Since the release of Grand Theft Auto 3, Rockstar Games has been creating bigger and more realistic worlds for gamers to play in. Now with Grand Theft Auto 5, the bar has been raised to never before seen levels in almost every aspect of the game. That shouldn’t be much of a surprise though considering they spent roughly 265 million dollars and 5 years on making and marketing the game. For all that hard work and money what Rockstar has made is worth every penny.
Grand Theft Auto 5 has a lot of firsts for the series and the fact that you now have 3 main characters to play as is probably the biggest one.
First we have Michael De Santa. Michael is a retired bank robber who made his money and got out of the game alive. Now Micheal’s living in his mansion with his wife Amanda who can’t seem to stay faithful to him; his son Jimmy who doesn’t work and just plays FPS games while yelling obscenities into a mic all day; and his daughter Tracey who’s willing to do anything to get famous on reality TV.
With a wife who can barely stand him and two kids who don’t have any time to spend with him, Michael is miserable living in a mansion with a family who doesn’t care.
Next is Franklin Clinton. Franklin is an aspiring thug for the Chamberlain Gangster Family with big dreams to get out of the hood. Unlike his friends Franklin wants out of the gang bangin and into more lucrative work. Franklin works as a repo man for a shady car dealer named Simeon Yetarian. While on a repo job Franklin falls into the opportunity he’s always wanted and a way out of the hood.
Lastly we have Trevor Philips. Trevor is an ex-military pilot and psychopath. Trevor was part of Michael’s original bank robbing crew and best friend until a job they worked went south. Now Trevor is living out in the desert of San Andreas cooking and smoking meth while also running guns. Along with his friend Ron they run Trevor Philips Enterprises which is actually just their meth and gun running operation.
After the intro you start the game as Franklin. While out doing a repo job Franklin runs into some trouble and meets Micheal who is not all that happy with the situation they find themselves in. After they get their problems squared away the two become friends however Micheal runs into some trouble of his own and Franklin gets brought along for the ride.
While all this is going on Trevor is out in the desert with problems of his own. The Lost biker gang has been causing Trevor some problems and he aims to fix them with violence. After running what was left of the biker gang out of the area by killing most of them Trevor hears a familiar quote on TV about a jewelry store heist and sets out to learn who the people were that pulled off the heist.
Having three main characters adds so much to the story and game in general its crazy. Being able to see the story play out from all three of the protagonists points of view is great and the fantastic cinematic style switching in missions that give you control of how to play the game is revolutionary for Grand Theft Auto.
No longer do you have to be the driver or the sniper or the guy with the assault rifle but you get to chose what role you want on a moment to moment basis depending on whats happening in the game and what style you prefer to play.
Having three protagonists and a cool story is great and all but it wouldn’t mean anything without the huge open worlds that Grand Theft Auto is know for. Luckily Rockstar has done a fantastic job creating one of the biggest most realistic, beautiful worlds to ever grace a video game.
San Andreas is broke up into two main sections. First there is Los Santos, a modern day recreation of Los Angeles. Los Santos has a little bit of something for everyone. From towering skyscrapers and mansions to trailer parks and ghettos. You can find just about anything in Los Santos including expensive cars, drugs, prostitutes, gang bangers, businessmen and medicinal marijuana shops.
The second part of San Andres is Blain County. Blain county is a much more open area with giant mountains to explore and wilderness to hunt in. You’ll meet all kinds of crazy rednecks and meth fiends along with some genuinely interesting people here.
When you put the two sections together you end up with one of the biggest open world maps ever. I’m 45+ hours in and there’s still places I have yet to explore.
With such a big map you would think it might be hard to find something to do, well you’d be wrong. Aside from the many story missions Grand Theft Auto 5 has to offer there are a ton of side missions, random events and things to collect. I’ve constantly found myself on the way to do a mission only to be side tracked by a random event like stopping a mugger or recovering someones stolen vehicle.
