I'm going to keep this one brief. Everyone knows how good Grand Theft Auto V is, there's no debate on that one, but is the next-gen expanded and enhanced edition an improvement? Yes, it is.
The improvements aren't anything crazy and you probably won't notice them too much at first (especially if you haven't played the last-gen version for a while) but they are there. Ray-tracing and improved lighting are present and they make all the difference, Grand Theft Auto V actually looks like a somewhat modern game again. It didn't look bad at all in its original state, in fact it was groundbreaking when it came out, but it definitely needed a fresh coat of paint and it's finally got it. Cruising around Los Santos on a rainy night has never looked better. Vegetation and character models have seen a big improvement, it's not quite Horizon Forbidden West but it's definitely a looker. The frame-rate has been locked to 60 FPS so it's definitely a smoother experience than ever before.
Loading times are over twice as quick and character switching times are near instant now which was expected but I'm giving it extra credit for the fact that I no longer have to wait what feels like half an hour to join an online session.
Haptic feedback and adaptive triggers are out in full force as is 3d audio, these things aren't going to sell the game to you but some next-gen polish is always nice. The brake and accelerator triggers pulse as your car gains and losses traction and you'll feel every shot you fire off from whatever ridiculous gun you choose as the trigger pushes back against you. The 3d audio support makes a surprising difference, you can now hear even the smallest sounds in the Los Santos street (my favourite was the Vigilante's hydraulic doors opening and closing) making what is now a nine year old game feel as immersive as any brand new triple-a title.
There are UI improvements with the Red Dead Redemption II style opening menu being lifted and I definitely prefer that to the old style "press square to go online". Other small changes to the radio wheel and your money counter in the top corner of your screen are ultimately pointless but definitely make it feel a little fresher.
As far as I can tell controls haven't changed too much but I didn't really expect them to if I'm honest. Maybe it would have been nice to slightly modernize the character movement to bring it line with Red Dead Redemption II but I do understand that it's not quite that simple and at that point we might as well just have a new game entirely. Driving is slightly better now, maybe that's just down to the haptic feedback but the cars feel a little more responsive than before (who knows though I could just be making that up, I could be making all of this up, you'll never know unless you play it).
There's nothing really new to be seen here aside from a couple little Los Santos Tuner side missions but with Grand Theft Auto 6 on it's way there was never really going to be. It might have been nice but I'm not upset at the lack of additional content.
I'm not going to be rating this one purely because it's just a glorified update but for the £8 that the full game costs on PlayStation (online mode is free for PS Plus subscribers) or the £17 it costs on Xbox the new release of Grand Theft Auto V is well worth it.
As always you can sign up for free to get more articles like this (and a podcast next month!) straight to your email!