Grand Theft Auto V review

by Gaetano 'Xbot' Prestia Featured

22 Comments 44 Votes 49424 Views 20/09/2013 Back to Reviews

There’s something about Los Santos that has had gamers craving a return to the San Andreas city since 2004’s first-time visit. Interestingly, I think it has more to do with criticisms aimed at GTA IV, as highlighted here, than it does CJ’s explosive outing some nine years ago. Frankly, I feel gamers craved the freedoms set by GTA IV’s predecessors but eventually diluted by that game’s ambitious but trivial focus on relationship. For all of GTA IV’s storytelling achievements, it achieved so much while exploiting the expectations of the gamer, eradicating the spontaneous chaos for structured objectives. On its own it’s a brilliant game, but next to GTA V, it may yet be the one GTA game that got away.

Almost two years after its first reveal, we’ve finally arrived in Los Santos. This LA-inspired wonderland is different to the one we saw in 2004, fuelled by enthusiastic interpretations of the cliche-riddled “American dream”, and propelled by lively caricature’s of contemporary society. And still, while the game’s three anti-heroes in Franklin, Michael and Trevor each empower the player through rigid charisma and dazzling mystic, the city of Los Santos is the star of the show, the one character we’ll remember above all else when we randomly start the game up for a quick play a few years down the track.

There are certainly gameplay enhancements here that help thrust GTA V above its predecessors. The gunplay has been refined to snap fluidly and aim precisely, and yet it’s executed with a level of restraint that keeps it grounded in classic GTA gameplay. The boosted focus on cover-based combat, already taken above and beyond what we knew of the GTA series in Niko’s adventure, further helps the frequent gun fight, heist and hold-up eradicate the suspense we’ve come to love of the series’ powerful storytelling techniques.

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Driving, as with shooting, helps form the foundation of Los Santos life. Driving along the Los Santos Freeway from the north into LS at dusk provided one of the most awe inspiring gaming moments of my life, perhaps only topped by that Mexico moment in Red Dead Redemption. There’s no need to delve into the driving mechanics and differences between each vehicle: driving in GTA V is fun, in its simplest form, ditching the nuisance of ultra-realistic mechanics in GTA IV that made calling for a taxi a necessity to get around Liberty City. In GTA V, I’d rather drive cross-country then call for a cab. I think that says a lot, not just for the ways cars handle, but that the city is inviting enough to make you want to drive the long distances.

I want to touch on the game’s lively social commentary, as GTA V once again proves that no one does humour like Rockstar Games. There’s the outrageous, crude humour of series’ like Saints Row, and while GTA V certainly has plenty of that comical approach, its capacity to mock and parody itself, alongside the fallacies of contemporary society, is one of the reasons I keep coming back to the game world. GTA V is certainly driven by the “masculinity” hinted at by Dan Houser in interviews preceding the game’s release, and yet it miraculously addresses the series’ male-only character focus through delightful parodies and hilarious commentary. GTA V is not misogynistic: its characters are. Take the time to embrace every nook and cranny of the game’s unhinged nastiness and you’ll notice its citizens resent the very tone and behaviour of the characters we control. It’s in this that GTA V, like its predecessors, manages to separate city from character, offering two decisively different interpretations of society through the eyes of individuals, and also through the soul of a lively, thriving city.

The shift between each of the three main characters, and the ways in which they interact and engage with one another, is central to GTA V’s stunningly witty and believable tale. Michael, Franklin and Trevor feel like real people: Michael and Franklin are like an ode to Tommy Vercetti in Vice City and CJ in San Andreas, respectively, while Trevor is the refreshing breakaway -- albeit a chaotic one -- that appears to be representative of the anarchic intentions of the player. If Trevor is Rockstar’s interpretation of the GTA player, they nailed it.

Above all else, the best thing about GTA V is undoubtedly the freedom it presses up against the player: the big bank accounts, the heists, the randomness and depth of the game world, the detail of Los Santos, the believable accounts of the characters. All of this molds together to form an experience that perfectly defines modern society. The game invites you to hunt that American dream, only it knows reality will eventually come crashing down.

And therein lies GTA V’s brilliance. The reality of the game world is obviously in contrast with reality in the real world, and yet the dream of the game’s central characters are all so in-line with what many of us would ultimately love to achieve: prestige, wealth and respect. It offers the structured breakaway from reality that we need, thrusting us into a game world that invites you in with open doors, and then points the finger at you, laughing and mocking, as you chase the unfathomable dream.

But if none of that matters to you, Los Santos is still there for you to lean on. Care to go for a drive?

Grand Theft Auto V

Got Right
  • + The character of Los Santos
  • + Los Santos' characters
  • + Freedom to explore
Got Wrong
  • - I can't hijack trains. Dafuq Rockstar?
Platform: PS3 / Xbox / PC
Similar to: Grand Theft Auto IV
 
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More Info on Grand Theft Auto V

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Game Profile: Grand Theft Auto V
Grand Theft Auto V Australian Release: Out Now

Grand Theft Auto V review Comments

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I'm only up to the 2nd Trevor mission and I'm in love with this game. Everything is exactly the way I wanted it. I really wanted an updated San Andreas.

