The Grand Theft Auto series has been, since the era of the Playstation one, Rockstar's greatest success. It could be argued of course that Rockstar rarely fail to make a game that is not at least profitable but the grand theft auto series always deliver pre release controversy and huge post release sales. The newest edition of GTA is no different from the rest; GTA V (the eighth or ninth game to be released under the banner depending on who you ask) is no exception, with new gameplay options, a huge map and a fond farewell to calls from friends putting in demands on your time, GTA V is unlikely to disappoint.
Three Times the Lady
The game plays like every grand theft auto game since GTA III; you play a man, in a big sandbox city and there is only one way you know of to make a living in it, crime. The big twist in this version is that you can play as three different characters, each with their own narcissistic quirks and back-story. This really adds a lot to the game, the hope, I would imagine is that you can choose your favourite. Franklin is the protagonist you begin as, an up and comer in the life of crime. Then you are introduced to Michael, a retiree finding family life doesn't suit him quite as well as he might have imagined. Finally we are introduced to Trevor, who to describe as maniacal would be marginally complimentary. It is through him that the old rampage missions are given a new revamp, which allows the other characters to seem less interested in killing for killings sake while still allowing the player the opportunity to see how many police helicopters they can shoot down before the LSPD's bullets catch up with them.
The story line is engaging and the missions are well thought out, perhaps a good example happens early on in the game where you find yourself chasing a luxury yacht on the back of a flatbed truck in a coupe with the top down (could happen to anyone). Micheal has to hold the car steady while Franklin has to climb on the back of the truck and try to stop it. You quite seamlessly switch between the characters and get to play as both during the more crucial parts of the mission. A system that really helps allow more interesting stories to be told, it seems and comes into its own during heist missions.
Heist missions are another new gameplay element; they allow the player to prepare for coordinated robberies on jewellery stores, banks and the like. Pre heist missions allow you to steal your getaway car of choice and choose with a small degree of freedom how you want to go about it. They really are a fun new addition and I find myself genuinely excited when they come up.
Here Comes the Fuzz
One Gripe though is that all this scripted fun has held back on the unscripted, the police are much more efficient at their job than I remember from the previous versions, shooting a police officer now will really add some inconvenience to your day, the police will be on you fast, and shaking them isn't easy. You can of course get used to how the mechanics work and get away easier as you learn how the police behave but that invariably means running and hiding. Hiding from the police can become quite the bad habit as standing up to them usually results in a serious case of swift death, which can make getting chased more of a chore between missions rather than the hoot of games past. That is a big can though, as more than likely you will be entertained regardless of how effective the LSPD are.
Get Yourself Connected
Another minor problem I have with an otherwise flawless game is the online mode. Of course I have to be careful here; the offline mode seems to have had quite the budget and is relatively polished. With races and heists that can be played with people online. My problem is in fact that of another big can. You see, the game can be played online with other people however if you try joining a GTA server and forming a crew with people you do not know you will be let down. It seems that a majority of other players on these servers are less interested in races and heists and more interested in driving cars off piers and shooting each other. This again is not really a bad thing but might be unexpected - perhaps a tweak in GTA 6 would be incentivise players into co-operating more with unique items they can achieve doing crew missions together which they otherwise wouldn't be able to obtain. This may help those that want a more multi cooperative experience find players to team up with in crews.
A Grand Caper
GTA V is a polished masterpiece of a game that has pulled back a lot of the fun from its older titles while maintaining a beautiful sandbox world that comes with the new engine. It is really fun to play and very hard to put down, if you are a fan of the series it is a must purchase and if you are unsure I would recommend you give it a go.