Grand Theft Auto is a game series beyond compare. You expect it to be dirty, raunchy, insulting, explicit, and to defy all of the rules and norms of society. The most recent addition to this historical compilation of games, Grand Theft Auto V, lived up to all of the hype that it got before it was released. Just to show how massive GTAV is, here are a couple facts. It cost $256 million to develop and took several years for the game to be released. GTAV sold 29 million copies so far and is due to sell more. Not to mention the collective $1 billion in lawsuits that the game is facing for cop killing, influencing violence, etc. So, basically, it’s a big deal. Here’s what I thought of the game after playing it in entirety.
Lovers of the GTA series were worried that the story mode may be lacking or shorter due to the new online mode. To everyone’s surprise, the story mode was pretty involved and just as long (if not longer) than the previous games. The ability to choose between which of character’s stories you could play and when took the story mode to a different level. The stories were interconnected at times (during heists), but it was amazing how each character had their own unique missions.
The heists were very elaborate in you determined how successful the job was. Rockstar did this by letting you pick the crew members and how loud or quietly you went into the heist. There were highly skilled crew members that require a higher cut and less skilled ones with a lower cut. If you chose to go with the lower skilled members, something usually went wrong during the heist depending on how horrible the crew members were. If you play the side missions, you will run into people that you can use in your heists and they are usually higher skilled and require a lower cut.
Franklin: Franklin is the first character that you get to play as for an extended amount of time (you play as Michael in the very beginning, but it’s not explained and you don’t really know that it was Michael until later on in the game). He’s a muscle head gang banger that lives on Grove Street. If you’ve played GTA: San Andreas, you should know the rivalry between the Grove Street gang (green) and the Ballas (purple). He lives with his aunt and has relationship problems that are hinted at throughout the story. His special ability is driving (you are able to slow down traffic around you and have increased controls while bobbing and weaving through traffic) and he is just thrown into the story when he is sent to repo a car from Michael’s son. Throughout the story he has to put up with Michael and Trevor’s arguments and past and ends up being the one that decides their future as well.
Michael: Michael is a middle-aged, angry, ex-con that decided to sell himself out to a FIB agent in order to start over on a clean slate. He doesn’t have a good relationship with his wife or kids. He is the first character you see in the story mode when he’s in his therapy session. His special ability is slow motions shooting. Basically, the entire scene slows down, including Michael, and you’re able to halt death for a short period. Michael is usually the smooth talker among the three and is portrayed as so throughout the story.
Trevor: Trevor is by far my favorite character in the game because he’s just crazy. He was a part of Michael’s crew back in the day and was betrayed by him when a job went wrong leaving a member dead, and Trevor thinking Michael was dead. He isolated himself in the desert running a successful meth lab. Trevor isn’t introduced to us until a little ways into the game after Michael and Franklin pull their first heist. Trevor goes into a rampage when he discovers that Michael isn’t dead and goes to Los Santos to find him. Trevor’s special ability is simply beautiful. He goes into a rampage and basically destroys any and everything in his path.
Lester: Lester, in short, is a smart guy that helps you plan out and execute all of your heists. He also gives Franklin a few jobs and a new house for doing those jobs. You don’t do a single heist in the game without Lester’s help and he’s pretty comical at times. Lester also gives you hints throughout the game on which stocks to buy after you complete side quests for him.
Grapics: As expected, the graphics in this game were superb. When a game as big as this is released at the end of our current gen’s console’s lifetime, you already know the graphics are going to be top notch. The most unexpected beauty graphics wise was the water. Usually, the ocean in GTA games is sub-par at best. In GTAV, you could actually go under water and see debris, fish, and more. The water looked good from the surface as well along with all of the other small details of the game.
Gameplay: Gameplay was pretty smooth as far as fighting and shooting. I didn’t use melee weapons or punch things too often when I played because the first mission gave you a gun to use. It was also pretty easy to get enough money to buy a gun and weapons from the infamous Ammu-Nation. The auto-aim and crappy driving skills of pretty much all of the characters in the beginning took some getting used to. I did think it was clever that you got better at driving and shooting as you played, but it was near impossible to drive to a mission start without crashing into other cars/street signs/people in the beginning.
The Verdict: 10 out of 10
GTAV is among the few games that are predicted to be the Game of the Year for 2013. It lived up to all of the hype and more. I recommend this to anyone who likes to have fun. If you haven’t bought it by now, buy it. If you don’t have a lot of money, rent it. It was worth the $60 I spent on it and may be one of the few games that I replay.