The lights are on
Grand Theft Auto series has always been just as controversial as it
has been innovative. Rockstar makes a habit out of crossing red lines
in regards to both subject matter and technical limitations, and
we've always sat and wondered just how far they would go with their
legendary series. Going into the fifth numbered entry in the series,
I was prepared for some fairly controversial material. I didn't
quite know what to expect, I just knew I was going to be in for a
fun-filled and potentially compelling adventure.
as far as fun goes, I couldn't have been more correct. Grand Theft
Auto V is by far the most fun I've had with any Rockstar game, and
might be the most enjoyable open world game out there. Detail is
something that is going to become more and more prevalent in our
open world games come this next generation, and Rockstar has set the
Santos is brimming with life, and a ridiculous number of activities.
During my fifty-six hours of play time, I'd spent three just
playing tennis with one of the three main protagonist's wife, and
another two racing out in the desert in a dune buggy. The world
itself is enormous and gorgeous. While it has some texture issues
when up close to certain environmental objects, you won't notice
because you'll be too busy driving at a breakneck speed along a
gorgeous mountain path at sunset on a dirt-bike. I found myself
marveling at little things like the dents in my car made from a
pretty traumatic wreck, and at bigger things like shadowing, and
lighting that coated this beautiful city.
think with all the size and beauty that the game would have some
rampant glitching issues. That isn't the case fortunately. Rockstar
has lovingly crafted and then relentlessly polished this game, and I
didn't run into a single noticeable glitch during my play through.
That's not to say that they don't exist, it's just a testament to how
well put together this game is.
biggest jaw-dropper, are the heists. Grand Theft Auto IV sported a
bank robbery mission that fans (including myself) adored. Rockstar
payed attention to what worked best, and then based an entire game
around it, and it couldn't have gone any better. Whether I was
covered from head to toe in thick body armor, shooting down
helicopters while lugging around several million dollars in cash, or
I was taking an Ocean's Eleven-esque route, and gassing a jewelry
store before running away with the goods I was having one hell of a
good time. My only issue was that there weren't enough of them. When
the credits rolled I was left craving another adrenaline pumping
more is that the awe-inspiring moments aren't restricted to the
heists. There were several situations where I found myself standing
still. One such moment was small. I sat and watched a crop duster fly
across a warm sunset, carrying a man who had his list of things to do
for the day that had nothing to do with my in-game goals. It's those
moments I enjoyed the most.
from the visual splendor, the game handles like a dream. Driving and
shooting have been vastly improved since Grand Theft Auto IV, and the
driving in particular is the best it's ever been in the series. There
are still some awkward walking and running problems when in the heat
of a battle, and flight controls are completely unintuitive. As a
whole though, Grand Theft Auto V is a magnificent experience when it
comes to game play.
with all this good there has to be something bad...right? Without a
doubt, yes. The story is by far the weakest Rockstar has crafted
since...well ever. At the core of the story and the games mechanics,
are three main characters: Michael, a bored ex-thief who misses his
glory days, Franklin, a young thief who is tired of the social
trappings of his hood-based neighborhood, and Trevor, who is the
product of drugs, alcohol, insanity, and a disturbing childhood.
claimed to have implemented a three-character system so that they
could address the character inconsistency problems that existed in
previous Grand Theft Auto games. And while the character switching
mechanic is quick and intuitive, the characters are as inconsistent
as ever. Franklin, who is the most mild-mannered of the three, still
gives in to extremely violent acts, and is devoid of a real
personality. He's likeable, but in the sense that he's the sanest of
the three characters and at times means well. Michael has his
moments, but spends every second of his screen time complaining about
his family, or talking about how he wants to live a normal life...and
that's basically it. The skeleton for a compelling character exists
within Michael, but he never really takes an interesting turn. He
just keeps complaining. And Trevor is the worst of the three. While
his portion of the game boasts some of the most insane and bizarre
missions, he's completely inconsistent. One second he's smashing a
character's head in over pretty much nothing, and the next he's off
helping people. You can't claim that he's secretly a good person,
because he's not.
evident when your pulling out a man's teeth with Trevor, and he's
enjoying every minute of it. He even explains that the torture wasn't
for the person being tortured, but for the person committing the
torture. While that's an interesting point, the interactive torture
segment was unbearably gratuitous, and unnecessary. While it might
sound redundant to complain about torture in a series that allows you
to go on a bloody rampage through it's cities, I would have to
disagree. It felt forced, and of course was ridiculously hyper
violent in a game that was actually the tamest in the series up to
that point. Instead of feeling edgy, or making a statement through
violence, it felt like a repulsive and childish attempt to draw some
press coverage. What's worse is that you're not given the option to
skip the scene. For people who just want to play GTA V for the
glorious open world, or because they want to experience a story akin
to Red Dead Redemption, or Max Payne 3, it'll be a completely
far as the story itself goes, it's "okay" at best. Rockstar
starts off by bluntly listing off America's problems through satire,
but they pretty much just let it go there. They never go anywhere
with the criticisms or black humor, they just poke fun and leave. The
ending in particular is very disappointing and cliche, and is decided
on a cell phone...yeah.
could forgive the uninspired story if there were some interesting
side characters, but there aren't any. They're all unsubtle
characatures, who are bland and devoid of humor. The biggest crime
here though are the horrible female characters. If you were going
into Grand Theft Auto V disappointed by a lack of a female
protagonist, don't play this game. Every single female in this game
is either scantily-clad, or an enormous, whiny buzz-kill. What
happened to the likes of Bonnie McFarlane? She was a very strong,
normally dressed female heroin, who could fend for herself. The
vision of women in Grand Theft Auto V is singular and disrespectful.
were many moments in Grand Theft Auto V that can't be replicated
unless you're doing it for real, which is something truly special.
Unfortunately those unenjoyable moments that I listed above brought
what should have been a special installment in gaming history down. I
can't tell if I've grown up since the days of Vice City, and San
Andreas or if Rockstar's maturity has taken a turn for the worse.
Either way, I found myself constantly wanting to check out of what
was otherwise a landmark technical achievement in gaming. Because
of the hyper-violence, and some pretty ridiculous sexism, it's really
hard to recommend it to anyone. I give it an 8.5/10.
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