http://media.rockstargames.com/rockstargames/img/global/downloads/wallpapers/games/gtav_logo_800x600.jpg
GregoPeck gives this an astounding "Must Play" on the Ghost Scale
This achieves something special, and it would be a shame to miss it.
GregoPeck gives this a "Must Play" on the Ghost Scale
This achieves something special, and it would be a shame to miss it.
I'm not sure when exactly I found out about GTAV being released (for previous console generation), but I know I spent quite a while impatiently waiting for it. When it was finally released in September 2013, I got it for my PS3. I was one of the many who pre-ordered it at GameStop and was there for the midnight release. My immediate problem with it was that it requires 8 GB free on the hard drive. My PS3 is only an 80 GB model and I had already had enough trouble managing free space. Secondly, the game took a long time to install, but it was all worth it. I thought it was the very best of the series and one of the best looking games on the PS3. I played through it once and Franklin and Michael were my favorite characters. Although I joined the Cheerful Ghost crew, I hardly spent any time at all playing GTA Online.

A year later, it was released for the current console generation, I thought it made getting a PS4 a bit tempting, but I didn't given in to that. Although I'm sure GTAV is much better on the PS4 than the PS3, it wasn't enough to convince me to get one.

Now it's April 2015 and after a few delays, the game has been released for PCs. I pre-ordered it on Steam and got a free copy of San Andreas and some GTAV in-game bonus cash. They even gave us more bonus cash after the last delay was announced.

It has been stated that the PC release is pretty much the ultimate version of the game. It includes a video editor where you can record your game play and share it on YouTube. You can unlock different characters and animals for use Director Mode. The game also allows you to create your own customized radio station by placing MP3s in the “User Music” folder (under “Documents”>Rockstar Games>GTAV by default). Also, even though it doesn't contain any modding tools, there are already mods out for it. Perhaps one of the biggest features of the game is that it received a graphical update, 60fps at a higher resolution (4k). If you'd like to see a comparison check out this video, which is in three parts:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5A6EBL2t6Lo

Before you get the PC edition, it's important note the system requirements, I'll explain why in more detail.
https://support.rockstargames.com/hc/en-us/articles/203428177-Grand-Theft-Auto-V-PC-System-Specs

I didn't pay much attention to the hard drive space requirement (65 GB), which didn't dawn on my until the game became available to pre-load. This game is the very first game that I've experienced “pre-loading.” What this meant was that I could get it downloaded and installed (because I pre-ordered), but it would be encrypted, and thus unplayable, until its release date. What made me take notice of that hard drive space requirement was the 59 GB download on Steam. This made me think that this has to be the biggest game ever. Retail copies of the game come in a 7-disc box set.

I was pretty confident about my PC, until I ran into an issue where the graphics in this game kind of “stuttered”. This made me think that my PC wasn't up to par. Further research into the issue showed me that many people have reported issues with frame rate drops. Many of them have different hardware and their own theories as to why this occurs (see https://support.rockstargames.com/hc/communities/public/questions/203473047-GTA-V-PC-Stutter-Issue). So, I figured that it has to be an issue with the game, although I may need to try out different graphical settings.

The game includes a bench marking tool which can be accessed by pressing TAB on the “Advanced Graphics” menu option. While most of that test ran smoothly at 50-60fps, there was at least one spot where the frame rate started off very low, but increased before it was over. Since the test dropped me back in the game and didn't give me a result, I decided to benchmark my PC. Later, I found out that the bench mark results are included under Documents>Rockstar Games>GTA V>Benchmarks by default. So, I downloaded and ran a demo of 3DMark on Steam. The first I test I ran was Fire Strike “for high performance Windows gaming PCs.” The results were really awesome (check it out: http://www.3dmark.com/fs/4596441). Bench marking my PC lead me to think that I have two GTX 690s in my PC, but I only have one. It's a dual-GPU video card, which confused me at first.

Thanks to the news on Steam, I found out that Nvidia and AMD released new drivers for their GPUs with the game's release. So, before I played the game, I installed the latest driver from Nvidia. Rockstar has updated the game already to 1.01 because of the issue I had and a few others (see http://www.ign.com/articles/2015/04/17/gta-5-patch-101-to-address-issues-on-pc).

Initially, I only played the first mission in the game using the default settings. I thought it looked great and I noticed that I could change the view to first-person, which I don't recall being able to do on the PS3, granted that it's been a long time since I've played it. I also initially used they keyboard and mouse, hoping for better controls than San Andreas. I wasn't really disappointed with that configuration, but I thought using a controller would provide more fluid movement. I only played it briefly, at first, because I knew that in order to get Geforce Experience to optimize the game based on my hardware, I had to play it first. So, once I was able to save the game, I exited back to the desktop and let Geforce Experience configure my optimized settings. I know it increased many of them.

