Grand Theft Auto is the controversial series that revolutionized open-world gaming. It is well known and that shows from the fact that Grand Theft Auto 5 racked up a whopping $1 billion in just three days after its launch.
GTA V takes us back to San Andreas. Whether it’s the open deserts and expansive mountains of Blaine County or the bustling city of Los Santos, GTA V never disappoints. This massive map has a variety of environments for the player to explore. For the first time ever in a GTA game, Rockstar gives you the ability to explore the depths of the ocean. Swim down and you might find treasures, sunken ships, and much more. Los Santos is a living, breathing world. You can find a couple arguing, people trekking up a mountain, families having fun at the fair. This adds to the vision of the game by making it feel like every single inhabitant of Los Santos has their own personal life.
Los Santos and Blaine County offer you a multiplicity of activities to partake in whether it’s tennis, golf, darts, street races, and the list goes on. All of these activities affect the newly-added stats bar. You can improve your driving by participating in street races, increase your strength by playing tennis, increase your flying abilities by going to flight school, or even go to the firing range to improve your shooting stats.
As usual with every GTA game, there are missions. For the first time in any GTA game, you have the option to switch between three different characters. Michael is a retired bank robber that assumes a new identity after a heist gone wrong. He does so to live a normal life with his wife and kids. His life is a domestic disaster. His wife cheats on him and his kids can’t stand him. Franklin is a young man tired of the image of the stereotypical gang-banger. He sees a bigger picture and wants more for himself. Trevor, on the other hand, is an off-landish unstable maniac. Their stories start off separately and begin to weave into a seamless narrative of criminality and mayhem. This three person narrative fixes the pacing issues of previous GTA games. The heists are wonderfully executed and always enticing. While the freedom of pulling off your own heist is a little exaggerated, it never takes away the excitement and intensity of performing them.
Besides violence and mayhem, this game can be seen from a satirical light. Commercials mocking western culture are sprinkled through-out the game. Whether it’s Chains of Intimacy (possible a parody of 50 Shades of Grey) or Righteous Slaughter 7 (“pretty much the same game as the last”), nobody is safe from Rockstar’s tongue-in-cheek commentary. The controversial torture scene involving Trevor is also satire. I had a hard time watching Trevor commit these acts, but what Rockstar was trying to do was convey a message. “The media and the government would have us believe that torture is some necessary thing. We need it to get information, to assert ourselves. Did we get any information out of you?” says Trevor. While I am not exactly a fan of this debatable scene, I can see what Rockstar was going for.
I am not much of a fan of GTA IV. I found it dull, the driving mechanics to be sub-par at best, and the world not as exciting as the game that preceded it. I found it to be overrated, but this was not the case with GTA V. The driving is excellent, the cover system is now more responsive than ever, and the inclusion of mission checkpoints is a welcome addition. The days of failing a mission and having to repeat a long driving portion are over. The weapon wheel helps you navigate your weapons effortlessly. Being able to switch between characters is great. Switch at random times and you may find Trevor in the middle of a police chase, Michael arguing with his wife, or Franklin getting drunk. These characters live their lives while you aren’t controlling them. I feel as though everything was an improvement over GTA IV. I have spent 58 hours in Los Santos and can easily say that GTA V is one of the best games of the year.
+Seamless narrative that is both intense and hysterical at times.
+Amazing graphics and gameplay.
+Incredible open-world experience.