It’s been two weeks since Grand Theft Auto V was released. I’m sure, since you’re reading this, that you’ve seen the other reviews. Critics across the nation and the world have given this game the title as one of the best ever made. GTA V had one of the most anticipated releases of all time. The only other game that had a similar level of anticipation was Grand Theft Auto IV, which was the series’ first release on the then, next-gen consoles, the Playstation 3 and the Xbox 360.
I’m here to write an “after the dust settles” review to see if the game was all hype or if it really did have the depth and gameplay to be an instant classic.
Well, I’m sorry to all those who love to hate everything popular (cough…trolls and hipsters…cough) but this game is one of the best I’ve played. From top to bottom, this is one of the most detailed games I have ever experienced. The time Rockstar Studios took to ensure every detail in this game was perfect shows. They fixed all the little bugs and issues with GTA IV (i.e. environmental pop-ins, weird bugs and glitches, weapon handling, etc.) and improved upon them ten-fold.
Let’s start this review by looking at the visuals. Everything in this game looks amazing: the cars, the people, the guns, the buildings…everything. Explosions look fantastic and the motion-blur while driving at high speeds is almost nauseating. The city looks like any major city you can visit. The beach is picturesque. The desert and backwoods of the map were given just as much attention: wildlife roams freely, the mountains are enormous, and the vegetation is lifelike.
The map literally lives and breathes as you play the game. People have conversations while walking, they shop and they react to everything you do. These are not your regular NPCs (Non-Player Character). There are cop chases happening in the streets, and even robberies that you’re not a part of can happen at any time; it’s really amazing.
The gameplay is also top-notch. It’s the same general control scheme as it was in GTA IV with a few minor tweaks. You can bring up a weapon wheel to switch weapons instead of having to tap a button furiously to get to your desired load out. Hitting and holding down on the D-Pad also brings up the option to switch to one of the three characters: Trevor, Michael and Franklin. The shooting and driving feel much better than it did in the previous entry and the cover system works much better as well.
Along with all the amazing visuals and great gameplay, GTA V also has a top notch story with exceptional voice acting. I’m not just saying this. I hold games to a high standard for story as some of my favorite games are Bioshock and the Batman Arkham series.
The story centers around Michael, a retired criminal who finds himself back in the game, Trevor, Michael’s best friend and ex-partner who’s a bit of a psychopath, and Franklin, a thug who wants bigger and better things than small-time drug dealing.
All three characters interact with each other throughout the story and pull off a couple of awe-inspiring heists together. Each character also has a different ability: Michael can slow down time on foot so he becomes a more accurate shooter, Trevor can trigger his rage to basically become invincible for a short time, and Franklin can slow down time while driving so tight turns can be made with ease. I’m not going to go too far into the story because I do not want to spoil it, but trust me, it is lengthy and definitely worth your time.
Also note: I’m writing this review before GTA Online is released, so I did not review that. On a related note, if you do not see me around campus for a few days, that is probably what I’ll be doing.
Verdict: I’m not the kind of guy that throws around perfect scores to everything. Actually, I hate throwing out perfect scores. But if there is such a thing as a perfect game, Grand Theft Auto V is it. With humor, thrills and a few twists, the story is top notch. Rockstar did not change too much from GTA IV, which is a good thing as they only tightened up the feel for weapons and cars. If you’re considering getting this game, do it. If you’re not, consider it. This game is probably the last big blockbuster of the current generation of consoles, and it will definitely be one to remember.
Final Score: 10/10