The next time I played, I decided to try it with a controller. Some time ago, by recommendation, I decided to buy a USB Xbox 360 controller for my new PC. I haven't really used it until now. I plugged it in before loading the game and it installed quickly and didn't seem to need any configuration. Once I got in to the game, I decided to start again from the beginning and I was glad that I didn't need to configure the controller or tell the game I was using it. Instead of telling me the keyboard and mouse controls, it showed the buttons on the controller. I now play the game using the controller, which I think is simpler.

While I know some people have hesitations about getting the game now, I think they are justified. Many people have already paid $60 for it and want to wait until it's cheaper. The issues that people have had with the game are also a good reason to wait. Right now, it seems to be difficult to tell how the game will perform on any given PC. It would be nice if there was a demo for it or if the benchmark test was more easily accessible and gave a test result. Still, I think the game is great and it's popularity and sales (across all platforms) definitely seem to prove that. The game has already overtaken Skyrim as the most played 3rd party game on Steam. If you think your hardware can handle it and don't mind paying full price for it, I recommend getting it. However, it may be wise to wait until the game gets further updates resolving issues or until it's on sale. Feel free to stay tuned here as I may provide additional updates as I progress through the game.

In the meantime, you can enter a sweepstakes to win a PC designed for the game by visiting http://socialclub.rockstargames.com/events

Check out this interview from PC Gamer with Rockstar: http://www.pcgamer.com/rockstar-talk-4k-pc-performance-and-more/

If you've already played the game on one platform, visit this link to learn how to transfer your GTA Online characters and progression between systems: https://support.rockstargames.com/hc/en-us/articles/202892778-Transferring-Your-Previous-Grand-Theft-Auto-Online-Characters-and-Progression-to-PlayStation-4-Xbox-One-or-PC

jdodson   Admin   Member wrote on 04/27/2015 at 05:18pm

I think waiting seems like a good idea too. Many people seem to have had a good experience with it, but my PC isn't quite up to specs with yours. That said, I look forward to picking it up and playing it as max resolution as I can.

As far as the game/story goes this is what we got with the PS3/360 version right? No new content as far as this release goes right? Did they do any DLC for GTAV?

GregoPeck   Member   Post Author wrote on 04/27/2015 at 05:59pm

I've done a lot of "research" into the issue I had and how to optimize the game and my video card. In the end, I didn't change very much. I made one change in the Nvidia Control Panel, which was to set that global setting to one display, since that's what I'm using. I also toned down all the settings one notch in the game, which produced good results. Then, I decided to experiment and see if there might have been one setting that messed things up. So far, it seems that having Shadow Quality at High rather than Very High fixes my issue.

As for your question, yes, this is mostly the original game with improved graphics and just a few additions. This version has Self Radio, the radio station that allows you to use your MP3s. It also has the Rockstar Editor, which allows you to record and share game play. As far as I know, the game hasn't received any DLC. Also, while there are no tools for it in the game, people have already created mods. One mod, that I saw, was the Batmobile.

I got all the gold medals in Flight School with Trevor. I did the Stunt Plane Time Trials, but decided getting gold was not important and just more frustrating. I ended up getting silver instead. I also went hunting with him, which is something I didn't do on the PS3. I learned a few things about that. One is to climb on the RV or use the ATV to avoid getting killed by cougars. Another was that in order to save your progress, you need to finish the day of hunting, which is only available during certain hours. I also started doing the Bail Bonds missions, which I didn't do before. So far, I've only done the first and I have looked online for help with that.

jdodson   Admin   Member wrote on 04/27/2015 at 10:59pm

You can hunt in the game? That sounds fun. From the look of things it appears pretty involved too.

http://gta.wikia.com/Hunting

GregoPeck   Member   Post Author wrote on 04/28/2015 at 12:30am

Yeah, Cletus gets you started on it. On the PS3, I did the intro mission where he shows you how to hunt elk. That's as far as I got with that. On the PC, however, I went to the hunting spot marked on the map. I did pretty good and achieved some good ranks and now have to do some harder things, like get a pic of a coyote and boar together. I also have to kill two elk with one shot, which I've done before, but died during the mission (damn cougars). It's really fun, actually, even though I most definitely do not go hunting in real life. I thought about recording a video because, while I was waiting on time to pass so I could go hunting, I saw a bunch of elk jumping all around the area. A few even died and I don't know if they had run into a cougar or just fell.

