Top Ten Tuesday 40

My Top Ten Moments from Grand Theft Auto V

Disclaimer: There are many top ten lists but this one is mine, if you think a game is missing here, I either didn't play it, didn't have any interest in it, or I just hate you.

Pre-List Notes

Grand Theft Auto V was one of the most anticipated games of this generation, and it did not disappoint. With such a massively sprawling open world action game with a classic story of honor among thieves wrapped up in that typical Rockstar parody fashion, the moments were bound to be some of the most memorable in gaming. From gut wrenching betrayals to chasing down crashing airplanes in a dirt bike, Grand Theft Auto V is filled with enough action and dramatic set pieces to fill several big budget Hollywood films. Somehow I've narrowed down all my favorite moments into this week's top ten list. Be warned - MASSIVE STORY SPOILERS below!


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Top Ten Moments from Grand Theft Auto V



10) See No Evil, Hear No Evil, Speak No Evil

One of the funniest and most random comedy bits occurs when our three dysfunctional protagonists meet up with their first mission together - Three's Company. When Dave and Steve explain the situation and claim with a perfectly straight face that some government officials are corrupt, the camera cuts to Trevor, Franklin, and Michael making the classic Three Monkeys pose of See No Evil, Hear No Evil, and Speak no Evil by clapping their hands over the appropriate body parts. The timing is absolutely perfect, the reference is clever, and although it's only a brief scene, it's one of the funniest of the whole game.



9) Franklin's Lassie Moment

The mini-missions in the form of "Strangers and Freaks" were first introduced Grand Theft Auto IV, and thankfully GTA V continues the tradition with the added bonus of marking them on your map. Most provide some good comedy bits with the most memorable when Franklin first meets Dom stuck in a tree from one of his extreme parachuting adventures. Only Franklin doesn't find Dom right away, he meets a dog and has a rather funny exchange reminiscent of the old Lassie television show where Franklin appears to completely understand the dog, extrapolating each woof into a complex sentence. In true Lassie fashion, the dog successfully leads Franklin to the extreme sports nut before abruptly disappearing in another absurd but hilarious moment. Franklin meets the dog later on during Dom's final mission, and seems he is destined to be a Vinewood star:


"But morality is a human construct and you're not hardwired to think that way?"




8) Returning to North Yankton

Much of Grand Theft Auto V's emotional core is centered around the past relationship between Michael and Trevor that ended up with Michael's betrayal and the two being apart for ten years. When they finally reunite, Michael knows it's only a matter of time before Trevor figures out the truth behind Brad and how Michael ended up retired in the lap of luxury. The mission Bury the Hatchet actually plays out slightly differently depending on if you triggered it with Michael or Trevor, and you're treated to some additional backstory with the thieves' troubled past as they return to their old stomping grounds in North Yankton. Trevor discovers the truth and they both pull guns, but the drama is cut short when a bunch of Chinese gangsters interrupt the party and end up capturing Michael, for which Trevor is less than worried. Getting a new location (snow!) is always surprising and fun, even if its only for a single mission, and the tense moments between Michael and Trevor establish their relationship going forward and could influence your decision during the finale.



7) Leavin' On a Jet Plane

There was always something a bit off about Devin's sexy assistant, and finally Michael feels she goes too far when she steals the physical print of his beloved film (It's all digital now anyway, Michael). What follows is one of the most exciting chase sequences in the game as Molly races right onto the tarmac in the Los Santos airport as police and news choppers join in. After she crashes her car she runs for it on foot, and Michael witnesses one of the most gruesome and darkly humorous deaths of the entire game. Michael must then flee the police in a nearby jet engine and put a stamp on one of the most exciting missions of the game.



6) The Paleto Score

One of Rockstar's biggest takeways from Grand Theft Auto IV was how much players enjoyed the epic heist mission Four Leaf Clover where Niko and his Irish buddies rob a large bank in broad daylight, Heat style. Grand Theft Auto V gives us several of these high profile heist missions, complete with the necessary setup preparation and a choice in how to approach them. Our favorite was the Paleto Score where the gang must rob a bank in Paleto Bay expecting tough resistance from the corrupt cops that wish to protect their ill gotten gains. There's no choice in this mission - you rob it loud and noisy. In one of the most satisfying scenes in the game, Michael and Trevor emerge outside to meet the large scale police force in full body armor and a minigun - echoing that classic scene in Terminator 2. Sweeping a minigun across a swath of police cruisers has never been so satisfying! Of course the heist has only just begin, and Franklin gets to play his role by mashing over police cars and officers in a payloader before everyone escapes via a train. The entire sequence would make for an amazing finale for any large scale action movie, but is only one of several awesome heist missions in Grand Theft Auto V.



