Despite facing stiff competition, Rockstar’s re-release of Grand Theft Auto 5 on the next generation consoles is one of this years biggest releases. While GTA5 on the last generation of consoles was impressive, there’s few who’d deny the old hardware was holding back the developers from really pushing the envelope. Now, the game has been released on both the PS4 and X1, and we’ve a few early results to share with you – naturally we’ll have much more over the next few days however.
In the early stages of our testing we can confirm the title holds onto 30FPS in all but the worst of circumstances, which is fairly impressive given the now native 1080P visuals. Those who remember back to GTA 5’s release on the previous generation will remember that the frame rate was anything but steady, and this is despite a much lower pixel count of only 720P.
While the frame rate is certainly more stable, and the 1080P visuals are a treat compared to what the last generation of consoles can muster, not everything is completely rosy. It’s pretty obvious this isn’t a title that was built ‘from the ground up’ for next generation. Currently, it’s fair to say that it’s closer to a remaster than anything else. Polygon count is lower than we’d expect from a next generation title, with character models and scenery not quite up to next generation standard.
There is also the occasional bit of object pop-up that rears its ugly head, particularly true if you’re driving at high velocity. Waste bins and other small decorative items can pop into view, particularly if rounding a tight corner fast. This is rare – and compared to the horrors of AC Unity, it’s virtually a non-issue. A bigger problem is texture and LoD problems. If you’re on foot, it’s slightly less noticeable – but still quite apparently, particularly on models of say cars. If you’re in a vehicle then the popup is considerably easier to spot.
Despite this, textures on cars, characters and other ‘main assets’ are of reasonable quality. Not quite ‘true next gen’, but a league above what was found in the PS3 / X360 iteration of the title. Texture Filtering appears to be fairly thin on the ground though – it’s a bit of a shame, as it does lend a slight negative to the overall quality of the texturing work.
The post process anti-aliasing isn’t quite what you’d hope for either, just like many other titles (such as AC Unity), the AA misses certain objects or produces a white box / soft edge that’s a far cry away from natural. It’s a shame that a more robust Anti-Aliasing method couldn’t have been implemented (for example, some form of SMAA), as it would have improved the image quality a few notches.
Lighting and shadows on the original GTA 5 release were incredible, but not quite ‘next generation’. Over the past year or so, we’ve grown more accustomed to the physical lighting models that the next generation consoles can bring. The increased resolution and improved detail do extend to lighting, but it’s a pity the extra mile couldn’t have been taken. While our analysis is still in the very early stages, it would appear that Grand Theft Auto 5 hasn’t been designed from the ground up to take full advantage of the next generation consoles. Instead, assets are higher resolution, draw distances noticeably improved (indeed, standing from a high vantage point and looking down on the scenary is one of the more impressive things you can do in the game), more solid performance and other little touches help to solidify the title.
Despite putting in a few cheats into GTA 5 (and by a few, we’re talking God Mode, all weapons and making every single bullet explode like a mini grenade), we weren’t able to get the frame rate to dip in a fairly large open intersection and just ‘shooting stuff’. We’ll be testing more over the next few days; but thus far things are looking pretty good in terms of the raw 30FPS performance. Cutscenes, such as the opening, are fine. A few car chases, even the first one (where you errr… return a car its rightful owner) all stay at 30FPS.
Considering the PS3 version chugged into the mid 20’s at times, this is a large achievement indeed, and does make playing the game that much better. After testing out AC Unity earlier this week, we’re glad to have a title that’s a little more robust where the frame-rate is concerned. Regarding a comparison of both versions – so far, the biggest issue is grass and vegetation. We’re not quite ready to share our results as yet, but it would appear that Sony’s platform has denser vegetation than Microsoft. While the geometry and textures of the trees, vegetation and grass appear to be pretty much identical, the shear amount of it is what’s different.
It’s not that the Xbox One version of GTA 5 is sparse, it’s a considerable improvement over the previous generation; instead Microsoft’s platform just falls a little behind Sony’s PS4. We’ll have more findings over the next few days, but of course be sure to checkout the video and images in the meanwhile if you want more information.