Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto series has for years been a staple for console owners everywhere, attracting a great deal of criticism but an even more massive quantity of fans that are supremely loyal to its unique brand of crime-fuelled action. The series has come a long way from its simplistic roots: gone are the days of viewing the action from a birds-eye perspective as your tiny main character totters about on the screen and steals a very limited selection of cars in order to complete various missions; Grand Theft Auto has gone from strength to strength, and what better game to round off the quintilogy than Grand Theft Auto V. Reviewing a game with such expansive environments and seemingly endless content is rather difficult, compounded by the fact that the events in the fictional city of Los Santos in almost-fictional San Andreas are known and loved by a huge number of fans. This city is the perfect metaphor for the game itself however: vast, expansive, beautiful yet banal in parts, with an insane amount of things to do and a compelling story to tell.
The game begins in a fashion that is alien for the series, which usually drops you immediately into the action with a car and purpose; GTAV instead attempts to convey the stagnant nature of the now-retired Michael’s life and his longing for more action-packed times. Thankfully, it isn’t long before you’re tearing up the streets and getting up to the usually criminal activity, only this time with a three-character system which informs the rest of the game’s structure. Of course, having three characters doesn’t necessarily mean that a game is going to automatically be good, but what developer Rockstar does with this feature is use the threesome as a device to allow the player to view the action from three different perspectives, not just when the game dictates it, but at pretty much any point during the game. Holding down the corresponding button on the D-pad lets you instantly assume control of Michael, Franklin, or Trevor, emerging in their consciousness at an entirely arbitrary moment of each character’s lives. It’s an ambitious device, but one that Rockstar pulls of incredibly well, already making it unlike any other game.
The gameplay of GTAV is of course familiar in nature, with crime being the main focus. There are compulsory missions that must be completed in order to advance in the game of course, as well as side-missions which branch off into almost any area you can possibly think of. As is traditional with the series though, things are about as far from linear as you can possibly think of. Take a heist mission for example, which involves a choice between either approaching it intelligently with prior planning or simply taking the less cautious route (often involving explosives): choosing the former option then involves preparation work, branching off into various mini-missions where you must scout out various locations and plan the best you can. And this spontaneous flourishing of secondary missions is indicative of the nature of the gameplay in general: you’ll always find something else to do, activities to distract you, places to explore, and new relationships to forge which in turn lead to more missions.
The main advantage of the three-character system is not just the impressive focus on the plight and struggle of each of the characters and their personalities, but the fact that there is rarely a moment of downtime. After a mission concludes in previous games, you’re forced to make the arduous journey back to another part of the map in order to get your next mission, but the ability to switch to another character immediately afterwards in GTAV allows you to get right back into the action. Each character’s personality drives the story onwards as well, with Trevor’s being the most erratic, explosive, and comedic of the three whilst Franklin is the most familiar personality type, representing the inexperienced, fledgling criminal we’ve always assumed control of in previous iterations of Grand Theft Auto.
Not only do Rockstar manage to successfully implement the three-character mechanic (with all of its advantages), incredibly diverse missions, and a ridiculously elaborate world, but they also manage to integrate their own cynicism about the world into the action, with various missions reflecting this attitude such as paying a visit to the game-world’s equivalent of Facebook, Life Invader. The design of the city and much of the activities that happen within it are also a blatant commentary on the overly-commercial, technology-dependent world that we currently live in. Until such a time when Grand Theft Auto 6 is released, Grand Theft Auto 5 will remain leagues above its competitors in terms of design, gameplay, and the concept itself. Few other games have attempted to be as ambitious in format as this, and any that have tried can’t claim to have succeeded on the level of this masterpiece.
Cheats & Tips for GTA V
With GTA V being such a vast game with such free roaming territory to rampage in and with a wide array of missions having the odd cheat handy or using a walkthrough can we really keep the fun in the game. These GTA 5 cheats and this detailed GTA 5 Walkthrough will give you a good enough nudge along throughout the game and keep the entertaining side of this car jacking experience in full flow.