’s an improvement, but not perfect. The canvas effect continues at lower frame rates along with other occasional animations. However, this is an improvement for PC and a daily boost over the last generation of consoles.
In addition to this improved fluidity, there are changes in image processing. In the last gen version, motion blur was camera based and object blur was rarely used in first person mode. In the new version, per-object motion blur is applied universally throughout the game. It’s thin at 60fps, more noticeable in 30fps fidelity mode, and looks much better compared to previous-gen games running at the same frame rate.
Another aspect of this new smoothness comes from improved image quality. Back on the PlayStation 4, the game ran at 1080p with a simple post-processing anti-aliasing effect similar to FXAA typical of the release period, but with lots of glimmering, dithering, and other stability issues. PC introduced MSAA and Nvidia’s workaround known as TXAA, keeping FXAA in case you wanted it. At the time, it was possible to improve image quality on consoles on PC, but the cost of rendering was significant. The new version introduces temporary anti-aliasing fixes that are more in line with today’s technology, similar to Red Dead Redemption 2. Glitter, dithering, and noise all seem to favor GTA5 at 1440p over PS5 on PC in some ways. in native 4K.
The ray-traced shadows found in two mods in the new version of GTA5 increase realism and solve many common problems with shadow maps.
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
The new version adds a nice and subtle per-object blur, adding the extra fluidity found in the game’s new expression.
The latest Temporary Anti-Aliasing (TAA) has also been added, maximizing the drawing beyond the original PC version.
Not everything is hardened. The improved blade is limited to 4K30 fidelity mode, and the geometry tracking distance is the same as the PlayStation 4 in all modes.
So, which of the three quality modes should you use? Fidelity mode is compromised by larger input delays. Of the two performance offerings, this is the ray tracing mode I recommend. RT is only implemented here for shadows, especially shadows from the sun (inner shadows are standard shadow maps – high quality but with appropriate filters). RT shadows greatly reduce artifact issues, remove the unnatural cutoff found in shadow cascades where high quality shadows become much lower quality shadows at close range, and most importantly render the properties of real shadows more accurately. A shadow map, the so-called Peter Pan effect, preserves the shadows of small details that often disappear. This term describes the way light spreads through an object because the area of contact cannot be displayed correctly.
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Ray-traced shadows don’t have this problem, and more than that, they accurately represent shadows in shadows. The farther the shadow is from the casting object, the more diffuse the effect. Interestingly, the PC version has Nvidia PCSS shadows (an attempt to simulate this effect), but that’s just an attempt. It was good for its time, but RT does it well. RT shadows look good, but they don’t run at full resolution, which can cause some popping and fizzing. Fidelity mode doesn’t eliminate these issues, but makes the shadows a bit more pixel accurate due to the higher output resolution.
So far, the new Grand Theft Auto 5 has been impressive in many ways, but there are also a few presentational aspects that I’d like improved. It’s probably a legacy from previous versions of the game. It starts with an anisotropic filter very similar to previous generation console versions. Improved only in high resolution. As such, it has a normal level of detail and character spacing. It was controversial that the PS4 had more grass than the Xbox One version, which took the PC version to the next level. In 60fps mode, the new version of GTA5 uses the same standard high grass density used by the PlayStation 4. Very high or noticeably lower than ultra PCs. Bearing in mind that the effect is resource intensive, this is probably not surprising.
The level of detail in the geometry also doesn’t show any real improvement over the PlayStation 4, while the PC from a distance reveals a much richer open world. The only way to upgrade the level of detail is to use fidelity mode which lowers the frame rate to 3-30 fps. This pumps the grass to a higher level, but unfortunately doesn’t affect far LODs for opaque geometry that looks the same. Otherwise, changes from previous versions do not apply. I’m talking about small differences like the improved focus effect or how the depth of field is no longer barely visible at higher settings like ‘en’ on PC, but these are incidental details. .
The PlayStation 5 got some updates for the DualSense controller, but I wouldn’t describe it as game changing. The controls have some tension on the triggers, and haptics are used to cause some jitter in the controller based on road driving conditions. with other people. A small but welcome effect. It’s basically standard stuff, but it’s always nice to see these things added up for those who like it.
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Technically, I think the new Grand Theft Auto 5 is my favorite version of the game. It’s a vast improvement over the PS4/Xbox One era, and better than PC gaming in many ways. This is thanks to aspects such as increased fluidity through motion blur and static kinematics, as well as the inclusion of temporal antialiasing that addresses previous image quality issues. Yes, this new version has some visual features that are missing from the PC version, but they tend not to, except crucially for LOD distances.
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