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With Game Informer's GTA V cover arriving early next month, I found myself wondering exactly what sort of revelations about Rockstar's latest open-world opus would excite me the most. Here, in no particular order, are the five changes I would love to hear about in GI's cover story:I. More Weapon Variety
If you're like me, you remember one of the most striking changes from San Andreas to GTA IV was the level of polish displayed in the weapons. Many of SA's guns felt a bit slapdash and silly, to the point where dual-weilding sawed-off shotguns seemed humorously normal. In GTA IV, every bullet fired from each different gun with a different sense of force and, thanks to the excellent Euphoria physics, a similarly appropriate impact. Not to mention the goofy 'wounded waddle' characters would do after being shot in the legs. Hilarious!What San Andreas lacked in quality, it more than made up for in quantity. With an abundance of options for all varieties of firearms, melee weapons and even bizarre tools like spray paint and fire extinguishers. In no other game is it possible to murder a man with the bouquet of flowers you intend on gifting to your virtual girlfriend. Also, who doesn't miss stalking around the hills of California's wooded countryside wielding a chainsaw and clad in full gimp suit and hockey mask. Because I sure do. In real life. Bring some of this variety back to the forefront in GTA V and salivate at the thought of throwing tear gas on a crowded flight of stairs. Did I mention how funny knocking people down stairs in GTA IV is?
II. Less Aggravating Races and ChasesOh no! Tony Pizzarelli is making off with those diamonds without paying you for them! Better hop into the conveniently placed sports car and get after him! Oh, but don't shoot or ram him until some vague point in the sequence, because he's invincible before then. Also he'll never make a mistake on his scripted path, despite the way the jerk always made you drive him around in those earlier missions like he hadn't passed his permit test.
While the Chases in GTA IV were an improvement over the ones in the PS2-era games ("Wu Zi Mu" and "Farewell, My Love..." from San Andreas are two particularly egregious offenders in my mind), they still had an abundance of situations like the one above: having to stay annoyingly close to an invincible enemy racing along a lengthy, predetermined path. LA Noire fixed some of this by giving players a much greater window to subdue the enemy, and often having the opponent crash if the chase went on for too long. Still, being able to get out of your car and snipe the enemy driver before he makes that first turn, or even having the option to slap a tracer on their car to avoid losing them would empower players to find the same creative solutions in races that they often do in firefights.III. More Large-Scale MissionsAsk anyone what their favorite mission in GTA IV was and they'll likely say the bank heist with the McReary family: "Three Leaf Clover." Requiring a great deal of preparation and presenting a decent challenge to even well equipped players, the mission had just enough set piece moments and opportunities for improvisation to make it the most memorable operation in the game.
GTA III, Vice City and San Andreas all featured Bank/Casino heists as top-tier story missions, and GTA V is poised to carry on this tradition with tons of Hollywood flair and style. Giving players a degree of freedom in how to conduct the operation would be an extra coat of icing on a delicious ice cream cake. And never, EVER make us do anything like the Zero or Airplane School missions in San Andreas again. Seriously, those were awful.
IV. Rewarding ExplorationGTA IV gave us a Hilary Clinton-faced Statue of Liberty (complete with a massive, beating heart), but I'd have to use a wiki to remember any other significant easter eggs and hidden secrets present in the game. While most of the famous secrets in the GTA games are either present through glitches (Ghost Town) or are simply invented by the community (Bigfoot, Leatherface and Ratman), the amount of excitement these bizarre little rumors and discoveries generate is undeniable and represents a largely untapped method of greatly extending the replay value of the games.
Go ahead, Rockstar! Throw in a single, obscure enemy who only appears in a certain cabin at a certain time during certain weather. We'll all be way too thrilled about it.V. CheatsAchievements have largely killed cheats in most big-budget games that aren't made by Volition, making subsequent playthroughs and post-game antics far less compelling than they could be. Being able to instantly heal, manipulate wanted levels and spawn cars in GTA IV was fun for a while, but nothing compares to the creative gameplay possibilities of the Pedestrian Riot and Flying Car cheats present in the PS2 games.
Attempting to cross the entire map while drawing fire from every gangbanger, hillbilly and Elvis-impersonator that spotted you along the way was an exhilarating and tense player created challenge that has been sorely missed in the more recent entries of the franchise. GTA V, with its diverse environments, is the perfect place to see it make a return.
So there you have it. While I doubt GI will have the room to go into minute details such as cheats and secrets in next month's issue, I'd like to think that Rockstar will have some cool surprises in store for players with sky high expectations similar to my own. Let me know your thoughts on my current list, as well as anything you feel should have been included!And hell, give us a jetpack again. That was awesome.
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