Being the most highly anticipated entry into Rockstar’s flagship franchise, Grand Theft Auto V was met with unprecedented commercial success and critical reception. Despite its mainstream popularity however, the game is far from perfect. It’s packed to the brim with features, and yet the game is missing some essential core components, ranging from annoying oversights to core mechanical failures and a disappointing narrative.
Some of these core problems can’t really be fixed, but there’s plenty of room for improvement for this bestseller. Luckily, there’s a real chance for some of these improvements to be made now that Rockstar has announced an updated version of Grand Theft Auto V for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.
With more development time and better hardware, we may yet see improvements that make this game worth buying again for those who were slightly disappointed with what the game had to offer. As it’s the most powerful platform of the three, this list will focus entirely on the PC port, because it’s the version with the most potential.
Although the port of Grand Theft Auto IV was very poorly optimised, that didn’t stop the community from fixing it and making it look even better than the original console version of its successor, Grand Theft Auto V, with ENBs and texture packs. If a modded version of its predecessor can be made to look better than the main game of its successor, what can the PC community do for the PC version of Grand Theft Auto V? With that kind of potential, what changes can be made to make this game worthy of its hype?
10. It Needs To Run At 60 FPS
This one’s important. If Rockstar ports Grand Theft Auto V to PC at any framerate lower than sixty, it should make one wonder why they even bothered in the first place (aside from making mountains of cash, of course). Whilst consoles struggle to hit thirty, sixty has long been the standard for PC gamers, and if the most successful Grand Theft Auto game to date cannot manage that, there won’t really be much of an excuse.
As of late, there’s been a lot of debate regarding the difference between 30 and 60 FPS. Some in the gaming community have spread misinformation and mistruths such as “the human eye can’t see that many frames per second”, “sixty frames a second is too fast”, or that “thirty is better because it gives a more cinematic experience”. All of these things are false. The simple truth is that 60FPS is better than 30FPS, because it’s smoother and more responsive. The difference is noticeable, and in many cases, obvious. Performance is important, and on PC, where sixty is the standard, Grand Theft Auto V has to do this before anything else.
9. Let Players Make Custom Radio Stations
Allowing players to make their custom radio stations with the music files on their hard drive has been a feature almost entirely exclusive to PC since Grand Theft Auto IIIreleased in 2001. Regardless of whether this feature comes to current-generation consoles, this feature needs to make a return in the fifteenth entry to the franchise.
Over time, this underrated feature has seen multiple iterations, starting out as a sort of mix-tape that can only be played in a single order without being skipped. In Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas the player can integrate their own music files into a radio station with commercials before Grand Theft Auto IV finally added a dedicated DJ exclusive the PC version of that game. Let’s hope that Rockstar will show this kind of extra dedication when it comes to the little features like these.
8. Give Us More Safehouses
For the most part, safehouses in the Grand Theft Auto series have been doled out as rewards for story progression, with the most notable exception being Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, which had hideouts available for purchase all across the map. Being able to buy multiple safehouses added a much needed feeling of depth to the world, as you could interact with San Andreas in a meaningful way buy staking a claim in the form of real estate. In CJ’s rags to riches story, being able to buy multiple homes felt appropriate, but it was also extremely convenient, as it allowed the player to save their customised vehicles.
With the more recent entries however, this is no longer possible. Niko Bellic gets a set amount of safehouses that are given to him as the story demands. The same is true in Grand Theft Auto V, where each character has one or two safehouses at a time. Multiplayer does little to remedy this, though the High Life update did expand the amount of properties available to players. In single player however, there’s a very limited amount of space to store custom cars. Since the PC has less restrictions than console, it only makes sense that the PC port has more freedom as well.
7. Give Us More Interiors
Perhaps the biggest problem plaguing Grand Theft Auto V‘s open world is that, despite having a plethora of activities available, much of the world feels intangible. As the player walks the streets of Los Santos and beyond, they may find there’s very little interaction with the world to be had. Taking Vespucci Beech as an example, there’s a treasure trove of shops to see, but almost none of them have anything to buy. They’re completely devoid of life.
The rest of San Andreas is just like this. Despite being so much bigger than Grand Theft Auto IV‘s Liberty City, there’s not nearly as many interiors to enter on one’s own time. To put it simply, the player has to follow “look, don’t touch” rule in almost every part of the state, with the ironic exception being the strip club.
The businesses aren’t much better. The properties available to purchase only provide the player with a couple of extra odd jobs and a paltry sum of cash that does nothing in the game’s unbalanced economy. Unlike Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, there’s no way to improve the revenue your properties earn, even if it did matter. Aside from running annoying errands for these companies, you have absolutely no meaningful interaction with them.
It might help if the player could enjoy the interiors of these places that they own. Why can’t you drink and play mini-games in the bar you own? How about watching live shows at Tequila-la, which actually has an interior? Of course, the interior in the latter is only accessible in a single mission. In that case, perhaps the extra power of the PC could mean more interiors and a better sense of exploration in San Andreas.
6. Make The Character Transitions Less Annoying
The first time you switch to Trevor and he has a wanted level, it’s kind of funny. It’s hilarious when he wakes up in a dress on a mountain… the first time. When it becomes a regular occurrence however, it quickly becomes an annoyance. Switching between the three playable characters is an integral part of the game, and when doing this becomes a hassle, the whole game slows down. This is a simple enough fix: stop changing the characters’ clothes, and stop putting them in compromising situations.
