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GTA V Review


There are a hundred and ones things to do in Los Santos but before taking in the sights and sounds of this bustling playground I first have to find the right radio station as for all of the shootouts, drive-bys and races, they just do not feel right without the right music tracks. For me it’s not the mindless violence and debauchery that I associated with the GTA series but its outstanding music selection, with the likes of Mr Misters Broken Wings setting the scene for Vice City or San Andreas and its Dr Dre tracks. These short songs really set the scene for the rest of the game; so once the action packed intro is over with and I get my first real taste of the open world, it's straight to the radio dial to flick through the channels. 

Unfortunately instant gratification of the purchase does not come with the first hour being a little jarred in its intro, offering a lot of changes and info to take in through fierce gun fights and high speed car chases along with a small prompt that pops up at the most awkward of times. Add to that the ever slippery handling of the sports cars which offer a real challenge before frustration slips in and cars get wrapped around poles and stuck on barriers; however it’s not so much of a learning curve as slowly remembering how these games handled in the past, but it all comes back, and once it clicks, all of the earlier hassles are a distant memory.

Aside from a brief prelude, the game starts off with Franklin, a gangbanger who realises the futility of his situation and wants bigger and better things, but is struggling to see what that could be. Working for a bent car salesman offering dodgy credit, it’s all high risk with little gratitude so after a chance meeting with a disgruntled car owner, things start to change for Franklin, though it’s not necessarily for the better. It is here that the GTA V makes it first large departure from the series norm with the ability to switch between the main characters, Franklin, Michael and Trevor who comes in a bit later. Initially an idea that I was most concerned about, it turns out to be a masterstroke from Rockstar, allowing the game to have a broader story and having the three leads clash, each with their own distinct personalities that offers all sorts of classic Rockstar banter and crazy situations to shoot and drive your way out of.

For those familiar with the GTA formula, the main mission requirements have changed very little, with an assortment of missions available to you and the story giving you snippets of what to expect from the surrounding world. As you play the game will put you through some pretty exhilarating scenarios from car chases and shootouts to drug deals that go south. The three main characters also allow for a wider variety of their own missions, meeting separate supporting characters who offer their own little stories, missions and jobs, breaking away from the main narrative but building even more personality for each of them. Even though missions are of a familiar style, Rockstar have expanded the game greatly in pretty much every aspect, a major change being the shooting mechanics that have been dramatically improved. It has to be said shooting was a bane of previous games, but it's now a dream to use with fluid cover based mechanics, moving behind cars or peeking around a corner, pulling your chosen weapon with a snap-to-aim for easy body shots or adjusting the sights for more devastating head shots. Each weapon you have purchased is also easily selected from a pop-up radial menu allowing for quick and easy selection in the heat of the battle. Missions are also now sensibly check pointed, so even with failed missions the game does not punish you too harshly, instead sending you back to a sensible break in the action.

The new changes to weapon control and gameplay all nicely come together when it comes to the heist action, something that has been a long time coming to the GTA series and is perfectly executed. From initial planning to the actual heist itself, you have quite a lot of input into how each job will go down, first by deciding the best way to approach the job, be it noisy, guns blazing or quietly, with as little action as possible, though this will come with even more planning in obtaining the required equipment. Once set on a plan you then have to pick a team, with each member offering their skills for a cut of the takings; the better your hired hands are,  the more they will ask for, giving you the option to either go for a flawless heist but with a smaller cut or allow an inexperienced member to join, hoping that they keep it together and pull off a successful heist, earning little cash for the job but in return gaining more experience. Once all set and ready it becomes really heart pounding stuff, with the game prompting you to switch between your characters at the relevant moment, giving you first hand the best action the heist has to offer until you are out of reach from the law and can finally take a breath again.

After successful heists you then have the joy of spending all that lovely loot, you could sink it into the stock market or buy property, or on the other hand you could go ahead and customise your game to suit your mood, tricking out your motors and buying accessories for your armoury or even buy some new duds. You can also try out a new hairdo or get some ink done at the tattoo parlours, the world is littered with many distractions to splash some cash on.

As with many open world games, it’s when you travel away from the beaten path that you will find all sorts of surprising discoveries and GTA V is full of them. Whereas the likes of Skyrim is all about caves and loot, in GTA V it’s all about the people, with you walking into the middle of a hilarious conversation, stopping muggers or even getting mugged yourself, it feels like you are in a living, breathing world with the inhabitants doing their own thing away from the camera. With such a huge open world it’s hard to believe that it is full of content, but it is, be it in the city or the mountainous countryside, there is a huge assortment of side missions and other activities to take part in. Activities can be anything, from target ranges to tennis tournaments, mountain biking and drug smuggling; there is an awful lot to distract you from the main story. Rather than just being amusing time wasters each is also able to help boost your characters stats, with drug runs increasing flight skills or participating in races improving your wheelman skills. Between the three main characters they each have separate skills that set them apart from one another, plus a special ability that further makes them more independent from one another, with Franklin being able to slow time and handle cars more skilfully when weaving through traffic, Michael using bullet time and Trevor able to go into a rage, taking more damage and in turn dishing more out.

