And here we go again. What a year it has been for video gaming. First Bioshock Infinite, then The Last of Us, and now we have the latest from Rockstar North Grand Theft Auto V. I’m not really sure how to start this review. I think the best way I can start this is by talking about the problems I have with video game critic circles in general. I suppose this can be caused by the fact that video game journalists and professional criticism is a relatively new thing and by that I mean the last 20 or so years. But sadly with their young age, a decent amount of critics either A) are still ‘young’ and naive enough to be blissfully unaware of publishers and developers exploiting them by showering them in lavish gifts and deals in exchange for good reviews. (Look at Doritogate for proof positive of this) or B) Are still in this strange phase where any big name title that is released is automatically showered with praise and perfect scores as far as the eye can see. Now I’m not saying I’m completely innocent of this. Many could argue that I have done the same with a few of my reviews in the past so please do not think for a second that I am standing on top of my pedestal and looking down at everyone else. I’m in the crowd with everyone else. Just trying to bring about a point here.
The point that I am trying to reach here is that if you are reading this review and are expecting me as a critic to just blow sunshine up Rockstar North’s ass than you are really in the wrong place. Please find another site and there are plenty out there. That being said, this game is excellent. Please do not think for one second that I disliked the game. This game is pretty phenomenal in many regards. It is by far the most expensive game of all time, racking up a budget of over $250,000,000 and it is certainly money well spent. Rockstar North puts an insane amount of details into their games and is one of those companies that just seems to keep delivering time and time again. But!… is this game the best game of all time? Should this game receive game of the year? Is this game even the best game in the Grand Theft Auto collection? Well… All three of those questions are still up in the air in this critic’s opinion.
Grand Theft Auto V takes us back to the state of San Andreas, more specifically the city of Los Santos. It centers around three protagonists Michael (Townley) De Santa a former bank heist expert in witness protection. Trevor, Michael’s deranged friend who he thought died in a bank heist instead of going into witness protection. Finally there is Franklin, a young man from Los Santos who is taken under Michael’s wing. This leads to a series of events as they operate several heists together and eventually become recruited by a handful of crooked FIB (get it?) agents and a man named Devin Weston to work for them.
When a developer puts this much attention to detail in creating the most life-like world imaginable, they deserve massive respect. This game is detailed down to the jumping mechanics. Car damage looks life-like, humans take life-like damage whenever they are shot or hit.
I love the way the game allows you to switch from Michael, Trevor, and Franklin and jumps by moving to an overhead shot of Los Santos and then shows one of the three of them just doing random mundane tasks such as ironing a shirt or watching TV. It really adds that next level of detail to the game to show that these people do not just ‘stop existing’ when you aren’t playing as them. They have lives and interact with the world when you are not around.
It really is the little things that make a game awesome. Rockstar North focused on building this world and making it as life-like as possible and this truly is the strongest aspect of the game.
The Story Does Not Suffer for Having Three Protagonists and Ties Them Together Really Well
It is hard to have multiple protagonists in a game sometimes. It is hard to fully flesh out three people equally without one becoming ‘dominant’ over the others. However for this game, GTA V really does a good job in the protagonists in Michael, Franklin, and Trevor. They did a fantastic job in taking three characters from different walks of life and connecting them the way they did with a shared interest in skill in the clandestine lifestyles they lead. Each of the three have very interesting and compelling motivations and you really do feel for each of the three as they try to succeed in Los Santos.
The Parody of Life is Fantastic
One of the best things about any GTA game is how the creators just seem to parody all walks of life. There really isn’t a single aspect of human life that has not been parodied by Rockstar North. Legalizing medicinal cocaine, radio, stereotypes, humanity itself… I just love the world that they create and wonder what it would be like to live in a world that is so self-aware of all the stereotypes and odd things in our world and just fully embrace them with a wicked gleam in their eyes.
Several Features are Not Well Explained And Can Just Be Left Aside
I suppose this is the purpose of the content is to just have a handful of side content out there to be complete and dependent on what kind of player you are you can either discard it or complete it as you complete the main story line… But I still feel like it is a little too ‘side content’. Several side content such as the internet on your phone and the strangers and friends you can meet are often vaguely explained in my opinion. Most of the time I didn’t discard the side content, purchasing stock on the stock market, and so forth as much as I forgot they existed. After initiating the first quests I rarely if ever followed up on the content just because I had better things to do with my time and by the time I remembered I forgot what I was doing to begin with. I’m sure many gamers have no problem with this but I do find it a bit of a problem when the game is as vague as it was on this front.
This game is a ton of fun, just like all the Grand Theft Auto games. The graphics are amazing, the world feels like it exists as Rockstar North has come close to perfecting the art of creating a world. It is one of those games that can make you feel a multitude of emotions and leave you thoroughly satisfied for the entire game.
Final Score 4.5/5
Thank you for reading and sorry for the tardiness. Next up is review 100! WOOT! If you enjoyed this review please like and subscribe for more from me.