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Grand Theft Auto V for Xbox One review: Being bad just got better

One of my all-time favorite games launched without a version available for the new generation of games consoles. We're talking Grand Theft Auto V, of course. Despite being restricted to the relatively aged Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 systems, it was still one of the absolute greatest games ever made.

Around a year on from that, GTA V is back. Back for a grand re-launch, and this time around we can play it on the Xbox One. It has been given a spruce up to take advantage of the new hardware, but at its heart it's the same game we've seen before. All the crimes, capers, shooting, and driving you could want, both in single-player and online.

So should you buy it? Is it worth playing for a second time? Let's find out.

Same old, same old? Not exactly

GTA V

So this is the same exact game that launched on the Xbox 360, right? Yes and no. The basic game is indeed the same. Same characters, same story line, same basic online game. But while the bones remain the same, around them the flesh has grown for the Xbox One.

So what's new then? As you'd expect, GTA V for the Xbox One has been given a graphical overhaul complete with an upgrade to 1080p resolution. There are also new vehicles, new weapons, new side missions, 30-player capable online games and even a brand-new (and pretty awesome) first person mode. Time to get all "Call of Duty" up in here.

GTA V

It's a big bright beautiful world

GTA V isn't quite the full-blooded, next-gen Grand Theft Auto experience, but it's pretty damn close. Graphically it's been given a heavy lick of paint for the new consoles, and it does make a difference.

Faces are more detailed, grass is thicker, trees have more foliage, and of course, GTA V now runs at 1080p. Slightly disappointing is that its restricted to 30 fps, but honestly, I'm not so sure it matters. Generally it's as smooth and slick as anything else on the platform. The lighting and weather effects are also closer to true life than ever before in a Grand Theft Auto game, with cars glistening in the sunlight or under the night lights of Los Santos.

This version does suffer from some dropped frames from time to time. But apart from that it's a big, beautiful open-world to experience. Take a look at the previous gen and current gen versions side-by-side, and you'll be amazed. As for current-gen platform comparisons, Digital Foundry finds that the Playstation 4 version has more foliage than the Xbox One game. Either way you go, the game will still look great.

GTA V

If it ain't broke, don't fix it

The gameplay remains pretty much unchanged from the first release, and that's great. GTA has never professed to have any kind of realistic driving experience, so it's still possible to easily drive it like you stole it – usually because you stole it. Big slides, insane jumps, barrel rolls - if you can think it, you can probably do it.

The shooting mechanics are pretty much flawless for a third-person game. Speed and simplicity are at the center of locking on to and taking out enemies. GTA V is as fast paced and free flowing as it ever was.

GTA V Grand Theft Auto Online Xbox One

In the first person

Never before seen in a Grand Theft Auto game, GTA V now has a first-person mode that encompasses each and every thing you can do in the game. Shooting, driving, walking, riding a bike, and the, ahem, experiences with the ladies of the night. All of these can be experienced through the eyes of Franklin, Trevor, or Michael.

The new perspective adds an entirely new dimension to the game. Big shootouts feel more natural in first-person mode, while driving becomes more difficult than ever. It seems to be easier to dodge traffic and pull off wicked drifts, but visibility is beyond poor.

The first-person effects even extend to covering your 'eyes' with a tint should your character be wearing sunglasses or a motorcycle helmet. You lose the all encompassing view of the world around you, but you gain so much in immersion. Stick with it and you'll be picking off fools in no time. First-person is a fantastic way to play GTA V.

GTA V Grand Theft Auto Online Xbox One Achievement

Achieve something

Grand Theft Auto V for Xbox One comes packed with 50 Achievements worth a full 1000 Gamerscore for the dedicated. Around half of these are achievable in the main game, and half are reserved for GTA Online.

As ever some are unlocked for completing simple tasks that you're led to within the game, others will take a little (or a lot) more effort. One nice thing is that any Achievements you accomplished in GTA Online on Xbox 360 should unlock automatically after recovering your character in the Xbox One version.

GTA V Grand Theft Auto Online Xbox One

Bigger, badder online world

Grand Theft Auto Online, the separate multiplayer mode akin to Red Dead Redemption's multiplayer mode, is very much alive and well with the relaunch of the game on Xbox One and Playstation 4. Players of previous versions can transfer their characters to the new version with relative ease. And now you're able to participate in 30-player games which is very, very impressive.

Otherwise it's business as usual. The same map as the main game and some of the same non-player characters make an appearance in the online mode, giving missions and such. But largely it's all about you and how you deal with your fellow criminals.

Isn't that nice...

GTA V Grand Theft Auto Online Xbox One

The bottom line

The best just got better. Grand Theft Auto V on the previous gen consoles was one of the finest examples of a game that's ever been produced. The huge open world, slick gameplay and challenging (not to mention relatively lengthy) main campaign produced something genuinely special. Plus that expansive online mode!

With the launch of the Xbox One version, GTA V leaps even further ahead in quality. It's not a full-on next gen Grand Theft Auto game, but this is exactly what we wanted from GTA V all along. Aside from a few graphical glitches with dropped frames, this game is virtually faultless. Even if you've played it through before, do it again. You'll love it.

Now Rockstar, please get to work on Grand Theft Auto 6. Pretty please?

