When Grand Theft Auto 5 was first released in 2013, it quickly became one of the highest-rated video games ever made and an unprecedented sales success. A year later, Rockstar Games released an enhanced version of Grand Theft Auto 5 for the then-new PS4 and Xbox One consoles, making some meaningful improvements in the process. Fast-forward to 2022 and Rockstar Games is releasing Grand Theft Auto 5 yet again, this time for PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X.
The PS5 and Xbox Series X versions of Grand Theft Auto 5 don't offer as big of a leap as the game enjoyed when it went from PS3 and Xbox 360 to PS4 and Xbox One, but there are still some notable upgrades. Grand Theft Auto 5 next-gen graphics are definitely improved, though of course not in a way that fully takes advantage of the added horsepower. It also runs much smoother, with players able to choose between Performance, Performance RT, and Fidelity modes.
Grand Theft Auto 5's graphics options let fans decide if they prefer higher resolution but a lower frame rate, or a higher frame rate at the cost of resolution. Performance mode seems like the best bet most of the time, as it allows players to enjoy Grand Theft Auto 5 in 60 frames per second and the drop in graphical quality is hardly noticeable, whereas the drop in frame rate in the Fidelity mode is difficult to deal with after playing in Performance mode.
Grand Theft Auto 5 on PS5 and Xbox Series X is a visual improvement across the board, regardless of what display option players go with. It performs better, it looks better, and the load times have also been vastly improved, which is easily one of the best changes when going from the PS4 and Xbox One version to GTA 5 on PS5 and Xbox Series X.
Grand Theft Auto 5 load times have been notoriously long for nearly a decade now, but they're sped up considerably on PS5 and Xbox Series X. Just like playing Grand Theft Auto 5 in 60 frames per second will make it impossible for players to go back to older versions, the faster load times also represent a meaningful upgrade that will make it difficult for fans to play the game any other way.
Besides these changes and smaller upgrades, Grand Theft Auto 5 on PS5 and Xbox Series X is otherwise the same game that fans have been playing for almost 10 years now. The story mode is phenomenal, with varied missions objectives, a gripping narrative, top-tier writing, and no shortage of things to do while exploring the vast open world of Los Santos. If someone has somehow avoided playing GTA 5 until now, the story mode alone makes it worth the price of admission, but those that have already had their fill may not be totally satisfied by this new version of the game.
When GTA 5 jumped to PS4 and Xbox One, it came with some significant new gameplay additions. Players were given the option to play the entire game in first-person mode, and they were also able to transform into animals by eating the new peyote plants that were added to the world map. The PS5 and Xbox Series X versions lack these new meaningful gameplay experiences. The PS5 version of Grand Theft Auto 5 uses the unique DualSense controller features, but otherwise players are basically signing up for the same exact experience that they've been playing for years, only with faster load times and better graphics.
Grand Theft Auto 5 on PS5 and Xbox Series X doesn't represent all that significant of a leap forward. The faster load times are nice, but anyone that's already played the story mode plenty will find little reason to come back for all that long. The lack of new additions makes Rockstar's decision to ask fans to pay for the next-gen version of the game a bit hard to swallow, especially since there are games that have provided more worthwhile next-gen upgrades completely free of charge. It does make it easier to understand why the company decided to stop marketing the game as "Expanded and Enhanced," however.
On the bright side, Grand Theft Auto 5 on PS5 and Xbox Series X is available at a steep discount right now, and PS5 gamers even have a few months to claim the new version of GTA Online for free. As it so happens, Grand Theft Auto Online really seems to be the centerpiece of this latest re-release. For those that have yet to jump into the chaotic world of Grand Theft Auto Online, it has a new Career Builder mode that teaches new players how to play and gives them a nice $4 million to start their online adventures with.
Those that aren't interested in starting GTA Online from scratch have the option of transferring their character from older versions of the game to the new version, which is a painless process. Even if one decides to transfer their existing GTA Online character to the new version, though, they can still make a new character and start at the beginning if they'd like.
Grand Theft Auto Online actually has some exclusive content only available in the new version of the game in the form of Hao's Special Works. This is a new shop that gives players more freedom when it comes to customization and upgrading special vehicles. The other notable GTA Online change is the new menu, which allows players to more easily start specific activities - a greatly appreciated quality-of-life improvement that will help players start heists and get into the action much faster than before.
Otherwise, Grand Theft Auto Online is pretty much the same story as the single-player mode. Those playing GTA Online on PS5 and Xbox Series X can expect a superior experience than they're used to, with improved graphics and performance, but it's difficult to say that the upgrades make it worth buying all over again. Those that haven't played Grand Theft Auto Online for a long time may get more out of it, though, as Rockstar Games has never stopped supporting the game, regularly releasing new content updates including rather substantial ones like The Cayo Perico Heist, for example.
Grand Theft Auto 5 and GTA Online for PS5 and Xbox Series X are still phenomenal games that one could easily sink hundreds of hours into, but there's no getting around that they are fundamentally the same experiences as before, only with better graphics and performance. Someone that hasn't played GTA 5 or GTA Online in a long time will get more mileage out of this new version, but those that have played both regularly since launch may be better off waiting for the eventual Grand Theft Auto 6.
The new version of Grand Theft Auto 5 is out now for PC, PS5, and Xbox Series X. Game Rant reviewed the Xbox Series X version of the game.