Grand Theft Auto V Review

Developer: Rockstar North    Publisher: Rockstar Games     Rated: M for Mature
Release Date: September 17th, 2013   Platform: Xbox 360, Playstation 3   MSRP: $59.99

By Domenic Dalpez

In what could be the game of the year, and arguably best in the series, Grand Theft Auto V hits players with the story of three different characters from when they meet to when they try to make it big in the revisited, re-enlarged city of Los Santos (and its surrounding towns).

Grand Theft Auto V (GTA V for short) builds upon the base from its predecessor and revamps the entirety of the game to give it better control and way more fun. One of the biggest improvements would be the driving, it feels very refined and more precise in its handling. From taking a drive around town, to missions where you have to take down an enemy, players should feel like they have better handling of their control and less frustration. Motorcycles, the bane of Grand Theft Auto IV’s existence, were slippy and uncontrollable at high speeds; players most likely found themselves slipping, sliding, crashing into vehicles, falling off, getting back on and repeating this process over and over to get where you are going. Whereas in GTA V, motorcycles are able to turn corners and weave in and out of traffic without having the player go though said routine. Gun handling also feels very refined in its accuracy and handling, providing solid, highly entertaining gameplay. Overall, gameplay is one of the best, providing not only an addictive experience that leaves you wanting more. This is definitely a game you will not regret playing.

With greater vehicles comes a great chance of making your getaway.

With greater vehicles comes a great chance of making your getaway.

Along with the gameplay improvements, the graphics have seen a huge overhaul. Even though it is to be expected since GTA IV came out four years ago, for being a current gen and open world game it looks fantastic. The biggest pro is how the transitions from cut-scenes to gameplay flow seamlessly into one another.

The story is for your own enjoyment and pleasure so I will go into little detail as possible; the story in one aspect is where different sides collide. On one side is Michael, a character that character reminiscent of an Italian mobster. The other being Franklin, the classic stereotypical gangster from the hood. These two meet together for the first part of the main storyline that could have been a full game on its own as Michael takes Franklin under his wing for a mentor-protégé relationship. As the story progresses, you get introduced to Trevor, a white trash psychopath with an addiction to power, money and drugs. Not to mention, he likes to piss off the people around him and keep his enemies uncomfortable with his crazy antics. GTA V’s story follows the events following their team up, exploring their backgrounds, their oddball friends and how they eventually end up working together to make the big bucks in Los Santos. Couple this with the crazy situations the characters are placed in, the sharp satirical bits and eclectic supporting cast make the story an exciting, exhilarating experience.

The main cast of GTA V: From left to right: Michael, Franklin, and Trevor

The main cast of GTA V: From left to right: Michael, Franklin, and Trevor

If the story and main missions seem are not enough, side missions pop up across the sprawling map of Los Santos that are divided into two main categories; “Strangers and Freaks” or character-based missions. Character-based missions have you helping out the other main characters’ friends with different jobs. “Strangers and Freaks” are people that give you odd tasks to do; one has you collecting celebrity items. While that may not sound strange on its own, it is the items and the people who are asking you that make it rather freaky. These side missions pair well with the main storyline to create an immersive memorable world that feels alive and keeps you on your toes wondering what Michael, Franklin and Trevor will do next.

The soundtrack, like the GTA V’s predecessors, is split into two parts; the music collection and composition. Players have various radio stations they can flip through in the car to listen to their preferred style of music; the stations ranged from speech radio to dubstep. The other music is more background music for cut-scenes and missions. It allows for seemless transitions and player’s their own listening experience.

The Xbox 360 version of the game comes on two disks, the first being the installment disk and the second for playing the game. While Rockstar has said not to install the second disk for the optimal experiences (especially less texture glitches), the game still has its fair share of them. Occasionally, you could be driving down a street that is still not completely rendered and your car could look like it’s stuck inside the road. Or, it could be that the car looks inside the road because it is inside the road. This is based on an experience I had while riding a motorcycle; a car roof had been sticking out of the ground and I had not noticed it. Before I knew it, I flew off the bike I was riding and hit the pavement, only to find a 5k hospital bill hitting me. This may seem like a major issue, but it is more a minor nuisance. Players can just pick their feet back up and be on their way in no time. Whatever you do, just watch out for those car roofs hiding inside the roadway!

As of now, having finished the main storyline, the game’s replayability is a little on the fence. There is always the chance to replay a mission over to get a better score, however I found myself not wanting to at all. GTA V is the kind of game where players might replay a mission over and over again to only grow tired of it and potentially halting exploration of the story. That is because you just worked on getting the best score in every mission that you could. Also, the scoring systems can be disjarring of the immersive experience of the game, creating the idea that the game is more focused on that than on story.

My all around experience playing GTA V is one of a surprise. The game felt like it kept pulling me back in, getting me to put the disk back in my Xbox and uncover more of the story through its missions. I found myself not wanting to play anything else until I finished it. This is the type of game I want more developers to create, not ones that are easy to put to the side to never finish or come back to later. Though my review is covering only the single player (the multiplayer review coming shortly!), the campaign is definitely a must play!

Pros:
Improvement to game play, graphics, and better controls in driving…especially being able to fly aircrafts…

Cons:

Texture and game glitches that can on occasion cause minor nuisances in effecting game, realism when crashing vehicles can often cause player to wonder why vehicle has barely a scratch on it…

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About

The moment he was born, Terry Randolph knew he would play video games. Okay....not the exact moment he was born, but definitely at an early age. His affinity for video games was cemented in the multiple tantrums he threw while being dragged away from playing Sonic the Hedgehod at his daycare when his parents came to pick him up. Since then, Terry continues to enjoy all the experiences gaming provides. He also loves to write short stories and ambitious novel projects. Last Token Gaming was born from both his love of writing and video games. Twitter: @wanderinganbu Email: terry.r@lasttokengaming.com

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