The lights are on
You can make decent money knocking over
liquor stores, arms trafficking, or carrying out hits in Los Santos,
but why be a small-time crook when you can go for the major score?
Grand Theft Auto V protagonist Michael thought he made enough to
retire from a life of crime, but after his family squanders away most
of his ill-gained earnings, he's forced to jump back into the game
with fellow playable characters Trevor and Franklin. The only way
he's going to regain his financial footing is by thinking big.
An aficionado of Vinewood action films,
Michael also loves the thrill of the heist. GTA V peppers five or
six of these big jobs throughout the story, each requiring careful
preparation and execution. If you successfully pull off these jobs,
you can walk away with millions of dollars to spend on luxury
vehicles, helipads, marinas, businesses, weapons, aesthetic and performance car
customizations, or even properties (a reversal of position for Rockstar, who previously told us you wouldn't be able to buy homes).
These major heists typically begin with
a meeting of the minds. As Michael, Trevor, and Franklin kick around
ideas, the player is presented with options on how to approach the
proposed mission. For instance, you could enter a building stealthily
from the roof or bust through the front door, guns blazing. The
choice you make completely changes the dynamic of the heist, and
thanks to the ability to replay missions you can experience both
approaches if you want.
The more complex missions require the
help of specialists like a wheelman, hired gun, or a hacker. You
have cheap and expensive options, but you get what you pay for. The
cheaper hacker may take longer to crack the security network, leaving
you with only 30 seconds to collect all the money you can carry
instead of the full minute you may have received had you spent more
to get a seasoned pro. The drawback to hiring an expert is they
demand a bigger cut of the take. If your hired hands survive the
mission, they will improve and perform better the next time you need
Once you lock down your approach and
hire any specialists you require, you must perform a series of
sub-missions. In the mission Rockstar showed us (which isn't a
major story heist, but a one-of-a-kind mission that shares structural
similarities), the crew plans to rob an armored security truck just
like the famous scene in Heat. Before they can start the mission, the
player must steal the vehicles being used for the job, find a place
to stash the getaway vehicle, and buy some boiler suits and masks to
wear during the heist.
With these sub-missions already taken
care of before the demo starts, we join Franklin just as he's
pulling up to meet Michael and Trevor. After the three exchange
pleasantries, Michael outlines the plan. Trevor needs to find an
elevated perch and serve as the lookout, notifying the other two when
the security truck is nearing the site of the attempted robbery so
they can block the road.
The job starts with the player
controlling Trevor in a first-person view as he looks at the oncoming
traffic through a pair of binoculars to locate the armored truck.
Once he spots it, the camera zooms out and places the player in
control of Michael in the garbage truck, who maneuvers the vehicle to
block the entire street.
When the garbage truck is in place, a
cinematic sequence shows the armored truck approaching the roadblock
and screeching to a halt. Now the camera jumps to Franklin's
first-person perspective behind the wheel of the tow truck. The play
tester steps on the gas and rams into the target vehicle at full
speed. Another cutscene shows the powerful impact of the crash, which
tips the armored vehicle on its side.
The player stays in control of
Franklin, who walks over and places explosives on the back door of
the overturned truck. After detonation, Michael joins Franklin and
the guards emerge with their hands up. The alarm is already sounding,
and police sirens scream in the distance. The team doesn't have
time to collect all the cash, so they take defensive positions and
wait to open fire on the LSPD.
At this point in the mission the player
is given the ability to swap between Trevor, who is perched in an
elevated position with a sniper rifle and an RPG, and the two other
characters, who are both armed with machine guns near the truck. When
the characters are this close together, player-activated switching
happens nearly instantaneously, with the world slowing down for a
split second so the player can reorient before rejoining the fray. To
showcase the speed of these transitions, the play tester fires a
rocket with Trevor and switches immediately to Franklin. Before the
rocket even reaches its intended destination, he's in full control
of the new character.
After disposing of several waves of
cops, a brief reprieve allows the crew to gather the money and make
off in the getaway vehicle, marking the end of a thrilling score.
Jumping from one character to another
repeatedly may sound disorienting on paper, but watching Grand Theft
Auto V in action quells any worry I had about the system.
Smooth transitions make it easy to orient yourself after a switch,
the cinematic sequences add another layer of drama to the
proceedings, and being able to rotate between the characters gives
the players a new level of control in dictating their play style. For
Rockstar, this may be the greatest heist of all.
To read more about GTA V, watch the character trailers released just last week, read our new feature on the open world, or check out our coverage hub.
Email the author Matt Bertz, or follow on Twitter, Google+, Facebook, and Game Informer.
We get to buy properties again? Sweet! I loved having something to spend my cash on, and having safehouses, garages and helipads at my disposal.
This could be good. Looking forward to entering the world of GTA again.