The hype has been ridiculous. In fact the hype made me not even want to pick this one up because in my opinion when society over-hypes something it tends to be disappointing. During the development of GTA V I avoided everything regarding it – the news, the trailers, and the gameplay footage. Frankly, I’m old and spending $60 on a video game is something that doesn’t happen often for me anymore. I usually wait for the price to drop by half. Besides, I have so many other games sitting on my shelf that I haven’t completed so when GTA V was in development and the release was upon us and as John Bazman, one of the show’s producers sent me daily messages and updates about the game I was simply indifferent.
For the record, I wasn’t a huge fan of GTA IV. I have the game, but it didn’t hook me the same way the “GTA 3 Series” hooked me. It wasn’t catchy to me like Vice City or San Andreas. It wasn’t anything to do with me growing up or getting older as much as it felt like a “we just need to make a presence on the next-generation” type of game with not as much soul as the previous games. Also getting bothered to go bowling every other mission by an annoying cousin just wasn’t my cup of tea. It had some new features but they hadn’t been perfected yet. GTA IV was a first draft. GTA V is the final draft, and fortunately for me I got it for the small price of “free” allowing me to see what all the hype was about.
I wasn’t at all hyped for the game which allowed me to be even more impressed by what has to be Rockstar Games’ absolute masterpiece. This is their 9th Symphony. Grand Theft Auto V has to be the absolute best in the series in all departments and that’s coming from a guy who doesn’t feel the need to buy 12 new games a month.
return to San Andreas in Grand Theft Auto V, with a map that is at least four
times larger than the one in Grand Theft Auto IV. Moreover, unlike previous titles you can go
anywhere in the city at any time as opposed to some BS excuse as to why part of
the map is closed off. Hidden missions, strange random events that may (or may
not occur) and a wide open world await you, not unlike what we’re used to out
of Bethesda Studios titles such as Fallout and The Elder Scrolls. The story comes from the perspective of three
unique characters who all unlock as the story progresses: Michael Townley, Franklin Clinton, and Trevor
Phillips. All three have a unique style
and personality and you can switch between them at any time once they are all
unlocked, which is interesting as they don’t usually sit still doing nothing
while you’re playing as someone else and you may switch back to a character in
the middle of a gunfight, burying a dead body, or tossing someone off of a
building. You never know what you are
going to see and that’s part of what makes the game fun and exciting. Each character’s story will progress as you
play the game and ultimately their fates are in your hands as there are three
entirely different endings to the main storyline missions. Each of the three characters also has
entirely different special abilities to help you through the game making some more
suitable for certain scenarios than others.
Franklin for example can slow down gameplay while in the car in or order
for you to make sharp turns and tight squeezes between vehicles in traffic
easier. I can’t even start to comment on
the difference in the three personality-wise, as that goes into the masterfully
done story mode that has more thought, effort, and great one-liners in it than
most popular movies, which is probably how this game managed to score over a
billion dollars in its first week of release.
Just about everything in the previous GTA titles is here, and you won’t miss a step. The environment is beautifully put together and the streets are packed with pedestrians, many of whom look entirely different unlike previous GTA titles where you’d see five of the same person walking around next to each other. Civilians are also a lot worse in this title as simply bumping into one while walking can cause them to call the cops and automatically earn you a wanted level. If there’s one gripe I have its how easy it is to get the cops riding your ass on this game but fortunately any level of being wanted can be removed without a respray shop if you can just hide from their line of sight long enough to get them to call off the search. It’s a bit tricky but fortunately there are a lot of alleyways and dark corners to hide in if you know where to look. You can even try going underwater (which by the way the undersea world might well be just as large as land in this game and you can search everywhere provided you have scuba gear, a high lung capacity or can avoid being eaten by sharks).
Fortunately not everything has become more difficult. The duck-and-cover system during combat seems a bit more streamlined and gunfights have more of a focus on making sure you can find a safe spot than running out guns blazing and hoping for the best. Missions have been made easier as if you fail a mission you no longer have to start it over again from the beginning because they have checkpoints. Failing a part of a mission multiple times will give you the option of skipping that portion of the mission which is useful for those moments where the game forces you to fly a plane (which has always been my least favorite thing in any GTA game it has been featured).
There are more channels and songs in this game and ever by actual artists as well as all the crazy commercials and chat stations you have become accustomed to and it is far too often I will pull over on the side of the world just to listen to the ridiculousness of the content of the game. While I did this in previous Grand Theft Auto titles there is just so much in this game that I don’t think any one person will hear it all unless they have no life whatsoever, no job, no responsibilities, no girlfriend, and a steady coke habit so that they do not need sleep. I’ve never seen so much packed into one title before. The selected audio tracks are also a great variety although some people are complaining about a lack of rock/metal tracks. You’ll just have to do with the punk station, folks.
The Internet was a nice touch in Grand Theft Auto IV but having to go to cafes to use it seemed tedious and annoying. In GTA V, we’re with the smart phone revolution and you can browse the Internet at any time. A few missions only open up online and a few cars, boats, and planes are only available through online purchase in the game. The biggest feature on the Internet has to be the use of the stock market which can cause you to make (or lose) a tremendous amount of cash. Since this game is a lot more limited in ways to make “easy money” than previous GTA titles learning to manipulate the stock market is a necessity in order to make millions. Luckily a few missions can cause some stocks to rise meteorically and others to come crashing down. You gotta love corporate sabotage.
I could be here all day discussing the various features in the game, as everything from car customization, to exploiting strippers, to the face there are a myriad of mini-games placed in to make an immersive enveloping world that makes this title catchy and actually very difficult to put down once you’ve picked up. And this is all before the online portion of the game even launches, an open world with virtually all of the same features of the offline game and completely customizable characters. I won’t bore you with all the details, but take it from me as somebody who hardly plays video games to a hardcore degree that even if you’re not about the annoying levels of hype the game receives you will definitely be satisfied with this title and if you only pick up one video game every four years this is a good one to choose. Grand Theft Auto V is definitely a game-changer for the video game industry and it’s definitely worth your time.