Grand Theft Auto V – PS3
Platform: PlayStation 3
Developer: Rockstar North
Publisher: Rockstar Games
Release Date: September 9th, 2013
Nerd Rating: 10 out of 10
Reviewed by Smokey the Owl
The Grand Theft Auto series storms onto the stage with this masterpiece of chaos, violence, and all around badassery. Set in sunny Los Santos, (Rockstar’s caricature of Los Angeles) the storyline of GTA 5 follows the adventure of three characters: Trevor, Franklin, and Michael. The connection between these three characters is elaborated throughout the entirety of the game weaving an intriguing story of mystery, murder, violence, and corruption. The end result is a well polished game with great depth and promising replay value.
Throughout my play through of the main story (about 30 hours) I never felt like I didn’t have anything to do. There are plenty of side missions that are unique to each individual character that should provide another 5 hours of content on top of the already extensive main story. For the extreme completionist there are also plenty of hidden collectibles scattered throughout the world and challenging stunt jumps to land. Of course there is also the very controversial multiplayer, which I will cover in another article as Rockstar has stated that the online portion should be considered a stand alone title.
GTA V opens with a bank heist gone awry before flashing forward five years. From here the player is given control of Franklin–the aspiring hoodlum with a knack for driving. Initially, the player is restricted to Franklin, but after awhile Franklin is introduced to Michael–the middle aged bank robber who has grown bored with the mundane civilian lifestyle. Afterwards the player is free to swap control of Franklin or Michael before the story introduces the final playable character, Trevor–the crazy eyed sociopath with dreams of monopolizing the crystal meth market. Once all three characters are introduced the player is free to swap control of all three. This is the first time in a GTA title that the player is given multiple characters to control. I was admittedly skeptical of this aspect, afraid that bringing in three characters would break up or dilute the story. I was cheerfully surprised to see how well this mechanic works to provide more dynamic gameplay without fragmenting the story. For example, there are multiple missions that required the use of all three characters, requiring me to swap from one to another in order to progress in the mission.
Each character also has their own unique ability that recharges over time. Franklin can slow down time while driving, Trevor can go into a rage mode were he takes half damage and deals twice as much, and Michael can enter a sort of “bullet time” allowing him slow down time while in a shoot out. I found myself using Franklin’s ability much more than the other two, as his seems to be the most helpful when driving at high speeds, while Michael’s I only used once or twice before deciding it was just a novelty and not very helpful at all.
There is also an impressive web browser mechanic built into the game. From the web browser dashboard you can do pretty much anything you want–from ordering a tank to be delivered to your doorstep, to checking the social media web site aptly named LifeInvader. But perhaps the most interesting facet of the web is the stock market. Liberty City National (LCN) offers stock only affected by the offline game and BAWSAQ allows the player to buy stock that can be affected by the collective online populous. The stocks up for grabs are based off the fictional industries the game has to offer like “Cluckin’ Bell” and “Betta Pharmaceuticals.” Although these stocks offer great potential gains, they are still largely unpredictable.
GTA 5 is filled to brim with tiny nuances that make it a truly immersive experience. If you want to get drunk with your buddy and then pick up a quick game of tennis, you can. If you want to sit in your mansion in Vinewood Hills while you take hits from the bong and watch tv, you can. If you want to get back to your roots and go hunting in nothing but your underpants, you betcha.
Grand Theft Auto V is an incredibly smooth, liberating experience giving the player exactly what they want: to run around in an open environment and carve out their legacy in the world. It takes all the good features of its predecessor and improves upon every detail. If you are looking for an addicting, immersive experience allowing you to wreak havoc in your own personal way, you won’t find a better game out there.
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