I haven’t ventured around Los Santos in GTA V in years, with my last memory being one of driving my Declasse Impaler from the city and up North to my second home near the forests. A calm, leisurely drive with no action. However, I remember GTA V lacking accessibility features that would have helped me enjoy partaking in more in-game situations. So I got excited to jump onto the new PS5 version through the online mode that’s currently available for free for the time being. Although, excitement, not because I was expecting a lot, but just the bare minimum.
This won’t be a particularly long piece because I’ve found myself not being in the mindset anymore of enjoying a criminal sandbox simulator, but also because I found myself disappointed
When Rockstar released the remastered versions of GTA 3, Vice City, and San Andreas, there were some improvements such as introducing the radial wheel from GTA V and including subtitle size choices. GTA V appears to have not implemented much in terms of improving the game for accessibility, especially for legibility of…well, anything, but also there’s a strong focus on immersion on the PS5.
First up, let’s delve into the text available in gameplay. There’s not been a whole lot changed. Background opacities can’t be adjusted which I wasn’t entirely expecting anyway, but I’d have imagined some text size for notifications, prompts, and text messages would have been available. Particularly given how these PS5 and Xbox Series X upgrades will be more than likely experienced on massive TVs.
However, at least the above have background elements that make them stand out a little bit more from the world. Subtitles have no background box and have only the default size available. During my first few hours of play, the subtitles continued to blend into bright, sun-kissed roads and even a yellow car panel during a cutscene.
As already noted, the recent trilogy remasters introduced subtitle text size increases, so it’s odd that GTA V did not get the same treatment. Although, I think the answer to my question lies with the fact this is just an upgrade, and one that focuses more on graphics, performance, and if you’re on the PS5, immersion.
PS5 Haptic Immersion
Something that I always get excited about with the PS5 DualSense controller is how a game makes use of the haptics. For me, feeling the vibrations in a useful immersive way can help my experience with understanding a game’s audible and tactile world. However, this fancy haptic technology can be overused and ruin the experience entirely, focusing more on a cinematic immersion than a functional one.
In the case of GTA V, the haptics do not help with accessibility, instead, it’s clear they exist for making a blockbuster immersive experience I guess you could say. The usual haptics are available, such as feeling the landing from a jump, or the feedback from a gun being fired, but then I noticed something happening.
There was constant clicking coming from the controller when I was driving. When I accelerated the very light yet jarring clicking would continue and increase, then it’d stop when I parked. It grew worse when off-road. It was like it was trying to immerse me in a way that indicated that I’m driving over occasional, yet sequential pebbles, or even feeling like I had a wobbly wheel in a brand new $130,000 car.
Then, the next day I booted up for some fun times, intending to go buy myself a nice suit and some shoes. I started to feel that clicking again just by standing still, but this time it felt more like gunfire. However, I could not hear any gunfire nearby, and there appeared to be no one near me on the map when I looked there.
I can confirm that that nearby gunfire does do a faint haptic feedback tap, it’s kind of useful in making you aware someone’s shooting nearby, but various blocks away who aren’t a threat seems a bit much? I’d much prefer modes for this, having one so you know there are nearby gunfights and you want to willingly get involved, and another mode that only does so when you’re being actively attacked or within a set radius.
PS5 Adaptive Triggers and Motion
The adaptive triggers aren’t all that bad in GTA V! While still used for immersion, they’re thankfully not making use of the really tough locking up that the controller’s function is capable off. Instead, I felt more like there was a nice initial soft pull, and then a slightly tougher final pull to fully pull the triggers down. For shooting this felt great, for driving it was sometimes a bit offputting, but nothing that I felt overly bothered about.
The gyro controls are quite limited in scope, I quite like the idea of being able to reload a weapon by just flicking the controller, but I would have thought gyro aiming would have been an option. Instead, the most gyro control comes in the form of driving a few vehicles, but nothing for a car.
While remapping doesn’t exist for GTA V on consoles, as expected, the number of control presets available is nice to see and good for accessibility. I’d forgotten about the “Complex” reticle that I like, which is literally the default white dot but with a circle around it, so that was nice to see again. You can see more about what’s available through the settings in our Menu Deep Dive here.
I also felt totally thrown back to the year 2014 when I played this game by a lot, experiencing the floaty car driving physics, the hilarity-filled ragdoll physics, and all now packaged together in a graphically enhanced experience. Seeing the ray tracing in action feels nice, and I like the smoothness of the performance mode, although the fidelity mode doesn’t seem to cause much trouble.
The one thing I wasn’t overly keen on was the fact there seems to be a strong focus on running an illegal business or running a team of players. A totally different change from the last time I played it years ago, but given how popular the online world is if you have friends to play it with I can see the appeal here.
Really though, it’s just the point I made earlier in that this upgrade will fare better on those larger 4K, HDR-capable TVs, because, well, that’s its whole point is to improve graphics. Though, with the UI still being small, favoring playable-space, it’s a huge shame the legibility of literally everything wasn’t upgraded alongside the graphics.