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Grand Theft Auto V — Game Review

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Grand Theft Auto V is the latest game from the Grand Theft Auto series, released in September 2013 on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, eventually reaching the Playstation 4 and Xbox One the following year. Just like its predecessors, Grand Theft Auto V is an M-rated action game featuring a massive open-world environment to roam, filled with countless activities to do. It’d take hours to simply traverse the map in its entirety.

The story revolves around three (3) protagonists that were suddenly connected due to a simple repo task and end up with them killing everyone that fucks them over as the story progresses. Franklin is a young gang member of The Families from downtown Los Santos, however, following a break-up and time spent doing low-tier jobs, he concludes that the gang war isn’t sustainable in the long run, and tries to better his position in life. Michael is a retired bank robber whose marriage and family are on the edge of a breakdown, and his only salvation is a weekly visit to his therapist. Trevor is a Canadian, that’s all – I kid, Trevor is… an unstable, psychopathic criminal with over-the-top insanity and sexual aggression toward everything, definitely an antithesis to the two protagonists.

It’s the small things that complete this experience.

Grand Theft Auto V is the second game that I got for my PlayStation 4, however, it was my first time playing the series. I had heard the overall hype since the days of Grand Theft Auto Liberty/Vice City Stories, and even though my brother acquired an old copy of what I can remember as Grand Theft Auto: Vice City on the PlayStation 2, I never got around to playing it for myself. I bought the game when a bunch of streamers that I have followed, 4PP, mentioned Rockstar adding an Easter Egg about the Scooter Brother cut-scene that these guys made while playing Grand Theft Auto IV years ago.

As I remember playing it, I recall spending hours watching cut scenes, completing missions, and perfecting heists. Doing small convenience store robberies is easy, however, it grows more taxing as you progress along with the story and you’re forced to do heist missions with all characters, each of whom possesses their own unique set of tasks required to complete missions. Initially, I found the most fun in escape/driving missions that emphasize driving controls over shooting skills, but my mind changed as I delved deeper into the story.

Grand Theft Auto V’s story is set in the modern-day, lampooning today’s culture and economics where it is outrageously funny. Every moment of the game oozes satire, with references spanning present-day celebrities, politics, social groups, and even their target audience… the gamers themselves. In addition to its satirical nature, there are also added side missions for extra replay value, such as dirt bike challenges, aircraft hijacks, and random shootouts with police officers or even hipster cliques.

However, with its funny and over-the-top gameplay comes a bit of storyline confusion. With the story focusing on three protagonists, switching between them too often can lead to confusion about individual character development. Rockstar still tried to explain their earlier back-stories in a very lazy/minimalistic effort… through text and emails — except the main storyline of course.

This game offers different mini-games as well, such as arm wrestling, tennis, racing, yoga, hiking, flying school, golfing, cycling, hunting, and diving. There are specific mini-games that are catered to each character such as hunting for Trevor, tennis match-ups with Michael, and drag racing for Franklin which will tack countless hours onto the playtime of this game.

As for the game’s environment, San Andreas in GTA V truly feels like a living city. In addition to the pedestrian spawns which are specific to individual locations, the ambiance changes along with them depending on where you are — if you’re in Los Santos and want to go to Blaine County, going there either inland or air will give you an entirely different feeling, from surroundings to weather. As a result, driving around the state is a ton of fun and somehow therapeutic.

To wrap up Grand Theft Auto

Overall, Grand Theft Auto V is a lively, satirical, and enjoyable game that differs entirely from its predecessor Grant Theft Auto IV. Everything you can do in the game is unpredictable and ambitious but at the same time achievable — perhaps contradictory, but it is a line that Grand Theft Auto V often blurs.

Although I was never a huge fan of open/free-roam type games, this one opened a lot of doors for me.