As to be expected with the GTA series the presentation is fantastic, with the game easily handling whatever you put it through, with multiple pile ups on the highway or explosions that almost rip through the screen, GTA V always manages to keep to the finest detail, from shop fronts to the dusty roads. This is all held tougher with some convincing character animations, a well scripted vocal track and environmental sound effects that really put you in the game world. To add an even more cinematic feel to the game, even without the radio blaring your favourite tunes, there is also a beautiful incidental track, changing from low electronic beats reminiscent of the movie Drive soundtrack to more familiar Hip Hop beats or unnerving low hums of instruments, indicating that something serious is about to happen or its perfectly timed to ramp up the tension during a heist, every noise adding adds even more heart pounding stress to the already thrilling gameplay.

Even when away from your console, iOS users also have the ability to still dip the world of Los Santos by downloading the iFruit app. Here you are able to look after Franklin’s dog Chop via a virtual pet app by making sure he is fed and watered, buying gifts and even taking him for walks in a fun little touch screen game. With iFruit you are also able to customise your vehicles, buying parts, change the colour and customise your licence plates before submitting it to the main game to be delivered to a custom shop. iFruit is a fun little addition that, whilst not compulsory for the game, is a great little extension and further proof on just how much attention to detail Rockstar have put into this game.

Of course the GTA games also come with their own element of controversy and this iteration is no different with plenty of graphic scenes and adult content that make it not suitable for anyone under the age on the box, however it never comes off as cheap and always has a place in the grander feel of this fantastic world. With a story that will entertain throughout and a list of other activities that puts any other game to shame, Grand Theft Auto V never lets up once it’s under your skin.

Words by Ash Buchanan.
(Version Tested: Xbox 360)

Pros

+ A huge bustling world to play in.
+ Great action be it on foot, on road or in the air.
+ Yet another outstanding soundtrack full of licensed and original music.
+ There is even more to come with an online mode.

Cons

- Initial controls take getting used to.

