Format reviewed: PS3, Xbox 360
Other formats available: None
Developer: Rockstar North
Despite not being the fifth game in the GTA series, the much anticipated GTA V is here and it certainly lives up to its hype.
Games come and games go, but some stay around. GTA IV was launched in April 2008 and, with the help of two additional DLC storylines, has been a game that has stood the test of time. Yes there were niggles that newer games have ironed out, but the game is still fun to play five years later.
Now those are big shoes to fill and thankfully GTA V fills them so well that after five long years GTA IV has finally been usurped.
So what’s new? Well in GTA V you don’t just have the one protagonist, you have three. Michael, Franklin and Trevor. This is the cleverest part of what is a very clever game.
When you approach the bigger story missions you can switch between these characters pretty much whenever you want to. An example of this is when the three are trying to rob an armoured car. Franklin is at street level, Michael is on a building and Trevor is much higher up a tower. As the police arrive you decide who to control and who to take out.
At other times you are in the shoes of one of them, then as the mission progresses you switch to one of the others. This technique gives an additional level of narrative to the game, something that most gamers would say that the GTA games didn’t necessarily need. It just shows the level of ambition that Rockstar has with its games.
Of course this being a GTA game the amount of detail is immense, as is the size of the map. Just as GTA IV took gamers back to the iconic Liberty City, in GTA V we are back in San Andreas and the city of Los Santos; Rockstar’s homage to LA.
The map is so big, apparently should you want to you could fit both the maps from GTA IV and Red Dead Redemption into it. And that’s just on the ground. You can fly planes of all types and also go out to sea, and under it both in a submarine and with scuba gear. At one point you even do yoga, but don’t let that put you off.
There are of course plenty of opportunities for customisation too. There are barbers, clothes shops, custom car shops so that you can tinker to your heart’s delight. There is also a small amount of character improvement too. The more you sprint, fight, drive, the better the guys get.
As you drive, fly, sail or swim around your senses will be pushed to the limit taking all the detail in. There is never a quiet second as there is always something happening and plenty of stuff to do. And so many things have been improved on too. There’s the driving mechanics, shooting, cover, damage and much more. Checkpoints in missions too so that you don’t have to go back to the start every time.
On top of the storyline, that of course steals bits from so many films, is the biting satire that the GTA series does so well. The Lifeinvader social media references being just one of many, many sideswipes at modern society.
Then you can go online. As has been widely reported Rockstar had more than a few issues when the game went live two weeks after going on sale.
This is understandable and Rockstar has been quite open and quick in terms of dealing with the issues, which now look as though they have settled down. Having waited until the dust settled I haven’t had any issues. The character creation did feel a bit clunky and I do feel that I have a character that I am not that pleased with, but that’s a minor point.
Prior to launch games are often hyped beyond belief, which only leads to disappointment. With GTA V that wasn’t the case. It does everything that I hoped it would and more. I do wonder how keen the likes of Sony and Microsoft are about it, because with a game as good as this on the current generation of hardware this is one gamer who isn’t inclined to upgrade any time soon.
I imagine I’ll still be playing some parts of GTA V in five years’ time at least. And there is bound to be DLC along with the extended play online. Who needs an Xbox One or PS4?
Tuckski for BCS