The new game, which launches tomorrow on Xbox One and PS4 (a PC version is slated for early next year), is essentially the same crime-fueled epic from last year. It has the same character-spanning narrative, takes place in the same gigantic open world of Los Santos, and features the same streamlined gameplay that made GTA V the best game in the series to date. The changes are almost purely aesthetic: the visuals have been overhauled with significantly more detail, and, for the first time, you can play the game from a first-person perspective. And somehow, playing in first person makes GTA even crazier.
Outside of raw thrill-seeking, the camera angle is also ideal for just soaking up the beauty of Los Santos, Rockstar's vibrant take on Los Angeles. GTA V was a beautiful game even on older hardware, and the added detail here makes it look as good as any modern release — the new viewpoint lets you see the tiniest details clearly. I could peer over someone's shoulder and look at their tablet's screen or look into a newspaper box and scan the front-page headlines. When I'd bump into someone on the street they'd look me right in the eyes. Many of these features were already in the game, you just couldn’t really see them; if you zoom out to third-person mode the newspapers are just a blur.
If you've already played GTA V, this might not be enough to justify going through the lengthy campaign again. But it might be worth picking up just to skip the story all together and experience the new, more beautiful Los Santos. If you haven’t played GTA V yet, the next-gen version is easily the best: it looks better, runs better, and while first person doesn't work well for everything, it's flexible enough that you can use it however much or little as you like. After years of playing GTA a certain way, the shift can be a bit jarring, and it can take some time to get used to the new perspective.
But just wait until you jump out of a plane.