This morning I finally emerged from the dark confines of my game room, wincing from the bright light of day. It seems like weeks since I have done anything beyond work and gaming. There has been one game in particular that has been holding me captive; Grand Theft Auto V, she is a cruel mistress. Rockstar Games has me hooked and there is no desire to escape!
Initially, GTA V was not on my list of ‘must have’ games for the year. Particularly since I have a huge debt owed to GameStop for my new gaming consoles and games that will be coming out this month. However, my friend - we will call him The Dealer, because of the roll he has played in my addiction to this game- The Dealer had a copy and loaned it to me for a week while he was out of town for work. Still dubious of the game, it took til the last day of the week he was gone for me to actually play it. What commenced beyond that is still a blur. After 3 hours of single player campaign, I was convinced that this game may be the most fun I’d had gaming in years. By the next day, without even trying Multiplayer, I was sending The Dealer texts that said I wouldn’t be returning his game…. EVER. I soon realized that I just needed to get my own copy, so (after 20 minutes of whining and blackmailing) my adoring husband made a trip to the store to purchase a copy of it for me. That was when the fun really began. (This is the point where I am going to stop gushing over my love for the game and get down to reviewing it.)
In Single Player mode, you will face the open world of GTA V with 3 different protagonists. Each with different priorities and lifestyles. These characters are Michael De Santa, Franklin Clinton, and Trevor Philips. Michael is a retired bank robber that makes a deal with the FIB to get out of jail, but ultimately has to go back to a life of crime to make money to support the wife that is bleeding him dry. Franklin is a small time thug that dreams of being a big shot crime lord. Trevor is a psychopathic redneck, once military pilot and a retired bankrobbing partner to Michael, that is running a weapons and drug trafficking ‘business’ out of his trailer. All three of these characters band up to rob the biggest businesses in Los Santos. With each character, you complete missions to achieve your goals of making it big.
Each of these characters have in-depth stories that create a feeling of attachment to them. In very little time, gamers will relate or sympathize with their characters in some way. Making you more determined to achieve their goals. The open world set up allows Players to roam freely, leaving the option of focusing on missions or goofing around. This gives you the ultimate feeling of freedom. You can choose to just get things done or to spend exorbitant amounts of time randomly screwing around. Flirt with strippers, take home hookers, steal cars, do drug deals, and kill random people at your heart’s content; just be ready to run from the cops a lot.
Multi-player mode is a world all it’s own. You still have goals, but they differ to some degree. You can choose to free roam the open world, do missions with friends or other random players, create a crew of friends and get added RP while playing, spend your time stealing cars and selling them, Racing, parachuting, robbing stores, shopping, or even just relaxing at home. Personally, I spend a lot of time running from the police and trying to steal jets. Ultimately, most of us want to acquire a high-end apartment and have a 10 car garage, then fill it with awesome luxury vehicles.
Character customization is well detailed. Allowing you to form your character based on heritage. Choose the look of your grandparents on both of your parents side, along with the way your parents look, to ultimate create your own look. It is fascinating and well laid out. You can also choose your own personal style to go with this. Choose your hair/ make-up/ clothes right off the bat. Later, you can go to stores in the game to change your look as you would like. You can also purchase other clothing options with the money earned from missions or robberies.
The graphics in this game are phenomenal, truly a gorgeous game. Explore tall mountains, beautiful beaches, big city business districts, various types of construction sites, military bases, trailer parks, small dirt road communities, and wealthy gated communities. Steal a underwater submarine and explore the bottom of the canals, grab a jet ski and coast the ocean, sneak onto the military base and swipe a fighter jet and see how long you can fly it before you get shot down or you crash it, see what high end vehicles you can pilfer and crash, track down your enemies in a helicopter, there are so many possibilities! Even the weather changes, going from a glorious sunny day to pouring rain. It also reflects day and night.
Rockstar games also paid very close attention to audio in this game. Giving you several different radio stations; country, pop, rock, talk, latino, and many others to choose from. The songs are often recognizable titles, and occasionally you will hear a rewritten comedic version of a familiar song. Don’t want to listen to the radio? You can easily turn it off. The AI cursing at you is also very entertaining. My only complaint is that once you listen to one station long enough, you will hear the same things over and over again. This needs to be regularly updated so that players don’t tire of the feature. This is something that Rockstar Games has obviously put a lot of focus into and I would hate to see that go to waste.
This game has massive quantities of positives, but it is not without it’s faults. As many of you have seen, the servers have been a bit meddlesome. At first, they were insufficient for the number of people trying to get online (this is no longer an issue), and to compensate Rockstar Games is giving everyone that plays the online tutorial all the way through $500K in in-game funds. Even now you may still be thrown into a lobby by yourself, or kicked randomly. The game can also freeze, particularly during loading screens. Dashboarding and losing progress is very frustrating. There is also not near enough options currently available for real estate and clothing. All the apartments are basically identical, the only difference on a lot of them is the view from your window or the exterior of the building itself. Although the game is filled with actual houses and mansions with real estate signs in front of them, you cannot purchase them. The developers have also been working to get up the Stock market feature for online gameplay and heists. These will allow players to acquire funds much more efficiently.
Which leads me to another issue in this game. The cheaters. There are an exorbitant amount of people doing glitches of different types to level up faster and make millions in the course of a day. I personally am not effected by this. It doesn’t bother me that others have all the cars and apartments they want without effort, but it also hurts the game. These people are getting bored. With nothing to do but wander in lobbies and repeatedly spawn killing you for no reason. I hear them complaining that they have nothing to do as well. If this isn’t corrected, this game will soon lose it’s appeal to gamers. Then the lobbies will dwindle and the game will become less entertaining.
Another issue is the police. They are extremely aggressive in this game. There is a rating system over how must you are wanted by the police. Depending on how many stars you have, is how aggressively they will pursue you. The issue I have is that they will shoot and kill you even if you pull over and are unarmed. They will continuously chase you for far longer than they should, even with just one star. If they hit you while in chase, they will start to chase you and shoot you. It really doesn’t make sense.
I would also like to bring to Rockstars’ attention that there are people waiting to spawn kill the people just starting the game. When I finished the tutorial race and was put in my very first lobby I was shot on the spot. Not even alive long enough to take a single step. The screen wasn’t even fully loaded yet. It was frustrating and I thought I was going to hate the game as a result. There should probably be a lobby for those pieces of crap that are repeatedly doing stuff like that. If you are always being killed out of the spawn, your game will soon go into the trash. There are numerous lobbies where you just end up having to quit and go to a new one, simply because there are jerks spawn killing you so much. I had one afternoon where 4 lobbies in a row had these assholes in them. It is a lousy experience. There may need to be a safe spawn or something that will at least allow a player to have 10 seconds before taking damage. I just don’t understand the reasoning behind ruining someone else’s game. It is lousy.
Overall, the game is fantastic. Entertaining, exciting, addicting…. everything you could possibly want or expect from a Grand Theft Auto. Considering the fact that I had never played any other GTA games and yet am so thoroughly addicted should be testament in itself. I do hope to see more open up in the near future. Making houses available, decorating options, clothing options, song packs, and more could allow this game to see far more success than competing titles could ever imagine. I recommend that everyone at least give it a thorough test drive. It is well worth the money, as you will not be able to put it down and play anything else for a long time afterward.