[PS3 Review] Grand Theft Auto V
Los Santos: a sprawling sun-soaked metropolis full of self-help gurus, starlets and fading celebrities, once the envy of the Western world, now struggling to stay afloat in an era of economic uncertainty and cheap reality TV.
Amidst the turmoil, three very different criminals plot their own chances of survival and success: Franklin, a former street gangster, now looking for real opportunities and serious money; Michael, a professional ex-con whose retirement is a lot less rosy than he hoped it would be; and Trevor, a violent maniac driven by the chance of a cheap high and the next big score. Running out of options, the crew risks everything in a series of daring and dangerous heists that could set them up for life.
The biggest, most dynamic and most diverse open world ever created, Grand Theft Auto V blends storytelling and gameplay in new ways as players repeatedly jump in and out of the lives of the game’s three lead characters, playing all sides of the game’s interwoven story.
All the classic hallmarks of the groundbreaking series return, including incredible attention to detail and Grand Theft Auto’s darkly humorous take on modern culture, alongside a brand new and ambitious approach to open world multiplayer.
For a lot of us, Grand Theft Auto IV brought in the current generation of gaming. It may not have been when the current generation started, but it caused people to buy their systems, or make their purchase from the year or two prior, worth their money. It seems fitting then that two months prior to new consoles launching we got the game that will close out this generation of gaming for a good portion of people.
The story is a simple one that we have all seen before, 3 friends rob a bank, 1 dies, 1 gets away, the other fakes his death and enters witness protection. This jarring start to the story sets the stage for a roller-coaster of twists and turns. Soon we are introduced to Franklin, a gang-banger from the hood, looking for more in life than what he has. Then he meets Michael in witness protection (the one that faked his death), and the story starts to pickup steam while these two develop a father-son relationship while committing crimes.
About 6 hours in is when the game gets really fun and introduces us to Trevor Phillips, possibly one of the best fictional characters in pop culture history. Trevor is, for lack of better words, crazy beyond belief. No morals, very smart, and he will do anything to accomplish his goals. The voice acting in the game is amazing, and Steven Ogg (the voice of Trevor) does such a fantastic job embodying the character. If there is justice he will be taking home the Best Male Voice actor at the VGA’s this year.
I don’t want to get into too many story details as there are many twists and turns, but the 3 of them start working together completing heists. This is where GTA V really starts to set itself apart from its predecessors. Heists are big robberies that take proper planning to be completed. You have a mission staking the place that you will rob, and then you get to decide on one of two different ways to complete the heist. You get to pick extra hired muscle that will help, and the better they are the higher the cut they take. Depending which method you select to complete it, you have to procure the necessary supplies for the job.
The beauty about having 3 characters is that you get to take part in every single aspect of the heist. For example, you will fly a helicopter with one person, then switch to the next character as you are lowered into a building to kidnap someone, then switch to the last guy with a sniper rifle adding extra support taking down any enemies in your way.
The character switching isn’t just relegated to the missions either. At any point in Los Santos, you can switch between characters and get a different view of the city. Each character has specific missions that need to be completed as the game progresses, and this can also be used as a way to fast travel around the huge map.
Los Santos is a living and breathing open world environment, and it is the best I have ever seen. You could get lost in it for hours without completing any missions, just taking part in what the world has to offer. The activities and hobbies range from a round of golf, tennis, yoga, parachuting, street racing, sea-doo racing, ATV racing, hunting, darts, and many more. It is a huge world with lots to do and keep you busy. Once day I won a sea-doo race, did some yoga, played a round of golf, then did a few missions.
There are also many different areas to explore, from the bustling downtown to the docks, or you can the forest, a smaller town way up north, and the sandy shores well north of the main city. If you decide to move around this environment, it can take about 10 minutes to cross the city.
Besides the main story missions, there are freaks and strangers missions. These are basically side missions which are triggered at several “?” marks you arrive at on your map. Each one follows an interesting character who has a problem that you are trying to help with and once you complete one, more will trigger until you have helped that character completely. These missions introduce you to different activities in the world and provide for good comic relief in between heavy story missions.
Each mission has different requirements that are needed to achieve a gold ranking, and a lot has to do with accuracy, duration, and head-shots. That being said, the way you carry out the mission or choices you make will be a part of that too. To avoid spoiling the mission, you find out about the requirements after the fact when you get your grade. If you want to repeat a mission you can from the game menu in order to get the gold medal once you are aware of the expectations. An example is a simple mission where had to stop a military convoy. I rammed into them with my car and had a fire fight to kill the remaining enemies and take the cargo but to get the gold in that mission, I was supposed to lay sticky bombs on the ground in advance then blow them up as the convoy went over them.
There is a huge variety of vehicles available to drive ranging from cars, motorcycles, trucks, big rigs, bikes, ATVs, golf carts, boats, sea-doo, helicopters, jets and more. You will not get bored with your transportation options.
There are also many collectibles and tasks to accomplish in the city. Completing stunt jumps, flying under bridges and between buildings, finding parts of an alien spaceship, and collecting letter scraps from a deceased starlet. You can take a stab at property management, or just go to the local strip club to hang out.
My only complaint about the game is a bit of a nitpick is the GPS system for navigating around the city. It is done on the map in the corner of the screen, and this has you taking your eyes off the road and paying more attention to the map than the beautiful city around you. I think there are better ways that this could have been done on screen, perhaps with indicators telling you where to go.
In this review, I will not be getting into GTA Online as Rockstar really is treating it like a separate game. It does appear now to be working, and they just released their first add-on for it, so I’ll eventually do a review of the online portion of the game.
The trophies in the game are divided up between the regular game and the online component. There are 50 total and, after doing some research, it takes about 160 hours to get the platinum (so do keep that in mind).
Grand Theft Auto V is a game you should play since it deserves all of the accolades it has received. This is a masterpiece of gaming that I think we will be talking about in years to come. There is really no doubt in my mind that this is the best game of this year and possibly one of the best this generation has to offer.
[review pros=”Always something to do
Story is Awesome” cons=”GPS for navigating could have been better
PS3 Game size: 17.2 GB
You can purchase Grand Theft Auto V from the PSN