Grand Theft Auto 5

The word “brilliant” is used too often, but this time I have to make an exception.

“Grand Theft Auto V” is the next chapter in Rockstar Games’ long running series. The last entry of the series, “Grand Theft Auto IV,” released in 2008, was critically praised, but the gaming community thought it was overrated. Rockstar promised a lot with “GTA V,” but did it live up to the brilliant expectations people have of the series? Yes, it did.

The story revolves around three protagonists, a first for the series: Michael, a retired bank robber; Franklin, a gang-member; and Trevor. All three get caught up in each other’s problems and have to work together to survive and get rich in the city of Los Santos. The story is probably one of the weakest parts of the game. Each character has their own individual story that takes place over the course of the game, like Michael dealing with his rambunctious family. When the three are together, they pull off different jobs and heists together.

The problem here is there is no straight narrative once things start to pick up. It feels more like a TV show than a game. The other problem, which is more specific, is the story gets very clichéd towards the end. If you’ve seen any movie that involves a bank robbery or a heist, then the clichés will seem pretty obvious.

The gameplay has been one of “GTA’s” biggest strengths. Each new entry into the series would change or add things for the player to do. “GTA IV” did not have enough to do after the main story was over. Thankfully, Rockstar saw the complaints and gave us the old “GTA” back. Of course, there’s the occasional running, shooting, driving, and outrunning police, but “GTA V” offers much more. This is one of those games that gives you so much to do, it’s overwhelming. When you’re not off robbing a bank or being involved in a high-speed chase, you can play tennis, skydive, go underwater in a submersible, or modify your car at a garage (and that’s only a fraction of the stuff you can do).

The gunplay and driving mechanics have also been updated to feel more fluid. The highlights of the game revolve around planning various heists. You get to choose every detail, from who pulls the job with you to if you want do it silently or go guns blazing. Some of the options aren’t always winners, but they truly make you want to keep playing.

The true star of the game is the city itself, Los Santos, an almost exact block-by-block recreation of Los Angeles and the surrounding countryside. Rockstar goes out of its way to make the locations the games take place in and feel like living worlds. Los Santos is the best world Rockstar has created. Like the world of “Skyrim,” Los Santos features people who lead daily lives. They go to work, have families and go on trips. It feels like the world we live in and that’s an accomplishment Rockstar should be proud of. Another cool part about this world is you can directly affect the world you inhabit. You can buy businesses, homes, and even invest in the stock market (it is better than it sounds on paper).

“Grand Theft Auto V” is what the gamers have wanted since “GTA IV,” including a more expansive version of Vice City and San Andreas and an open world with no limits. “Grand Theft Auto V” came in late to this current generation, but it definitely left an impression.
Rating: 10/10

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