GTA V “Expanded and Enhanced” was released on March 15th 2022, and although with the last few generations of consoles we’ve become accustomed to remakes, remasters and rereleases… this one stands out for a few reasons. Here I’ll be taking a look at whether you should be bothered to revisit it, or if you are one of the 3 people on earth that hasn’t picked it up already, should you jump in and experience what it has on offer.
Having jumped back in and played a massive chunk of the PC version in the last few weeks, it’s total madness to think that this game is almost 9 years old, from its original release on the PS3 and Xbox 360. It might not look quite as cutting age and better than 99% of other games as it did at its release, but it’s still a powerhouse of both ability and a technical showcase.
In terms of how it looks, although it was surpassed by Red Dead Redemption 2 in 2019, that doesn’t mean that it’s now a bad looking game. Most games would love to be able to have the visual fidelity of GTA V and its interpretation of San Andreas, and that’s before you get to the level of depth in the systems that make the world so unique.
I played the story of the game in full on its original release, and then did so again when I picked up an Xbox One. Being part of the gamers that experienced the horrible launch of GTA Online, (It took me at least two weeks to actually get the game to launch), it’s crazy to now see that even when it’s nearly 10 YEARS OLD, it continues to sell and make millions of dollars in both sales and Shark currency cards (the in-game currency of the online multiplayer element of GTA V).
But here, I’ll be taking a look at the long-forgotten single-player element of the game, how the so-called GTA V “Expanded and Enhanced” version compared, as I’m honestly not good enough (or patient enough) to jump into a competitive multiplayer game, after nearly 7 years away and probably wasn’t good enough to do at any point.
Not only this but after the horrible release of the GTA Definitive Edition (featuring GTA 3, Vice City and San Andreas), there could be a fair bit riding of this release, at least in terms of how fans feel about Rockstar and GTA.
GTA V has to date sold about 160 million copies… with GTA in total (all the games so far), selling around 355 million copies. In terms of GTA V, as a rough estimate, that’s more copies of the game sold than people who owned a PS4 and Xbox One put together. Believe me, when I say, nothing will stop the series from becoming even bigger in the future. No matter what controversy it tries to bring to players.
On PC, I’ve had the joy of taking the console standard of 30fps (which it struggled to hold, as the game was so busy) and taking it to the extreme heights of 144fps. Although it’s unlikely that the E and E-Edition (GTA V “Expanded and Enhanced”), could hit this sort of high, even going to 60fps will make a huge difference in what gamers have experienced before.
To be honest, outside the note of Ray Tracing, most of the enhancements that have been noted so far, have been available on the PC version of the game for the last few years. I’m a strong believer that this will remain the best place to play… when you have the correct hardware at least. The first screenshots look promising that they’ll be worthy enhancements.
What is strange is that it looks unlikely that features like Ray Tracing or enhancements will make their way to PC. Although most of its features could be Modded to the game, it’s a little off this hasn’t been confirmed to be added natively. Likewise, there are new cars and online content that could end up being missing from the PC version.
GTA V “Expanded and Enhanced”; The Story
But, after playing the story mode for the first time in 3 years (according to my Xbox Achievements anyway), I was pleasantly surprised. The campaign of GTA V still feels pretty good and I’d forgotten how well acted the 3 main characters are and also how good the jump to having more than one main character was.
Also, the jump to having 3 main characters rather than only one, was a massive win in my opinion. Although several reviewers and critics noted that this made it harder for GTA to continue the strong storylines it had provided in the past, for me, it worked really well and gave me 3 different characters and different points of view to enjoy.
Special shout out to Steven Ogg playing Trevor Phillips. This one character manages to encapsulate almost everything that GTA is said to be. When I say that, I mean it for better and for worse. Rage, murder and all-out mayhem. That’s how the media like to paint GTA and Steven Ogg’s performance was both uncomfortable and enjoyable all at the same time.
At times the game can become the same kind of open-world fetch quest (go here, do this, do back to where you came from) as most games can when set in an open world, but the attention to detail and outstanding acting manage to pull the game out of this rut.
For all its controversy, there’s only one mission that might take things a little too far. The well-documented torture scene, where players need to make an NPC (Non-playable character), provide information to allow another in-game character to complete an assassination. It’s quite brutal, but is it really much worse than things we have seen in programmes like The Punisher and Frank Castles family being murdered or The Walking Dead with Negan Killing Ned? I think not.
For those that have played GTA games previously, they would realise that it’s about more than this and over its 5 (plus a few games in between) mainline game running time, it’s been able to produce some of the highest production values that any media has seen. GTA is as big as the Marvel Cinematic Universe when it comes to gaming.
GTA and more importantly GTA V (Expanded and Enhanced) really are that important when it comes to media. Although they are way more likely to upset people, that doesn’t take away from their importance in media history. The last few games have strong undertones of the importance of family and friendship, but that’s not something you would understand if you only read online articles and newspapers.
I don’t really enjoy ‘The Lord of The Rings‘ movies, and as such, I tend to stay away from anything that might be connected to them or have similar undertones. GTA should be considered the same, if you don’t like it, don’t bother with it, but please don’t take away from how important it is in terms of gaming. It’s iconic.
I’m not really sure that GTA V needs another full release on the next generation of consoles, but I have no doubt that the game will continue to sell, as long as it’s made available to gamers. For players that have spent time away from the game like me, they should enjoy a revisit, but for the players who have stuck with the lifestyle that is GTA Online, joy might vary.
GTA is a juggernaut, no one can stop it. It’ll continue to break records and sell like proverbial hotcakes… purely because it strives to be different, the same as any movie or TV show trying to get itself noticed. If they can add another couple of million sales and keep the hype train running at full speed, it’ll no doubt help the expected trickle of information on GTA 6 that’s due to start. I just hope the game can avoid the performance issues and troubles of the recent Definiatiet release of the earlier GTA games from last year. GTA V Expanded and Enhanced is worthwhile if you didn’t