The fifth installment of the series that redefined the concept of “sandbox” is among us. Grand Theft Auto V promises an original and funny story, more freedom than ever and a unique multiplayer mode. Is this Rockstar Games’ masterpiece?
Grand Theft Auto (GTA) has always been characterized for giving us a great freedom of movement and action in every city where we stood. Even in its beginnings, when the game was designed in 2D and the camera only covered what came into our screen, we could start gunfights, chases or just walk the streets without being part of a mission, something not seen in the titles of that time.
When this saga pass to the next level and was completely made in 3D, this freedom was increased even more with the ability to move in different types of heights, either walking the floors and ceilings of buildings or just you using helicopters, airplanes and boats. Finally, one of the most important changes was seen in Grand Theft Auto IV, where we witnessed how the behavior of the population in Liberty City was the closest thing to what we can see in real life. With this in mind, Rockstar Games wants GTA V to be the ultimate sandbox experience, keeping the good, fixing the bad and incorporating elements and trends that were imposed in recent years.
The story begins with a short prologue where we see 2 of our protagonists Michael and Trevor- and their accomplices being chased and cornered by the police of North Yankton after a robbery and are forced to take different paths. Nine years have passed of this robbery and we meet our third and final protagonist, Franklin, a gangbanger who tries to do his best to leave his neighborhood and criminal life behind. All this will be possible for him after he is sent to collect a customer’s car, and ends up knowing Michael, who tells him that has potential to be something more than a simple “collector”.
Due to the boring life Michael has (caused mostly by being in the witness protection program), he decides to return to his old habits of crime with the help of Franklin again to feel the adrenaline and excitement that he no longer has . This obviously does not end well because during the first big robbery they do, he is recognized by Trevor and the latter decides to perform a little visit to his “dead” friend. The meeting of these two will generate serious doubts about the events of the past, but that will not stop in any way the ambition to realize several jobs over the course of history, at least initially.
Graphically, Grand Theft Auto V greatly improves from its predecessor (especially on PlayStation 3). We no longer have an “almost” HD resolution or a map full of models that appear out of nowhere while we move faster as it happened before. Unlike Liberty City, San Andreas is plagued with people and vehicles, and for only a few cases we will notice some sluggishness, but is often justified by all that is happening at that time (cars chasing us and colliding , pedestrians , etc.). As we move forward, we can see that the title does not fully exploits the console, but the characters’ animations and expressions are fluid and detailed.
The voice cast GTA V is the most accurate in a long time. Whether it’s Michael’s serenity or temporary insanity, Franklin’s attitude and gang vocabulary it’s Michael’s the extreme mood swings Trevor, each voice feels right at all times. The same applies to the rest of the characters where, according to their history, place of origin or habits, have different accents and ways of speaking, and none of them sounds similar to another.
Something that becomes to notice in this issue, is that the initial load time is quite long and, although we are talking about such a vast game, it is unusual how many minutes it takes to load in both Single and Multiplayer.
Grand Theft Auto V does not change much from its predecessor in terms of gameplay and controls, but it certainly expands the number of options available to invest our time in San Andreas. From the beginning, we see that the three main characters have their own side quests, where mostly new stories emerge and sometimes serve as “beginning” to certain activities such as parachute jumps, triathlons, catching fugitives, races, etc. The main missions are not far behind obviously, and take full advantage the new mechanics character change on the fly (realized through the D Pad) to give us a greater tactical advantage on the toughest jobs.
These jobs called “heists” go through several stages before getting started:
- Planning: Here you decide how to do the robbery and the specialists that you will hire for this. These latter will obtain a share of the loot in relation to the experience and skills they have, what will obviously influence in our final profit.
- Preparation: We manage to get and locate any vehicle or type of weapons we need in the spot we decided in the previous step.
- Execution: We proceed with the plan to the letter using the vehicles, weapons and equipment that we obtained in the previous steps, always suffering from some small modifications in case the job does not go as expected.
As mentioned before, the game incorporates trends of recent years like the use of chellpones to check social networks , take pictures, and even accept missions and monitor specific sites like the stock market, real estate pages and online shopping. We can also see that many of the secondary characters are exaggerated versions of people that at some point were highlighted by some event (good or bad) in real life, and are treated with the typical GTA humor in the missions where they participate.
From the initial loading screen or via the D-Pad we will be able to access the game’s multiplayer mode called Grand Theft Auto Online. Unfortunately, although this was enabled a few weeks after the launch, the overall performance of this component is still erratic, sometimes disconnecting from games or forcing us to return to the characters in the story mode. If we can enter with no problems and remain stable, this mode offers activities similar to those available in Singleplayer (protection missions, thefts, etc..) but with the ability to perform many of these in co-op with friends or people who is currently on the same server. In addition to these missions, as we level up we will unlock different events to create ranging from standard races or deathmatchs with to persecutions with combat aircrafts, deathmatchs with tanks, and an equivalent to capture the flag where we need to capture evidence before the opposing team takes possession of it.
Grand Theft Auto V is Rockstar Games’ masterpiece and the best sandbox to date. With a story full of humor, bizarre characters and an almost total freedom to do whatever we want, the game never fails to impress from start to finish. In the case that Grand Theft Auto Online is fixed, we will have more than one reason to return to the streets of San Andreas after finishing the story of Singleplayer.
Grand Theft Auto V’s review copy was provided by Rockstar Games and the game is available since September 17th for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 (Retail / Digital).