5) Ramming Speed

Lovable old Trevor embodies all the craziest aspects of a Grand Theft Auto anti-hero, with a reckless disregard for the safety of anyone around him, including himself. So when he's chasing after a large cargo plane in a little cropduster he does the only sensible thing - ram into the back of it and fight his way to the cockpit. An elite security force has nothing on one enraged Canadian! Unfortunately things don't go quite according to plan, and Trevor has to employ an equally exciting escape as he parachutes out of the crashing plane.



4) Bike Versus Plane

Another moment where Trevor chases after plane, but this time the plane is going down and Trevor's on a dirt bike. The mission Caida Libre is one of our earliest tastes of switching characters in a mission, with Michael charged with bringing down the plane while Trevor chases after it. The chase tasks Trevor with a crazy adrenaline filled offroad adventure as you try to keep the plane in your sights while racing over mountains and avoiding traffic. It's a brilliantly designed mission that shows off the exciting kind of adventure you can have outside the city, and the aftermath sets up the very funny subplot of Trevor capturing Mr. Madrazo's wife Patricia and their adorable relationship.



3) The Stand Off and The Savior

Following the Bureau Raid heist Michael goes to meet with Dave and Steve to get out from under their thumb once and for all. Getting out isn't very easy, as Michael must surely know by now, and he's quickly in the middle of a giant standoff between his corrupt government friends, the other corrupt government folks out to nab everyone, and merryweather security forces that are there to ruin everyone's day. A massive shootout follows and Michael only makes it out when Trevor comes to his rescue via a high powered sniper rifle. At that point in the story their relationship was at its lowest point with Trevor believing Michael to be dead, and Michael not even sure how to deal with Trevor once Franklin saved him from Wei Chang, so it was a shocking but hugely satisfying to see Trevor save the day. A final chase from a helicopter throughout the city streets caps off this exhilarating action sequence and pivotal story moment.



2) Franklin's Choice

Up until the finale Grand Theft Auto V does a decent job balancing all three stories and exploring each characters' motivations, desires, and hang-ups. After the Big Score heist Franklin suddenly becomes the central character again as he's given a choice to take out Michael or Trevor in order to save his own skin. Michael betrayed his crew to save his family, while Trevor is just a complete maniac that's one rampage away from getting everyone killed, and you realize that the game has been building up to make either action justifiable. Most folks probably chose Option C as the most satisfying way for all three characters to get their revenge on everyone who's wronged them, but do yourself a favor and check out the endings for Something Sensible and The Time's Come; gut wrenching tales of betrayal and gruesome deaths are on full display. While The Third Way may not be the most action packed of Rockstar’s finales, it does tie up most of the loose ends and gives our poor troubled cast some breathing room and further bonding. Only time and DLC will tell us if their relationship will last.



1) Meet Trevor Philips

You play through several hours and one major heist mission before being introduced to your third player character, the infinitely memorable career criminal Trevor Philips. We meet Trevor, ah, engaged in relations with a random crackwhore while watching news on the Jewel Store heist. Only this isn't just any random crackwhore - it's Ashely, Johnny Klebitz's on again off again girlfriend from GTA IV's first DLC pack, The Lost and Damned. Trevor doesn't waste any time in treating with Johnny, brutally murdering him in hand to hand combat before proceeding to burn down and kill every Lost member right out of Blaine County. It's violent, gruesome, and darkly funny and endearing in that unique Trevor way, and his introductory missions in Grand Theft Auto V are still the most memorable in the game. Never change Trevor.



Wrap Up

Trevor Philips will definitely be regarded as one of the most memorable characters of this generation, and the more you get to know him the more he grows on you in his own psychotic way. When he meets the crazy exercise lady Mary-Anne his reaction is so perfect you can't help but fist pump with him. When he breaks down during the emotional drive with Patricia Madrazo, you see a soft, vulnerable side that makes him both more well rounded and even more hilarious. His relationship with Michael is just like an old married couple, as showcased during their heated argument in Trevor's Meth lab before the Paleto Score setup.

So many more awesome moments just barely missed the cut: Michael and Trevor's hallucinogenic trips with alien and clown murder, Michael's drugged and naked fall from heaven, the thrilling getaway on dirt bikes through the tunnels of Los Santos following the Jewel Store heist. With so many moments it's tough to pick just ten, and that's a testament to how incredible Grand Theft Auto V's single player can be. It's not all gold all the time but the wealth of content, fun story, and memorable moments easily make it my favorite game of the year, even as we enter the crazy holiday season. If you haven't tried it yet I can't recommend it enough, and if you have be sure to hit me up on multiplayer, which I'll continue to sink way too much time into over the coming months!

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