GregoPeck   Member   Post Author wrote on 04/29/2015 at 10:00pm

I recently learned how amazing Chop is. One time I switched to Franklin and he was playing in a field with Chop. The game tells you how you can throw a ball and get him to retrieve it. It also tells you that if you ride in a vehicle (like a motorcycle) that doesn't have room for him to get in, he'll follow you. Since Franklin had his green motorcycle nearby, I decided to take Chop home, which wasn't far away at all. Once I got there, though, I decided to get in Franklin's white car and let Chop in. This was a time, recently, when I was constantly visiting one of the hospitals (in Strawberry) so I could get a free helicopter. I have purchased the helipad, but still can't afford a helicopter and I need one to get at least one of the spaceship parts. Anyway, I got to the hospital and got out of the car, Chop did so, too. I then climbed the first ladder and Chop some how made it up there, too. I then climbed down, got in the car (because there weren't any helicopters there), and he magically made it off of the roof and inside of the car. Hahaha, I just thought that was funny. I have never tried out the app that let's you play with him on a tablet, but it's something I might try eventually.

GregoPeck   Member   Post Author wrote on 04/30/2015 at 08:30pm

I took another look into the "stutter" issue I was having with the game. I checked the Rockstar forum post that I linked in my original post. Someone said that they fixed the same issue by turning off High Resolution Shadows. So, I again had GeForce Experience optimize the game settings for me and when I got in the game I turned off High Resolution Shadows. Now I am running on those optimized settings except for that one I changed and the game runs much more smoothly now. One thing about the many settings in the game is that each has it's cost in VRAM and some seem like you really wouldn't notice a change anyway. That one setting I changed reduced the game's VRAM requirement by about a gig, I think, which is very helpful. The game does show you the VRAM cost of the settings you've chosen and how much your GPU has available. You can, of course, exceed the VRAM limit of your GPU, but doing so may cause the game to run less smoothly as the GPU will have to access your RAM or CPU to process the extra VRAM needed. I read about that some where online. Right now my settings cost about 5GB VRAM and I only have 4GB. Still, as I said, the game is running much more smoothly now. I'm almost done collecting all of the Spaceship Parts. I've also been using the Self Radio.

GregoPeck   Member   Post Author wrote on 05/02/2015 at 12:23am

Funny thing happened recently. I've been grabbing the Scrap Letters lately. On my way to one of them, I ended up driving up a hill or mountain. When I got to the top, I got some air, meaning the car flew a bit above the top. While doing so, I ended up hitting a bird. I laughed, I thought it was funny.

GregoPeck   Member   Post Author wrote on 05/12/2015 at 09:54pm

Last night, I finished Story Mode. That was the second time I've seen the credits roll in the game, I had forgotten how long that is! Jumping back in the game, there was one mission for me to do with Trevor (I'm avoiding a spoiler here). After that, I didn't know what to do. I've spent a total of 79 hours in the (PC version) game. I've completed all the races (boat, car, and off-road) with the exception of the stock car races. I did two of those, once with Trevor and once with Franklin. I won different cars each time and I'm sure there are others to win as that check point is not marked as completed (with a green check mark). I'll probably go and finish those. One reason I didn't do that before was because I currently don't have many places to store the trophy cars. With Trevor's win, I stored the car in a garage I bought with him, which has room for at least one more I'm sure. Franklin's home garage currently contains the vehicle you get from collecting all the space ship parts and the one I got from his stock car race win. Michael's home garage contains a police car and maybe one more car.

I did finish Flight School with Trevor and got a gold rank in each, but it was such a pain that I decided I wouldn't do it again. I tried the stunt plane time trials, but again it was such a pain that I decided to just do them for fun and not worry about what rank I got. I think I got silver in all or almost all of them. Otherwise, all the races were rather easy. The stock car race wasn't one of the easy ones, but I didn't mind repeating those to win them.

I also completed the hunting missions with Trevor. Some of the challenges weren't as difficult as I thought. For instance, some of them require that you send him a picture of multiple dead animals. Well, you don't have to include all of them in one shot. You simply take a picture of one, save it, and then take a picture of the next. Once you have taken a picture of all the required animals, send the last to him and they will all be marked as complete.

I think I finished all of the Strangers and Freaks missions, except I realized I didn't do the Epsilon missions (Michael only missions), so that's what I'm working on now. I've thought about replaying all the missions to achieve a gold rank, which requires you to do certain things. I'm not sure if I'll do that, though.

After the Epsilon missions, I'll probably jump into GTA Online by transferring (really copying) my PS3 character to my PC. You can only do this transfer once and I'm fine with that. I spent very little time in GTAO on the PS3. I was very happy with the character I created, so it's great that I don't have to try to re-create him. As I've said before, I think he looks a lot like me.

jdodson   Admin   Member wrote on 05/14/2015 at 01:14am

So does the single player campaign take 79 hours to complete or is that your game time doing other stuff too?

GregoPeck   Member   Post Author wrote on 05/14/2015 at 03:37am

That was how much time I put into the game, which included doing a lot of things. That was a bit after I completed story mode.

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