Richard Devine is an Editor at Windows Central. A former Project Manager and long-term tech addict, he joined Mobile Nations in 2011 and has been found on Android Central and iMore as well as Windows Central. Currently you'll find him covering all manner of PC hardware and gaming, and you can follow him on Twitter and Instagram.

32 Comments
  • Too bad I'm not 17
  • Why do you want to be 17 for? Gaming? Dude I'm 31 and I don't joke with my games.
  • I think what he means is, punching hookers and dragging people from their cars and walking round like a gangster gets pretty tedious when you are up to version 5 of series. it needs an injection of a new ideas or complete change of motive. say a secret agent or space marine. not another urban idiot.
  • I'm 16 but I would play if I get to play.
  • No, it doesn't. Maybe a change of scenery, like a Russian location, or England. The gta games are first and foremost a good story, anyone who focuses on the pointless crap you mentioned probably is too young to be playing the game, regardless of their age.
  • They did London lol
  • Kind of ignoring everything pre gta3 as they literally had no storylines other than *kill all gang members*. Besides I simply said the game needs a change of scenery, I never said those locations hasn't been done just that the series should perhaps move towards different locations, whether that be again, in the case of London, or elsewhere for the first time.
  • Can't wait for the PC version.
  • I'll wait for a sale
  • Everyone should sign the petition to keep it in stores in Australia. Stop those feminists from getting their way!
  • It's not so much that they're feminists, they're just people with sticks up their butts who don't understand games and adult entertainment.
  • And that they don't shower, or shave their lady parts, and walk around carrying signs demanding female superiority, and spending their weekends chained to trees. When really they should be getting in the kitchen and making us all some damned sandwiches to eat while playing GT FUCKING A! :D
  • Plenty of non-females support censorship as well. And plenty of feminists are comfortable with sexuality or games for adults, so there's no need to get overly aggressive with your ire at these particular censorship advocates. I'm mad at them too, but a few bad people doing things under the cause of feminism doesn't make the rest of them like that. Much like a few bad gamers harassing women online doesn't mean we all harass women.
  • Feminists, these idiotic a**ho*** who think everyone and everything is against them. They cant live in the 21st century. Glad I don't live in Australia. If there is a petition to stop those freaks, please give me a link and I'll get everyone I know to sign it
  • http://www.change.org/p/kmart-continue-to-sell-grand-theft-auto-5-in-aus...
  • Late review? What's up with all the late-ness from you guys today?
  • First we had to wait for our physical review copy to arrive after the game's release, and then Richard has had a new member of the family to care, which slowed him down a bit. Better late than never though.
  • The online experience sucks for now. Sometimes it works just fine, other times it doesn't work all day.
  • It's a good game. I didn't play it on the previous gen and as for the PS4/XB1 comparisons, it comes down to the amount of grass. Otherwise, as you are fighting off helicopters and police you won't be able to tell the difference between the two consoles. It is beautiful either way. The only complaint I have heard about the 1st person mode is how poor it responds on the PS4. But I think that is a function of the controllers and not the concole. Xbox controllers have always been deemed the FPS standard. Otherwise, I have enjoyed playing it.
  • I had never played any of the GTA titles before, so I bought into the hype that this is one of the best games ever, and I preordered it, digitally. I wish I hadn't. The game is good, if you're in the mood for endless fetch quests or if you like doing chores virtually when you're not doing them in reality. Otherwise, I find the gameplay kind of boring and uninspired. The size of the world and meticulous attention to detail is some of the most impressive I've ever seen, but as far as pure fun factor, I wish I had bought Sunset Overdrive or Forza Horizon 2 instead. This is why every game should have a demo available.
  • yer I get that the game production values are super high, but I dont get the hype either. its just not that interesting anymore.
  • If only there was a website where people could post videos of the games they play. That way we could have gotten an idea of how interesting this game would have been. It's not like it has been out for a year already.
  • That's like choosing a restaurant based on pictures of food in the store window. It doesn't work anywhere near as well as tasting it first. Demos are a must.
  • Has anyone finished it completely? If so, are there any tasks or missions involving violence against women? And violence against men? Pretty sure its violent against everyone in a non prejudice way.
  • Obviously, because it's GTA :P
  • Sorry but a stupid question. Wouldn't folks with XBONE be able to play the 360 version on their new console? If yes, then it's redundant for most of them, right?
  • No not compatible
  • How sad a human being do you have to be to think this is good, its not even a game at what point do the creators create instead of just doing mindless monotonous violence. Lift your game and i mean all of you.
  • Terry, don't make condescending comments like that please. Thanks.
  • When they do the price I will buy it a second time
  • Seriously? Boohoo Paul does someone who thinks hacking women up with axes does not make a game. Sadly calling the likes of I feminists and soft, still does not make this garbage a game. I will make any remark my humanity wills me to. Endless mindless violence is exactly that, mindless and a game NOT. So I repeat, lift your game.
  • It's not so much they're feminists, they're just people with sticks up their butts who don't understand games and adult entertainment........... sounds pretty condescending to me..... Paul. As a person that has owned every console since pong tennis I have sadly watched programmers become lazier year after year till toilet games like GTA5 is 98% of the lazy rubbish they now do. Its right up there with movies like Attack of the killer Tomatoes and when you pull the stick out of your butt, the stuff that then comes out is what this game is...