Also, I loved the driving in GTAIV, I don't know what everyone is on about. GTAV driving is good too.
GOTY...
great review, however maybe someone that is a little bit less of a GTA fanboy should have done the review, just saying :P

gammaray13 said: great review, however maybe someone that is a little bit less of a GTA fanboy should have done the review, just saying


Why though? Someone who gets a lot out of gta is who I would prefer then someone who is reviewing it just because. Know what I mean?
Yeah i don't understand where all the hate for Gta IV's driving is coming from, as soon as gta V was released, i started hearing about how the driving was like you were driving on 'butter' and such. What i remember was how everyone was praising how it actually felt like their was weight to the cars. I did not like the driving of Gta V at the start, but now its starting to grow on me.

gammaray13 said: great review, however maybe someone that is a little bit less of a GTA fanboy should have done the review, just saying



Isn't that the point though?
Better to have someone who appreciates what's on offer than someone who doesn't.
Perfect example would be to get @1wiierdguy to review the game, you'd probably get a 4/10 out of him yet Mario 3D World would get a 10/10.
Another example would be getting me to rate the latest Black Sabbath album as i'd give it a 2/10, wouldn't it make more sense if you reviewed it being able to appreciate it more?

Shame you don't have faith in @Tano reviews i have always found them to be spot on regardless of being a 'fanboy'

gammaray13 said: great review, however maybe someone that is a little bit less of a GTA fanboy should have done the review, just saying



Wouldn't someone who doesn't appreciate the series being similarly as biased in the opposite direction? :P

Olly said:Perfect example would be to get @1wiierdguy to review the game, you'd probably get a 4/10 out of him yet Mario 3D World would get a 10/10.


I see your point but don't agree that the results would vary by such a degree. GTA V would have to have severe technical and gameplay flaws to score so low(which from all I've seen and heard it doesn't) but it raises an interesting point, just how much would the score vary based on if the reviewer was already a "fanboy" of the series?

Tano said: Wouldn't someone who doesn't appreciate the series being similarly as biased in the opposite direction?


Would a non fan review of the game be biased? If the reviewer wasn't caught up in the hype and excitement of the newest games release wouldn't the review be a more level and accurate view of the game on offer? Interesting.

Oh and @Olly Mario 3d World will be an 11/10 game.....FACT! ;)

Tano said:

gammaray13 said: great review, however maybe someone that is a little bit less of a GTA fanboy should have done the review, just saying


Wouldn't someone who doesn't appreciate the series being similarly as biased in the opposite direction?


No you miss the point @Tano, im knocking your review and im not asking for someone who doesn't appreciate the series to review either, i just saying that someone who is a fan of the genre to make a review, then maybe we might find that there is more than only not letting you hijack a train wrong with it, i love the game but i do find that it can become a little boring in places doing the same type of thing over and over, you however dont find it slightly boring, (which is great BTW) and Oily if i reviewed the new Black Sabbath album i would be totally a fanboy and find nothing wrong what so ever with it, however a fan of metal would do a better review as he or she likes metal but not in love with Sabbath :)
better driving than IV? That is a big plus for me..

I absolutely hated the driving mechanics in IV. Maybe I didn't give it long enough but I didn't find it all that enjoyable.

punk said: better driving than IV? That is a big plus for me..
I absolutely hated the driving mechanics in IV. Maybe I didn't give it long enough but I didn't find it all that enjoyable.


Im with you on that one
8/10. Game takes too much camera control and economy is too complicated. Doesn't have the same money-falling-out-of-pockets feeling that every other GTA has. Map is large and impressive but lacks the same memorability that rockstar achieved in RDR. Fully trained flying skill is still too shaky. Too easy to die from a push bike falling on top of you. Changing character can have you running away from the police and when you're not prepared its not such a nice thing to deal with.

Unquestionably amazing game and definitely worth playing, but far from flawless.
GTA V definitely has more of a "money falling out of pockets" feel than GTA IV. RDR and GTA V are different games and RDR dictated a thriving remote world. GTA V needs a thriving city and a secondary remote area. Flying is still shaky I agree and rag doll physics can be really frustrating.
1/10 No ****ing Jetpack! >:(

Tomycins said: 1/10 No ****ing Jetpack! >:(



Yeah don't know what they were thinking :P
Haha I played the game but don't own it. I thought the game was nicely done and very nice to play. Actual review would probably be 8/10 or 9/10 (more likely a 9/10 I haven't played too much yet). Good game but I am always hoping Rockstar added more things to do every game!
i haven't played GTa since the very first.. should i buy this game?

@rancid13 said: i haven't played GTa since the very first.. should i buy this game?



The game is probably worth it. But I'm gonna wait until its a little cheaper before I buy it.
I don't like giving games scores out of ten but I'm extremely happy with gta 5

M@ndyz said: I don't like giving games scores out of ten but I'm extremely happy with gta 5



Neither do I :S I actually hate it.
I'm so happy with this game :P
it's so good :P I dont find it addictive though like other people do?
would you people calm down, ive seen nothing but GTA5 krap for months now, come on it isn't amazing enough to waste thousands of peoples time writing and making videos about it. its good, but not that good

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