Alright, I’m gonna be straight up honest with you on two things: One, I’m super late on this review because I can’t put the game down. Two, There really is no way to give a full review of this in like 5-700 words. But I’m gonna give it a shot.
Grand Theft Auto V is actually the 15th installment of Rockstar Games flagship franchise. Our story opens with a bank heist going south very quickly, and after a an aggressive shootout with the police, one of the thieves is killed in an a car accident, one is gunned and killed, one is seriously wounded, and the other escapes. After seeing the funeral of one bandits take place, we flash ahead 10 years.
Now we are in fictional L.A, Los Santos. Micheal DeSanta is living out life as a wealthy retiree in a tumultuous marriage, letting his life drift away in a glass a whisky while staring at the clouds. It’s not until his son’s car is repo’d, where Micheal meets up with Franklin Clinton. Franklin is a gang banger from the rougher sections of L.S., and he’s trying to make some real paper so he can get out of the hood and better his life. Despite their rather awkward meeting, Franklin and Micheal befriend each other. After getting mixed up and indebted to the wrong gang lord, Micheal decides there’s only one way to repay that debt, and that is to come out of retirement to pull off one more heist. The problem is, there is one person out there who shouldn’t have heard about it, Micheal’s old accomplice: Trevor Phillips.
Alright, that is a massively skimmed version of the introduction to this story. As you can tell, this time around we aren’t locked in with one protagonist trying to make his way up the crime ladder. Now we have 3 people in very different stages in their crime career: Micheal has been out for a while and is thrown back in, Franklin is just getting his feet wet and trying to move up, and Trevor is very much in the thick of it.
Because of the constantly jumping perspective, the story at times can feel a bit disjointed. A number of scenarios that could lead up to bigger story arcs tend to get resolved quickly before sort of coming to a game ending conclusion. However, it somewhat works in this case because each character has their own narrative, motivations, and side characters to compliment them. While they cross over from point to point, for the most part it really feels like you are playing 3 different GTA expansions within the same universe. This really can be seen as a positive or negative.
The gritty and grainy realism of Grand Theft Auto IV has been grossly turned down in this installment. The change in setting now brings us brighter colors, more sunshine, sandy beaches, more elaborately dressed pedestrians, and with all that a more arcadey feel. While we haven’t drifted off into the Saints Row realm of arcade goofiness, the vehicles handle a bit more easily and less realistically. Personally, I think that’s an improvement because it allows me to put my foot on the gas without fear of spinning out every couple of seconds. In addition to that, the vehicles can take more a beating this time around as well.
The shooting mechanic has been improved as well. The lock on reticle has now been reduced to a simple white dot. You lose the indication of how much life or armor an enemy has, but there is clear indication of a kill so i feel it works well. Assisted aiming has become incredibly fluid as you can simply flick from target to target with relative ease, and the recoil of the gun usually moves to a headshot on its own anyways.
They have done away with the old “one gun at a time” system for in favor of the more popular selection wheel. The only real downfall is that it does kind of fall into the tired routine of cover-based combat, but depending on what character you are using and how quick on the draw you are? You may not need cover.
GTA is the quintessential sandbox game, so you can expect to do a little bit of everything in the missions. The mainstays are there: Fire fights, stealth missions, street races and so forth. But the big selling point the majority of the major missions in the game will involve you having multiple tasks to do. One such example is a mission where you have to fly a chopper to where a hostage is held, switch characters to repel down the building and smash through the window, switch again so you can snipe the people in the room from a building over, switch AGAIN to the repeller to finish shooting enemies off you before switching back to to the chopper to fly off. Sometimes the changes are mandatory, but sometimes you have the option to stick with certain characters if you’d rather drive of shoot.
And after a very tumultuous launch to it, GTA Online has finally started to get itself rooted. Basically you create your own character and are set free within the GTA V universe. There are a handful of GTA style missions to do where you character will interact with some of the side characters from the story (and as far as I’ve played, one major one).
In addition to some of these GTA missions, you can also rob banks and there are plenty of multiplayer mainstays such as races, death matches, and my personal favorite? Survival mode. The game rewards you working with others as a team, but chances are its gonna be firefight the moment you log in, so be sure to bank your earnings often.
I really could ramble on and on about the features of the game and further accentuate the features I liked, there are also some negatives I could pine about but I will basically summarize it like this. A few months back, I was ready to give The Last of Us game of the year. Now I’m forced to hesitate because months after release I’ve played through the story mode twice and still actively play the online mode. That’s fucking unprecedented for me. There’s no other way for me to sell it, the game is fucking incredible. Even if you don’t like sandbox games, violent games, or GTA in general, you owe it to yourself if you have the platform to play it.
To use a bad baseball analogy? This game could possibly be this console generations walk-off home-run.