Grand Theft Auto V
Published by: Take-Two Interactive
Available On: Xbox 360, PS3
It has been five long years since the release of a number Grand Theft Auto game. GTA IV, launched in 2008, is considered by many to be one of the best games ever made and has sold over 25 million copies since first hitting shelves. It is an icon in the games industry and a fan favorite, which means there’s a lot on the line for Rockstar Games when it comes to the next true sequel in the series.
Luckily, Rockstar is a team that knows how to work, and knows what its fans want. Grand Theft Auto V is a triumph, a rare game that offers so many finely tuned and engaging elements that it is a wonder Rockstar managed to shove them all into one game. GTA V carries the same open-world intrigue and fleshed out universe people have come to expect from the franchise, but builds upon those elements in so many ways that it would be impossible to list them all without dozens of pages and a particularly tiny font.
The main narrative, which you are free to ignore from moment one in favor of exploring the massive world of Los Santos (bigger than the worlds of GTA: San Andreas, GTA IV, and Red Dead Redemption combined), centers on three characters with interconnected stories. There’s Michael, the aging bank robber looking for a little peace and quiet, Trevor, the off-the-wall lunatic who is looking for a little chaos, and Franklin, an ex-gangster looking for a new path. You are free to move between these characters at any time, and they continue with their lives when you are not directly in control of them.
The story unfolds in an immersive and incredibly realized world that is simply unmatched by any game made up to this point. Los Santos is a huge, living world with a civilian population and opportunities to engage in all sorts of activities. Ride bikes, fly planes, go base jumping, rob a bank, start a fight, steal a jet, race motorcycles, swim with sharks — if you can imagine it, you can probably do it somewhere in Grand Theft Auto V. As with previous games, the story almost ends up in the backseat while you explore the world and discover its secrets.
There are mechanical improvements as well. The shooting system has been completely redesigned, drawing heavily from the engine used in Max Payne 3. GTA V offers the most robust and responsive combat of any GTA game, cleaning up what has always been a major sticking point for the franchise. Driving physics have also been enhanced; there’s no more careening around corners and whipping into everything in sight (unless you want to). The addition of a 16-player, persistent world online mode gives GTA V even more replay value than its predecessor as you and friends form gangs and rule the streets.
It’s hard to sum up everything that is Grand Theft Auto V in one short review. It is a truly unique title with hundreds, if not thousands of hours of engaging content set in a vibrant world. It offers a compelling narrative informed by three well-acted and well-written characters, and plenty of stuff to do outside of that narrative. All of this combines into what is likely one of the best games of the year, and possibly of the generation.
GTA V is, quite frankly, a must-buy.
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