There’s nothing more insulting than taking the time to customise your character exactly the way you want them, only to have the game reset your work right after. One shouldn’t have to take a trip to their safehouse every time they switch characters just because the game needs to provide the constant illusion that these players are living out their lives as normal. In this instance, it’s much better to just give the player free reign and leave the characters as they are. Again, once is okay. Having to re-customise my character multiple times because Trevor keeps cross-dressing and stripping down to his underwear is not. When Grand Theft Auto V finally rolls onto PC, this tiny fix would be very much appreciated.
5. Make Customisation Deeper, With Less Restrictions
Character customisation in Grand Theft Auto V is a huge improvement over its predecessor, but still lacking in comparison to Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Though there are some haircuts and clothing options available for each character, there’s also some needless restrictions. For example, only Trevor can purchase a Love Fist shirt. Why is this? There’s no reason Michael can’t buy this shirt, so why limit the player in what they can wear? Freedom is an essential aspect of the Grand Theft Auto formula, so why stifle it needlessly?
The online mode arguably makes up for this, but it also presents some missing features for single player. With all the additional customisation options in multiplayer, why doesn’t any of that carry over into single player? As an example, multiplayer characters can equip silly cowboy hats, but none of the single player characters can. Why not? Sure, it might be silly to have Franklin wearing a silly cowboy hat, but it was silly when Carl Johnson did it, and back then it didn’t matter. Grand Theft Auto V is a silly game, so why is it so restrictive in its customisation? If memory and processing power was an issue, it isn’t on PC.
4. Add Heists To Multiplayer
Though confirmed to arrive sometime in Spring, Summer is nearly here and despite being over half a year since the launch of Grand Theft Auto V‘s online mode, there’s still no cooperative heists for players to undertake. This is a real shame, because in all of that time, you’d think Rockstar would prioritise a feature that was promised to be available at launch. How long does it take to add co-op missions to a game that’s already been made? Longer than everything else they’ve added, it seems.
Despite the long delays however, heists do feel close for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 players. However, the PC port is an updated version of the game, and as such, should have more content. If heists make their way to Grand Theft Auto Online before the launch of the game’s remastered edition, the PC port needs even more heists, at launch.
3. Balance The Economy
One of the biggest problems with Grand Theft Auto V is its unbalanced economy and the broken feeling of progression. In prior titles, the player character slowly climbed the economic ladder over the course the game, going from struggling street thug to wealthy crime kingpin as the story unfolds. In Grand Theft Auto V, this isn’t really the case. Rather, the player more or less starts out at the top in the first act and stays there for the whole game. Because the heists give such huge payouts throughout the campaign, there’s never really any need to work for anything. Everything is given to the player very early and very quickly, making the whole game a breeze as a result.
With this new version, we’d like to see an attempt made to balance the game’s economy, making players work a little harder for the things they want, giving those things a little more meaning and allowing them to experience more of the game’s content in the process.
2. Put In A Hard Mode For Extra Challenge
Difficulty modes have always been something from which Grand Theft Auto titles shyed away. In the past, this wasn’t really a problem for the core gaming audience, because Grand Theft Auto games were always hard, sometimes due to contrivance more than anything else. Long time fans are no strangers to frustration, making it understandable that Rockstar might want to make the game a bit more easygoing for more mainstream appeal. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to cast a wider net and hit a bigger audience, but there’s no reason to alienate players looking for a challenge. With this updated version of Grand Theft Auto V, how about a hardcore mode?
When you can buy every weapon in the game – all of which are fully loaded and on your person at any given time – the game loses that sense of excitement. Cheap thrills are meaningless if you’re never in danger, and you’re never going to be in danger with a minigun, rocket launcher, semi-auto shotgun, a fully automatic pistol, a machine gun, and an assault rifle all stuffed into your back pocket.
If the economy for the main game can’t be balanced, give players the added option of testing their skills with smaller payouts, weaker special abilities, less weapons and ammo, and no more regenerative health. In its current state, the enemy AI is too weak, and the player is too powerful, which causes the game’s formula to get stale fast. When shooting scores of meth addicts gets boring, you know you’re doing something wrong.
1. Make Sure It Has Mod Support
This is the big one. Even if Rockstar doesn’t add anything else on this list, mod support is a must, because if the game is structured in such a way that allows mods, all of these things and more can be added to the game for free. The great thing about mod support is that it allows players to fine-tune the game exactly to their tastes. If you fancy yourself a bit of a hardcore player, there’s mods like “Big City Life” for Grand Theft Auto IVthat adds basic needs such as hunger and thirst, as well as an inventory system that weighs Niko down depending on how much he’s carrying. The average player might not go for that, but the great thing about mod support is that theoretically, there’s a mod for everyone.
Whether you want more safehouses, better stability, more content, or just a stunningly-beautiful game, the modding community can accommodate players of any taste, making Grand Theft Auto V the exact game you want it to be. Even if the PC port of this game ends up being terrible – and it very well could be – mod support can save the day. Here’s hoping players will only need it to make a great game better, instead of fixing another lazy port.