The lights are on
The core combat of Rockstar games has
evolved quite a bit since Grand Theft Auto IV released in 2008. Red
Dead Redemption streamlined the cover system first implemented in GTA
IV, made gunfights more visceral thanks to the animations provided by
the Euphoria technology, and introduced the slow-motion Dead-Eye
mechanic. Max Payne 3 took the combat even further with destructible
environments, kill cams, a last stand mechanic, and more natural
feeling movement when you're running and gunning. For Grand Theft
Auto V, Rockstar is taking the lessons learned from all of its
previous games to bring the combat into the future.
The first thing I notice when Franklin
and Michael open fire during a heist gone wrong is the smoothness of
the transition animations. The characters move effortlessly in
and out of cover, while taking care to avoid exposing themselves to
incoming fire. A library of new animations also introduces a combat-ready jog that makes it easier to shoot from the hip and even allows
players to run, aim, and shoot at the same time. Players can also
drop into a combat roll at the press of a button.
In addition to skills that improve over the course of time, each of the three playable protagonists has a unique special ability that can help get you out of sticky situations. Michael wields the slow-motion Bullet Time feature borrowed from Max Payne. Franklin can slow time when driving to navigate through sticky situations. Trevor has a rage mode that allows him to deal double the amount of damage while taking less damage. During his rage fits, he also has a unique melee attack. Rockstar says each of these special abilities is a limited resource that is best used strategically, so don't expect to spend the majority of your time shooting or driving in slow motion.
The gunplay still takes place in third
person, but Rockstar migrated part of the Max Payne 3 team over to the GTA team to tweak
the camera perspective. The new over-the-shoulder aim view gives you
a clearer field of vision during combat, which makes it easier to
spot enemies at the periphery and while you're behind cover.
Not every gamer prefers the same aiming
system, so Rockstar has included three different options in GTA V: a hard snap-to targeting, a soft targeting, and free aim. The
impressive death animations created by Euphoria normally make it easy
to tell when a body is about to hit the floor, but the tweaked
reticle confirms your kill by turning into an X. When you hover the
reticle over an enemy, it also turns red to indicate the threat.
When you pull the trigger, expect to
have a more visceral connection to the outcome. Some types of cover
are destructible, so you can chip away at hiding spots to expose
enemies. Rockstar says the gunshot damage is now totally dynamic and
specific to particular weapons as well.
When you're on the receiving end of a
hail of bullets, you'll also notice a slightly modified health
system. You can regenerate up to 50 percent of your health, but you
need med packs to make up the difference. Rockstar is also
implementing various kinds of body armor that offer different levels
Melding these improvements together,
Rockstar aims to offer the best gunplay the series has ever seen. We won't know for sure if it succeeded
until we get our hands on the game for ourselves, but given its track
record of improvements with Red Dead Redemption and Max Payne 3, we're bullish on its prospects.
To learn more about GTA V, watch the character trailers, read our new features on the open world, heists, and customization, and check out our coverage hub.
Email the author Matt Bertz, or follow on Twitter, Google+, Facebook, and Game Informer.
Improved gun combat sounds great, but what I really want to see evolve is the melee fighting.
Walking around in a bomb-suit would be awesome :P
The wait for GTA V is going to drive me crazy
see, this company deserves the money they get from these games, attention to detail is what makes or breaks a game to me, one reason max payne 3 was my favorite game of 2012 was because of the fluid shooting and cover, glad to see R* being the best at what they do again
I may buy 50 copies just so Rockstar can make more money to continue making games. For once, a company that puts pride into their work. Hats off to you Rockstar.
What if they have Max Payne's bullet time, eh? :3
I wonder how many different masks they'll have to choose from. That'd be very cool to have this huge selection of different masks for the bank robberies.
"let's see, clown face, scream face, pumpkin head, panty hose ... ah. green skull."
Shooting and driving will be the make or break factors for me... I look forward to seeing how smooth everything works once massive city wide mayhem breaks loose.