Grand Theft Auto V Review

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Publisher: Rockstar Games

Developer: Rockstar North

Platforms: PS3, Xbox 360

Platform Reviewed: PS3

Since 2008 when GTA IV was released, many developers have thrown their hats into the open world action genre of gaming. While GTA IV set new standards, games like Sleeping Dogs and Saints Row The Third made people completely forget about their beloved GTA and made the assumption that Rockstar couldn’t redeem themselves. I’ve been playing GTA V for about 2 weeks (since release) and just got finished with it today. The game had a lot of hype surrounding it before it’s release and with that came huge expectations from all types of gamers. Did it deliver? Here’s what I thought!

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Graphics

This generation of consoles is nearly over. Next-Gen consoles will be released soon but Rockstar began working on this game way before they were aware of Sony and Microsoft’s new hardware. So they did what they could and pushed the current generation consoles to the absolute limit, even forcing mandatory installs. Despite that, they did an amazing job with what they had available. The world of Los Santos is vibrant, dynamic and full of life. Character models look great along with the vehicles and landscapes.

My only minor issue (from the PC gamer side of me) is that the game doesn’t run smoothly consistently. It runs at 30 frames per second and often drops even lower during heavy action sequences. A PC version would have been nice but I guess Rockstar didn’t think it was necessary, Maybe in the future, who knows.

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Story

The story of this game is definitely it’s strongest point. It kept me hooked and I often found myself planning to go and do something else after 1 more mission which always turned into 5 or 6. The three main characters in the game are Michael De Santa, a former “professional” thief who lives with his unsettled wife and two teenage children. Secondly, you have Franklin Clinton, a gangster involved with drugs and violence who wants to move up in life and make real money. And finally there’s Trevor Phillips…..Trevor is…..something…..he is possibly the most outlandish, insane and unpredictable character I’ve ever come across in any form of entertainment. Just when you think you’ve figured him out, he will crush your theory! You get to play as all three of these characters and can switch between them as you wish during free roam and certain missions.

The amazing voice acting helps to bring life to these characters along with the brilliant script. You do genuinely begin to care about these characters and their associates. It gets to the point where you feel like you’re defending your own family or close friends!

The games story is 100% intended for mature gamers. You’ll come across a lot of raw scenes and even get asked to perform tasks that might make you feel uneasy.

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Gameplay

This is hands down the most addictive game I’ve played this year. There is just SO much to do. Tennis, Golf, Car/Bike/Boat racing, Sprinting, Cycling, Darts, Cinema (with actual short films), TV, Hunting, Shooting Ranges, Investments, Customising Cars/Guns and more! I might have finished the main story but there’s still a lot left to do. And that’s not even considering GTA Online which goes live tomorrow (01/10/2013).

Midnight Club: LA, Red Dead Redemption and Max Payne 3 fused together. That’s what this game is. Rockstar took the best elements that these games had to offer and implemented them into GTA V. Shooting has been improved drastically over GTA IV being a lot more fast paced and satisfying.

Driving was a deal breaker for many when it came to GTA IV. All cars drove like trucks making it a chore to drive around. I think the balance between realistic and arcade style driving was found with GTA V and I adjusted to it quite quickly.  Cars damage is quite detailed now but cars don’t explode as easily as in previous GTA games (unless you bring out an RPG or grenade launcher) so it’s a nice touch of realism.

Missions are always dynamic and I never once felt like I was doing tedious tasks for no reason. The heists you get to carry out are the highlights of the games missions. You get to plan your approach, make preparation and chose who to hire as drivers, hackers or gunmen. There aren’t a lot of options but you get more immersed into the game when you know your choices have an impact on what goes down in the story.

Lasting Appeal

I clocked in around 33 hours to complete the main story and all available side missions. However, there’s still a lot left to do in the single player mode such as the side activities and searching for collectables. Then there’s GTA Online. From what I’ve heard, it will have actual story missions (set before the events of the main game) that you can complete cooperatively with your friends. If it’s a success, you are looking at potentially 100s of more hours of gameplay!

Which Platform?

There are no noticeable differences between the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions of the game. Best to pick up the one for the console you have more friends on so the online mode will be more interesting.

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Conclusion 

Was over hyped by the internet and gamers worldwide? Yes. Did Rockstar have a lot to catch up with their competition? Yes. And did it deliver? YES! YES! YES! People will continue talking about this game even after the next generation of consoles arrive. It will take more than fancy hardware and pretty graphics to top this incredible piece of work.

If you don’t own this game already, you should! Only one game released this year has been even close to this masterpiece and that was The Last of Us. I like to separate my reviews into sections that I believe are most important and GTA V gets top marks in each category.

My Score: 10/10

By Warren

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