Rockstar Games has been revolutionizing the open-world genre with the Grand Theft Auto franchise for years. When they announced Grand Theft Auto V, gamers were instantly filled with excitement, especially after seeing some action-packed gameplay footage. Set primarily in Los Santos, GTA V brings us a larger city than any other Grand Theft Auto game. Packed with content, there is never a dull moment in the city of Los Santos, and there are so many things to love about GTA V. The characters are amazing with brilliantly written dialogue, every mission is memorable, and it is graphically one of the best looking games on the market considering just how large this game is, making Grand Theft Auto V the best GTA game since its highly-reclaimed predecessor, Vice City.
Grand Theft Auto V follows the stories of three men: Franklin, Michael, and Trevor. Each are very different in personality and background, yet each have a common goal: to amass as much money as possible. Franklin, although he has done his fair share of crime, is the more innocent one of the group. When we first meet him, he is a car repossessor working for a dealer who is nothing short of a scam artist. Wanting more from his life, he tracks down Michael, an ex-gangster who had made quite a name for himself in the past. Now in retirement though, Michael wanted nothing to do with any sort of illegal activities. Attempting to be a family man and wanting nothing more than to sit and drink mimosas by his pool all day, he was surely disheartened when unfortunate circumstances forced him into crime, just like the old days. And then there’s Trevor, an old friend from Michael’s past. Trevor fully embraces crime and bands together with Michael and Franklin in hopes of going on heists and wreaking havoc on Los Santos, the place he so despises.
Although each character is lovable in their own way, there is surely one character that the majority of gamers will love the most, and that’s Trevor. Trevor is foul-mouthed and a loose cannon and is never afraid to speak his mind. His demeanor is quite grotesque, sporting dirty clothes, and even sometimes nothing more than stained boxer briefs, unkempt hair, and the exact opposite of pearly-white teeth. Yet he is absolutely hilarious and full of personality and at times he even shows that he is capable of love, even though his outer exterior and personality generally show that he is filled with rage. Trevor’s no-nonsense attitude, ticking time bomb personality, and overall psychotic, hilarious nature has made him a character that will undoubtedly never be forgotten.
Then there’s Michael. Although he isn’t quite as exciting as Trevor, he is the character whose story you may love the most. Michael goes through some quite tumultuous happenings throughout GTA V and you can’t help but feel bad for him and hope for the best for him, even though he may not be the most morally-uplifting man in Los Santos.
Franklin isn’t the most exciting character of the three of them, but he can be honored for always wanting to do the right thing. He is the first character that we really start doing missions for, and we can see right off the bat that his friends often take advantage of his kind-hearted nature. Similarly to Trevor, Franklin’s dialogue is also quite hilarious, which is an added bonus for Franklin and one of the reasons that you will be excited to play his missions.
Grand Theft Auto V did an outstanding job with character building. Every mission you go on gives you a story and background on the character that you are playing as. There are never missions that feel like petty fetch quests or an excessive amount of missions just to add more content to the game. Each mission makes us feel more connected with the characters in one form or another, and we will talk more about missions in the next section, Gameplay. You will also come across many other characters throughout the world of GTA V, and there is not one character that you will find to be boring. Every character you meet generally has something weird about them. It seems there are no normal people to be found in Los Santos! But who needs normal anyway? Normal is boring.
It is hard to decide where to even start when it comes to gameplay, as Grand Theft Auto V is packed with so much content it’s astounding. The main element that makes Grand Theft Auto V unique though is the ability to switch between Trevor, Michael, and Franklin, whenever you want to. This allows you to have free reign over whose missions you complete first. However, sometimes you will not be able to switch to a certain character if your other characters are too far behind mission wise. Having three different stories adds a crazy amount of content and game time, with each character having their own types of missions and side missions to complete. For example, Franklin is able to go on repo missions as well as compete in races, while Trevor has a Hunting side quest. Each character has something unique to bring to the table when it comes to gameplay.
In addition to varying missions, each character has unique perks and abilities that set them apart from each other, making you want to choose wisely about who you play as during heists. Franklin is the expert when it comes to driving, so whenever in need of a speedy getaway after a heist, you will want to switch his character before getting in the car. Franklin also sports the ability to be able to slow down time while he is driving, making the car easier to maneuver so that you don’t get into an accident. Trevor, on the other hand, has an ability that is best suited for his reckless nature. Upon being activated, this ability allows him to deal double the amount of gun damage as normal while receiving only half the amount of damage from enemy gunfire than he usually would. Having the highest amount of Stamina, it would be a good idea to play as Trevor if being mobbed by a large amount of enemies that you need to mow down. Finally, Michael is a gun master, and equips a Max Payne-like ability in which he is able to slow down time while shooting to guarantee more accurate shots. Michael is definitely useful when being ambushed by enemies in multiple directions or for targeting enemies that are slightly unattainable in normal time. All of this adds an extra element of strategy to heist missions in order to get the job done and exit with the money as smoothly and quickly as possible.
