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Grand Theft Auto V

Running And Gunning In Grand Theft Auto V

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.

The Specials

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 of protection.

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 worldheists, and customization, and check out our coverage hub.

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  • looks impressive.. saints row impressive....
  • You want me to get my Dick out again?
  • God this game is going to be a masterpiece.
  • Mod
    I wonder if we'll ever get our first person GTA...
  • this game just keeps getting better and better. rock* are definitely the kings of the open world sandbox game.
  • Oh man, I already have $60 invested into this pre-order. Now it's just a matter of waiting, but I don't know if I can't! *pops a few pills, relaxes, and takes a nap*
  • It's all about the small things that make it so much better. ^_^

  • Glad they are fixing up the aiming even more so since RDR. GTA 4's gunplay was terrible but RDR fixed that for the most part and I'm guessing with Max Paynes help this should be fluid like Saints Row is.

  • What an awesome send-off for the PS3 and 360. Rockstar proves once again that they are one of, if not THE, kings of video games.

    Thanks for all this info, Matt.

  • "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."

    I prefer the brief screen flash in RDR over something like this; it made the kills feel like there was more power behind them. But that's such a small thing to complain about. Really looking forward to Five with better movement, camera, and animations than the last GTA. ^^
  • Did you guys get an extended preview of the game or something? Seriously, this article--and the two others you guys wrote up--is much more in-depth than the shallow preview IGN popped out. They didn't even go into detail as to what exactly each character's special skill was, only noting the attribute bars including the special skill bar.

    Great job, Matt. Thanks for delving deeper into the game's features.

  • Now I can use all these improvements in order to go on a bloody rampage as Trevor!!!

  • It sounds like they have made a lot of excellent improvements to the combat in this game. I have been playing GTA IV the last couple days due to all the coverage of GTA V and the combat hasn't aged all that well. But they have made significant progress with both Red Dead and Max Payne, so I am confident this game will be the best yet in terms of its combat.
  • Bullet Time in a GTA game? For the love of God YES!!!

  • @GI is there a glitch in the comment system? My post on this article from 12:16 is gone, but shows up on another version of the article with only four comments. Not that my comment needs to be on this one, but I just thought that was weird.
  • hope you can hit ppl while you are running like saints row 3 and also jump into the car like sr3 am sure u cant play as a female which sucks :( sexist game developers
  • Red Dead Redemption didn't start the dead eye trend...that was Red Dead Revolver first.
  • They DEFINITELY read GTA Forums. We discussed so many of these topics over there. AWESOME.

  • Well, I guess we can expect them to screw it up again. "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." GTA4 had some of the worst shooting controls and movement controls of any modern game I can think of. The fact that they needed a lock-on mechanic to make the shooting bearable is absurd, and here they are, doing it again. Sure, you could aim without the lock-on in GTA4, but doing so with a controller was near impossible. Never mind the fact that they had YEARS of great games to take inspiration from, they completely botched a simple aspect of the game. I thought when Red Dead Redemption released, they would have fixed these problems and made the game control like what a modern 3rd person shooter should feel like, but they botched it again. Again, your character in Redemption controlled like a tank on ice. Again the aiming was so terrible that they needed a lock-on. And here we are again, 8 years into this generation and hundreds of great games with great shooting mechanics to take inspiration from, and AGAIN they need to add a lock-on because they know the free aiming is going to suck, again. Gears of War doesn't need a lock-on. Uncharted doesn't need a lock-on. Saint's Row The Third didn't need a lock on. Sleeping Dogs didn't need a lock-on. Why the hell does Rockstar botch the controls so bad time after time that they feel they need to offer a lock-on? Even Max Payne 3 was damn near impossible without a light lock-on activated. These guys clearly have no idea what they are doing and don't care about learning.
  • I already knew I wanted the game. F*** you Rockstar for letting me see all of this so far from release date.

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