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If you have moral objections to this series, this game will not change your mind. If, however, you do not, and you haven’t already picked this up, you’re missing out on the best game of this console generation. Get some cash, free up some time and experience the best Rockstar Games has ever produced.
Rockstar Games has a lineage of producing some of the best games we’ve ever seen: Max Payne, L.A. Noire, Midnight Club and Red Dead are just a few of their highly praised, critically acclaimed and fan loved series. And then there’s Grand Theft Auto. This series is a name synonymous with true gaming greatness, outstanding quality and news-making controversy. These three elements combine every few years to produce a product that not only breaks records (like $800 Million in Day One sales and over $1 Billion over three days), and improves gaming, but truly engulfs us and takes us for a hell of a ride. The latest installment, Grand Theft Auto V, keeps that alive
Every character dynamic is uniquely crafted…
No Grand Theft Auto game fails to deliver an incredible experience, and since its cinematic leap into 3D with GTA III, that experience isn’t complete without an exceptional story. We begin with Michael, a former career criminal who fakes his death and escapes the life. But less than ten years later, Michael is unsatisfied with his family and his boredom, despite the wealth he has acquired. Franklin is a car repossesor for a small-time automobile dealer, trying to make a living and make it beyond his neighborhood. A chance encounter with Michael gives him that opportunity. Finally, Trevor is absolutely out of his mind and no more needs to be said than that. A former associate of Michael’s, he seeks out his old friend after realizing Michael is still alive, whether for reunion or revenge is hard to tell. More than that would ruin the experience, but know the story is cohesive, wide reaching and a joyride to play.
The heists are easily one of the best new features.
It’s a sandbox game, which as my long-time readers know is not my favorite game type, but this game does improve a lot of the problems. Each character has different stats that grow over time, and with certain missions and events only being accessible through specific characters switching up felt like more important, and not just a shiny gimmick. Returning features of the series like hangouts and property purchases are familiar but improved. Gone are the days of Roman calling you up to go bowling or properties just making you money. Now you’re completely in charge of hangout times, this time without an irritating friendship meter, and properties throw you the very occasional quick mission and throw your money right into your savings account instead of making you collect it.
Gorgeous, ain’t it?
When GTA IV came out, we were blown away by what we were looking at. Today, we are entirely in the same boat. GTA V looks that much better than IV. Facial animations, draw distance and texture quality may not be Eighth Gen good, but it takes this generation the furthest it’s ever been (short of some PS3-exclusives). Each car is beautifully detailed, even in destruction. The rain is impressively pretty to watch. The animations of the shark…well, if you haven’t seen that yet, you’re probably heading to Youtube right now. Every detail is meticulously well done. Even using a parachute can be inspiring, whether just ejecting from a helicopter or trying to land on a moving vehicle.
Yeah, he’s doing what you think he’s doing.
What really blows me away in these games is the fantastic sound quality they put into the finished product. GTA V represents the highest quality sound I’ve seen in a game. Any of them. While I preferred IV’s musical track selection, this one is versatile enough for almost any musical taste. The radio ads are hysterical, as always, and the DJs are more entertaining than ever before. Lazlo hits new heights as a radio co-host, and even makes some appearances in missions that make him a sympathetic character for the first time.
Danny “All That” Tamberelli plays this guy.
What blows minds here is the top-tier voice acting. With a game so big, you would statistically expect someone to drop the ball and give a half-hearted performance. Not here. Every character, from random pedestrians and drivers to the numerous Strangers and Freaks, from the supporting cast members you interact with to the the three main characters you play as, every line is solid gold, read with weight and emotion, and serves to further immerse you into an already bottomless pit of greatness. Special mentions to Danny Tamberelli, our favorite Pete and Mighty Duck for his whiny, spoiled Jimmy De Santa and Steven Ogg for a portrayal of a character so memorable and delightfully frightening he’ll be remembered two GTAs from now.
Seriously painful. And that’s just from watching it.
As always, no GTA game comes without controversy. As always, the cursing is constant, the crudity is just around every corner and the violence is plentiful in a number of at-your-fingertips ways. New to this entry is on-screen cannibalism (both in a falsely claimed “rape” sequence and in a few cutscenes), a shark that will actually kill you, and the death of a beloved protagonist from another entry in the series. In addition, there is a torture sequence which you are in control of. This sequence was particularly painful to play, including electrical shocks and waterboarding. Yes, it does come with an epilogue criticizing torture as a means for information, it was incredibly difficult to be in control of the scene.
Singleplayer: Awesome. Multiplayer: TBD
There is no question that this is an excellent buy. Fifty hours in, I still have plenty of side missions to go to get 100% Completion. I have missions to replay to get Gold ratings on. Every character switch comes with a short intro that has rarely repeated itself on me. If you need a list of things to do after choosing your ending, there’s always this convenient list of things to do after you finish the game. Finally, this just covers the singleplayer. As of this writing, the Multiplayer mode, GTA Online has launched and hashed out some of the bigger glitches early adopters experienced at launch. Look forward to our review of this, but until then, get your copy if you’re one of the few who haven’t.