Grand Theft Auto V
When Rockstar announced, as we all knew they would, that Grand Theft Auto V would be getting a re-release for the Xbox One, PS4 and PC, the more cynical among us scoffed at what could've been seen as a shallow cash grab; a recipe meant to make all those billions one more time without lifting too many fingers.
And then they made the announcement that GTA V would be getting a first-person mode and that cynicism melted away like so much dwindling Antarctic perma-frost. Intrepid modders have been creating first-person modes for previous entries in the GTA series for years, but this current-gen re-release is the first time that Rockstar has released a state-sanctioned first-person mode and the only question we've got is: What the hell took so long?
Aside from the significant aesthetic, graphical improvements on curent-gen consoles, GTA V not only looks massively polished, but the game becomes something else entirely thanks to first-person mode. Sure, the crime opus remains the same morally bankrupt, heist-fueled satire that we all know and love, but with the press of a single button the massive sandbox of Los Santos becomes something....else. Car-jacking, one of the most fundamental components of the GTA series, becomes a wildly more visceral experience when your perspective shifts to two hands throttling an unsuspecting motorist by the throat and pulling them from the driver's seat. And that goes for everything you can think of in Los Santos; flying a chopper, racing a dirt bike, falling down the side of a mountain, torturing a suspected terrorist with a car battery and, yes, picking up prostitutes all feel like you're playing a different game entirely. One where the third-person disconnect fades almost completely and it's you paying $100 for the services of a lady of the evening.
Long accused of being the harbinger of moral decay, the Grand Theft Auto series has turned a corner with GTA V's new first-person mode, one which Rockstar may have to adopt universally moving forward. Checking your stocks, reading a newspaper, or getting stoned and watching television were all welcome novelties when experienced via third person, but now these events transform the game into something far more personal and consuming.
If you neglected to pick up GTA V when it dropped last November, this version is obviously a must cop. It looks prettier, runs faster, and while first person hits some hiccups when it comes to aiming and shooting that take some getting accustomed to, this is the version of the game that is meant to be played. And even if you did purchase the game on last-gen consoles, the re-release is without question worth another sixty bucks. The shift to first-person will take a bit to get used to, but once you've calibrated yourself, you're now playing, and I know we've all heard the joke before, Skyrim with guns.
On top of the first person mode and graphical overhaul, the re-release will also see an improved character creator for online mode, new weapons, new vehicles, new music on the radio stations, and the GTA Online player count bumped up to 30. GTA V on current-gen consoles feels like the director's cut of the game, the way Rockstar must have envisioned it however many years ago into the game's development cycle.
The one thing that's still missing? The long-anticipated Heist Mode, but Rockstar has promised it will finally be inbound after the current-gen re-release. In the meantime, I'm going to see what it feels like to steal a jet from the closest air force base and crash it into a shopping mall...in first person.