Its here. One of the most anticipated games of this generation and so is our review of Grand Theft Auto V.
Rockstar have made their fair share of games of the last decade or so and they have mostly been well met by everyone (bar the usual nay sayers), but does GTA V meet the expectations and hype of millions of people? This is what I’ll try to get across in my review of GTA V.
So, after an 18GB download, and slightly lengthy installation which seemed like an eternity, I was practically frothing at the mouth in anticipation of setting foot in Los Santos again. It was here, welcoming me with open arms… and I did not shy from the embrace.
The game revolves around our three protagonists: Michael, Franklin and Trevor. One is to another like chalk is to cheese, marmalade is to milk, honey is to…Well, you get my point.
GTA V starts with the usual mission/tutorial dynamic teaching the basics to players old and new. We get introduced to two of the three playable characters in this intro mission (Set 9 years before we come in)and as far as intros into games and their controls go, it was a well scripted one.
Michael: Our bank robber, middle aged and living under witness protection in Los Santos with his wife and kids, he is fed up. All he wants to do is relax and drink, yet something is eating away at him from the inside..an Itch..
Franklin: Franklin is GTA V’s CJ, Living in a poorer neighborhood to Michael, Franklin does what he can to set himself up to get out. He wants to make paper and doesn’t mind how.
Trevor: Trevor is a Meth making, dealing, gun smuggling Psychopath without remorse. We don’t get to know much about him until he is unlocked later but boooy is he fun!
The story is your average GTA story, make it big. Now before people set after me with pitchforks, I loved it, it does get better as it goes on but for the first quarter of the game it doesn’t feel special until everything opens up. Now I don’t want to spoil anything but I will say that its fun, engaging and thoroughly enjoyable.
As for the way you play through the story, you are able to switch between the three main character at will with a simple press on the d-pad and a flick of the right analogue stick which after the first couple of uses feels effortless and as easy as selecting a weapon (which is incidentally done in the same way albeit L1/RB and the Right stick). Now as Rockstars aim was to have them living in a persistent world, they don’t just sit around in the last place you left them, no, they live out their day to day lives which means when you switch to a character, you don’t know what they’ll be up to – be it leaving a strip club, being chased by the cops or waking up semi naked and hungover on a train track- and I think this is fantastic.
The story itself is engaging and thoroughly enjoyable albeit a bit lackluster when compared to the sheer size of the world and what is constantly going on. This is the plague of any sandbox game though and not necessarily a mark against GTA V, especially when the real fun starts near the end of the story and on after its completion.
For those of you who have played GTA IV, the controls remain mainly similar bar the new additions such as character switching so its all about brushing up rather than learning a ton of new mechanics chucked in with the old. For those of you who are new, its a simple, straight forward and accessible control scheme and game that only gets better with time and progress.
The driving in GTA V is a mix between GTA III’s ‘arcadey’ feel and GTA IV’s more realistic approach and it works wonders, it strikes a great balance and it is evenly lathered across all cars which makes it so that you don’t feel the need to hunt for a car you fancy driving like in IV.
The shooting aspect is largely similar to IV as well in the sense that L2/LT Aims and locks on, the right stick flicks between targets and R2/RT is the trigger with O/B to reload. There is quite a bit of variety in the weapons much like the previous games ‘3 tier’ weapon hierarchy though the lines a bit more blurred this time round, not to mention the attachments and paint themes you can get the lovely gruff people at Ammu-Nation can apply for you.
If you feel that you just can’t get that lovely OHKO whilst running past someone, or you miss a barnyard door from 2 feet away fret not! the game has a mini RPG element in the way of stat increasing (Separate stats per character of course). Want more strength? Get in fist fights. Better accuracy? Head to the shooting range! Just about everything you do affects one stat or another so you can focus on what you love most or go across the board.
Now, before I start, let me get this out of the way. I love the look of this game, everything feels animate, it looks like a real hustling city, the countryside is awash with sand and feels barren where its supposed to. Oh and the vehicles! the vehicles look b-e-a-u-tiful (cheekily close the their real life counterparts too!).
Now…here’s the proverbial ‘but’. You can practically hear the console sobbing in self pity as it knows had it been packing a little more heat it could have ran it worthily. There is an awful lot of ‘Pop-in’ even during the intro cutscene as well as a lot of missing textures / not fully loaded ones at high speed on the likes of roads and building faces. The character / vehicle models, however, look fantastic as do the interiors of buildings. The actual world itself is beautiful, right from the ghetto’s up to the highest point of Mt.Chilliad.
All in all it is impressive what Rockstar managed to achieve on such dated hardware, and I for one am pleased I didn’t have to wait until next gen.
Overall Grand Theft Auto V is an extremely impressive and well polished game and if you are still reading, stop. Go buy this game.