All of that makes this one of the biggest, most fun worlds ever in a game but there’s still so much more that makes San Andres great. It’s the little things that you can do that make the world seem real and alive. So many little things in fact I couldn’t possibly list half of them in this review.
There’s things like being able to buy stock in either the LCN or BAWSAC markets which change based on what players are doing in their game or what players are doing overall throughout all of the Rockstar social club. A few other small things that make the world so real are being able to take your dog for a walk, put a bike in the back of a truck then drive to the top of a mountain and ride the bike off, even just the little conversations you pass while walking around make San Andres feel like a living breathing world.
That living breathing world is also immensely beautiful. From the huge buildings and ghettos to the trailer parks and mountains everything is highly detailed and colorful. During the day everything is bright and shinny with light reflecting off of cars and water. At night headlights illuminate the streets and animals can be heard howling at the moon. During storms rain water shoots realistically from your tires as you drive from place to place.
Grand Theft Auto 5 also adds in a dynamic weather system making for some fierce storms and big waves. Being out in the ocean on a jet ski during a crazy storm can be lots of fun especially with police chasing you.
While you’re out there being chased by the cops you should definitely take the time to put on some tunes. Grand Theft Auto 5 has 240 licensed songs from every genre out there. Very often you will be out doing whatever it is you like to do in Grand Theft Auto when the perfect song for that situation comes on. The licensed songs are great but the background music Grand Theft Auto 5 brings with it is also very nice. It always seems to match the mood of whats happening and sounds great.
Two major parts of the game also got revamped for Grand Theft Auto 5. First is the driving. I personally hated the driving in GTA 4. It was to hard to control your car and get some speed but that’s all changed. Rockstar has managed to keep the weighted feeling for the cars while still giving you great control and speed. It feels like a combination of GTA Vice City and GTA 4. The weight of the cars is important because it help to make for some truly spectacular crashes.
The other revamp comes in the way of shooting mechanics. For the most part it all still works the same as previous Grand Theft Auto games but much smoother and more accurate. Hiding behind cover is now a necessity and also much smoother to do while in a gun fight. Locking onto and choosing targets is also much easier this time around but make sure to set your targeting settings to complex so that you get more then just a tiny dot showing where your aiming.
Another new feature for Grand Theft Auto 5 is underwater exploration. Rockstar has crafted a very realistic, rich underwater environment to explore. In the water your going to find all sorts of small fish, reefs, sunken ships and much more.
For everything Rockstar has done right with Grand Theft Auto 5 there’s bound to be a few things people don’t like.
For one Grand Theft Auto 5 treats women in a pretty degrading way but that’s nothing new. However it would be nice to see at least one female who isn’t a crazy, whinny, annoying person. I think we are all grown up enough to handle a woman with real opinions in a game at this point. Don’t get me wrong I have no problem with women or anyone for that matter being degraded for a Grand Theft Auto game, it adds some comedy to the game and its almost customary at this point but if you are going to do it at least put in a few women who can hold their own.
Another issue I have is with the mini map. I know its basically a necessity to have but with all the innovation Rockstar has put into Grand Theft Auto 5 you would think they would have found a way to make it so you don’t have to constantly look to the corner of the screen to figure out where your going. I think they should bring back voice directions like they had in GTA 4 that way the mini map can be turned off and players will still be able to get to their destination.
Grand Theft Auto 5 also comes with Grand Theft Auto Online which isn’t available to play until October 1st. Rockstar has stated that the money you make in your single player campaign won’t transfer to GTA Online, however the currency system online is made to earn you money much faster then in the single player story.
You will also be able to purchase GTA Online in game money via micro-transactions but this is completely optional and won’t effect the overall game for most players.
Grand Theft Auto 5 is the pinnacle of open world games this generation. Being over 45 hours into a game and still seeing new things is no small feat by any means. With everything Grand Theft Auto 5 has to offer it should not be missed, unless you are waiting for that rumored PC version which we all know is coming eventually.
Keep an eye out here for our Grand Theft Auto Online review shortly after it becomes available October 1st.