Outside of the main missions, Grand Theft Auto V gives us so many other activities that make this a game that you will still want to play after you complete the main missions. If you are feeling a bit sporty, you can play a game of golf or tennis. Or if you would like the company of a woman to get your mind off of your murder-filled day, head on over to the strip club where some lovely ladies will surely give you a good time. There are also shops where you can purchase new clothes as well as Ammu-Nation stores where you can attain new weapons as well as enhance your skills in the gun range. To customize Trevor, Michael, or Franklin even more, you can head on over to the tattoo parlor where they will give you some fresh new ink. If you would rather spend your hard-earned cash on decking out your car, you can do that as well at Los Santos Customs shops that are placed around the city.
Your cell phone is a valuable companion in GTA V. Where in past Grand Theft Auto games you had to visit internet cafes in order to use a computer to access the internet, smartphones now allow for you to be able to access the internet directly from your phone. While surfing the interwebs you can find various websites, whether they are websites of uplifting motivations speakers hoping to take advantage of your self-hatred, promising to cure you for a mere $3,000 per internet session, the Maize Bank, where you can access all of your money, or the Stock Market, where you can gamble on stocks in hopes of filling up your bank account even more. You will also often receive phone calls from friends, offering new missions and jobs for you to go on, or just simply to converse. You will also receive emails from friends and family members and even raunchy picture messages from the woman who took you home with her the previous night.
GTA V’s main campaign also features an added bonus of high replayability, as you are able to choose which missions you would like to do upon completing them so that you can try again in order to get 100% on the mission, or just for fun. Each mission has different objectives based on speed and other bonuses, so if you want to 100% the mission, these requirements must be met. Although these objectives can be quite difficult, some may find it rewarding, and it adds an extra way to get you back into the game for a second play through.
One of the things that a lot of Grand Theft Auto fans were excited for was the online multiple, GTA Online. GTA Online received quite a large amount of hype, promising to provide gamers with tons of missions and activities for you and your friends. Unfortunately, Grand Theft Auto V’s multiplayer mode doesn’t exactly live up to the hype, as it was made out to be this extravagant piece of work that would have us enraptured by the amount of content. While it is a lot of fun, the missions you are able to go on are generally composed of repo missions, which can be quite monotonous. You may also go into multiplayer matches such as Team Deathmatch, go on a jet ski race with friends, or fly through obstacles after jumping out of an airplane and opening up your parachute. One of the most fun modes is the Survival mode, which is basically a horde mode. This mode is quite exciting as you and your friends are scrambling to stay alive, hoping to reach the final 10th stage. But let me tell you, that’s no easy feat. After all of the action-packed excitement of Survival mode, you can sit back and relax and enjoy a round of golf or tennis– both of which are done extremely well and are definitely worth checking out.
While GTA Online may not be this vast experience and the missions are often repetitive, you will find that you are having the most fun when you aren’t following any sort of mission or doing an activity. Never before have I partied up with a few of my friends with the intention of completing missions, only to end up driving around aimlessly for hours and crashing each others’ cars. It is also just as fun to do the same thing on motor skis, driving out on the open water and watching the sunset, making no progress with any missions whatsoever, yet still perfectly content. It’s the little things like this that bring out the best parts of GTA Online.
The graphics in Grand Theft Auto V are purely breathtaking. There are moments when you will be awed by just how beautiful this game is, whether watching the ocean’s waves or sightseeing from on top of the pier’s ferris wheel, or hunting for deer in the northern part of the map– this game is just one of the most visually stunning games this console generation. The amount of realism in this game in incredible. All of the scenery looks incredibly realistic and the character models, Trevor especially, look totally life-like. The graphical power of GTA V is absolutely incredible and makes us excited to see what beauties Rockstar will bring to us on the Playstation 4 and Xbox One.
When it comes to sound, one of the best parts of Grand Theft Auto V is the voice acting. The actors behind Trevor, Michael, and Franklin were exceptional, and really embodied their characters to the fullest, making it that much easier to love, or hate, or have mixed feelings for all of them. It can be expected that we will be seeing great things from these actors in the future. Even the supporting cast, though, was acted really well. There wasn’t one character that felt lackluster, and that is largely in part to the talented cast along with the perfected scriptwriting.
One aspect that was slightly disappointing was GTA V’s music selection. Music has always been a huge part of Grand Theft Auto games. As you spend a large amount of your gameplay time driving around, it is absolutely essential that you have a wide variety of radio stations that pump out amazing songs constantly. GTA V was slated to have an absolutely stellar radio section, and although there were about 15 channels give or take, you will likely find yourself only listen to about two or three of them- most of which only have about five songs. There is no truly amazing rock station and the talk radio station isn’t as enticing in previous games. It is merely average, and surely not what it was hyped up to be.
If you want an amazing experience that will give you 60+ hours of content in the single player alone plus an endless amount of game time with the online portion, then Grand Theft Auto V is the game for you. This game feels like a reality simulation– except you are placed into a city that is totally messed up where you are forced to do horrible things, but it just feels that real. This game is highly worthy of Game of the Year and deserves every ounce of appreciation and applause that it has been receiving. Such stellar characters and voice acting has set a high standard for future games and it will definitely be hard to live up to this one. The Grand Theft Auto series has come quite a long way from the top-down game that it once was, and we can’t wait to see what else Rockstar will continue to do with the series.