Edited On 21 Sep, 2013

Comments
( 26 )
Anonymous user's avatar
sam 3 years ago
whats new about it? is it still the same i.e run around sandbox island(bigger) shoot people pretend to be a gangstar steal cars? doesnt seem like a new game, just a re-release thats bigger same ideal as call of duty, hip fire complete the game, theres nothing new imo it would be a good game if they added something "new". just an overpriced re release.
Anonymous user's avatar
sam 3 years ago
i see it as more of a trend than a game right now.
Anonymous user's avatar
nathan 3 years ago
The story is much more immersive than IV and the character development is solid; being able to control all three main characters ties this all together brilliantly. It's improved on IV and has added more options which weren't avaliable (such as the ability to fly jets, underwater areas etc.) We haven't even seen multiplayer yet but from what has been read it has been improved greatly from GTA IV with better coop missions among other stuff. It's basically a lot deeper. You can say it's the same style as GTA IV but what are you really expecting? They've outdone themselves with what they have added to V. They could have held back on a lot of the content and copied CoD by milking it and dragging out features but they haven't. GTA V is a lot more steps forward from GTA IV compared to the amount of steps CoD takes with their new releases. It's definately worth playing!
LFC Bywater's avatar
LFC Bywater 3 years ago
Not just a re-release, It's great fun to pay. Being able to play as 3 different characters is new, Planes weren't in 4. This game going to now develop an anti group like COD where it's "cool" to hate on a game because it is popular and successful? Give me a break.
LFC Bywater's avatar
LFC Bywater 3 years ago
Play*
Anonymous user's avatar
sam 3 years ago
Not really ive never been a fan of GTA i would if they actually made it into a decent game or changed it once in a while, but from my perspective (not a gta fanboy). I cant see any difference. This is entirely my opinion, not some group as you place it, jets? you could fly stuff in like the second game....(not new) im talking new like so you could destroy the environment and people rebuild it or something like that you say underwater you could swim in old games? its not really new being able to go under lol. Fans cant really get what im saying i suppose but i admire what they've done you do it in the games industry. Copy, paste.
LFC Bywater's avatar
LFC Bywater 3 years ago
There's only so much that they can do, You have come up with destructible environments, what else can they do? They have took things that people enjoy doing and improved them massively.
Dead's avatar
Dead 3 years ago
An old troll returns I see. I'm finding it quite mundane really, played 6-8 hours of it and it's OK, technically brilliant undoubtedly, but it feels very dull after SR4, and all the characters are complete douches, not just the leads, I think I've found one in the whole game so far that was at all slightly relatable and likeable, everyone else is just a complete dick, even the dog.
LFC Bywater's avatar
LFC Bywater 3 years ago
You saying I'm the troll or sam?
Dead's avatar
Dead 3 years ago
Sam, I know you haven't been around a lot lately, but you've never trolled.
LFC Bywater's avatar
LFC Bywater 3 years ago
Oh good, I was gunna say I don't troll lol.
Dead's avatar
Dead 3 years ago
Yeah, he did some weird trolling a while back, totally insistent that cloud gaming and digital only were the best thing since sliced bread.
Anonymous user's avatar
sam 3 years ago
What? I don't remember this so I clearly wasn't insistent and sliced bread is pretty crap kingsmill is blue before they dye it! Weird trolling? I don't troll I say my opinions. They're is such a thing as an opinion on the Internet still, a lot of idiots seem to forget this and forget what "trolling" actually is. A little off topic either way. To the guy before...Hmm what else can they do?:o how's about actually change the game once in a while lol. I don't see how people can't see it's the same game every time I wish I went into the industry with such an easy job ha. More ways to improve it; add a better physX engine, maybe a different story for once hah "play a gangster get rich screw your friends along the way or get screwed". You can't see my perspective the only real difference this game made was when they went from 2D(ps) to 3D (ps2). That's the only noticeable change imo. I'm not a fan of cod but jeez even they've made more changes to there games over the years lol
Anonymous user's avatar
sam 3 years ago
Either way it's not 10/10 and never should be. I leave now
Dead's avatar
Dead 3 years ago
Forgetful troll is forgetful.
Whitey's avatar
Whitey 3 years ago
CoD made more changes than GTA? Are you serious?
Anonymous user's avatar
sam 3 years ago
Seeing as you dont know what a troll actually is ill help you :). A troll is someone who flames alot, states the obvious when its not or just consistantly horassess someone. As i said before i share my opinions, not a troll learn the english language before you use it (now im trolling). And yes i am serious.
Dead's avatar
Dead 3 years ago
Serious troll is serious, but also stupid.
Anonymous user's avatar
sam 3 years ago
How am I stupid I'm actually using this comments section to reply to this review your just being an ass? Typical fanboys!:(
Dead's avatar
Dead 3 years ago
You really don't realize the absurdity of your statement?
Zombieflamingo's avatar
Zombieflamingo 3 years ago
I do not see how Gloria is being a fanboy as she has already said she is not overly impressed by it so far. I can understand you not liking it as not everyone is going to like the same type of game but complaining that it is too similar to the previous ones is a bit stupid is that not meant to be what sequels are they take what was good about the previous games and they refine it and hopefully make it better. Also the last one that had the story as you described was San Andreas none of the other characters after that have been gangsters out to make money granted they are criminals but each have their own motives about why they are doing it.
Dead's avatar
Dead 3 years ago
He's just a troll ZF, the sad part is he may not even realize he is doing it, which I suppose just makes him a dick.
Robichoico's avatar
Robichoico 3 years ago
Not particularly feeling GTA V at all. The missions are great but outside of that....it all just feels like a big playground but not a whole lot to do. Characters are pretty terrible, not one I like. And things that were confirmed in the game like Stealing Trains is actually absent outside of main missions. And where are the Firefighter, Vigilante and Medic missions? Those were GTA staples. I honestly cannot understand how a game can be on a more powerful console yet LACK half of the features that made 3, Vice City and San Andreas so amazing. The map is big tho. Which is nice. It's just a shame you can't do much with it.
Dead's avatar
Dead 3 years ago
Think you have to buy the associated properties to unlock those missions Robi, pretty sure after I was killed and respawned at a hospital I got a message come up saying if I bought the hospital I would unlock paramedic missions.
Robichoico's avatar
Robichoico 3 years ago
That might be i. I know the Taxi missions are in that way
Im Going Space's avatar
Im Going Space 3 years ago
EDIT2: apologies for the wall of text, line breaks and the like dont seem to be working. i was immensely bored by SR4 as soon as i finished it. as with the previous ones (bar SR2) theres absolutely 0 fun to do after finishing it. there are a fair few changes to the game, you can tell that the second you start playing! shooting, health system, lots of activities (hunting, tennis, yoga, diving for items ect ect), All the physics redone (cars, planes, boats, choppers, bikes, ragdoll ect), improved cover brought back and expanded the car modification system, the decisions have more consequence than which of two people die at the end. blah blah blah, i could rant on, but i cant be arsed. the fact is people will pay £50 for a reskinned cod or fifa, but the second that a company does actually massively improve on a game for its sequel, flamey opinions.

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