Grand Theft Auto V is a steaming pile of dog shit that should be avoided in every which way possible because it defiles our Christian religion, encouraging your children to have underage sexual relations with their siblings while smoking crystal meth!
Right, now the bullshit is out the way and I have your attention, allow me to tell you how GTA V is really fantastic. The timeline for this incarnation of everyone's favourite sandbox crime simulator is set around or just after the events in Liberty City with Grand Theft Auto IV and its subsequent DLC packages. This means we're in a modern day timeline with the appropriate companies, vehicles and weaponry we come to expect for this period of time.
Set in San Andreas, the sheer scale of this project wouldn't truly hit you until you get airborne and have the chance to fly over some of the areas of the game. From Los Santos to Vinewood, Rockford Hills to Blaine County and even further north you come to realise that Rockstar have truly pumped the reported £170 million development costs into every nook and cranny of this game. For those that are wondering, yes Grove Street is still in the game; just don't expect it to be the way you left it in GTA: San Andreas.
Everything from the companies, cars, buildings, landscapes, general populace and even the flip flops that you wear have been lavished with development time, and it must be something special if your flip flops actually act like flip flops instead of some rudimentary texturing work to cover the foot that masquerades as flip flops. This will be the last paragraph in this review that references the flip flops in the game, just because I wanted to get the most uses of flip flop in a single review; but I'm just amazed the flip flops actually flip and flop as you walk. Although, I have to question their practicality when you're running from the Police in flip flops and I am surprised you can do so without falling over quite horribly or stubbing your toes.
Anyway, I digress, the point of that ramble was to try and express that the attention to detail in GTA V is simply a work of art and you really should just take a step back for a few moments and take in the views that this living, breathing city has in store for you.
Before you even step foot in Los Santos, the game starts mid heist, controlling the first of three main protagonists that you will get to control through your time in GTA V, Michael Townley, the master thief of the trio. Set in the snowy location of Ludendorff, North Yankton, which is theoretically south of the Canadian border, your group pull off quite the robbery of a secluded bank. Unfortunately things do not go to plan as the police are quickly on the case forcing you to shoot your way to freedom. This starting mission acts as the game tutorial, teaching you the basics of movement, shooting and driving before the culmination of your escape sees two of the four man crew dead, Michael apparently bleeding out and Trevor Philips running away from the swarms of armed officers.
This tutorial heist occurred a decade before the storyline truly kicks in; Michael is in witness protection living the highlife in Los Santos, supposedly retired from the robbery game. Only due to a number of circumstances beyond our protagonists control is his past starting to re-emerge, forcing Townley down a path he once hoped that he would no longer tread.
Trevor Philips and Franklin Clinton are your two other protagonists for the game. Trevor being the former running buddy for Michael, now living in the deserts of Blaine County north of Vinewood. Trevor is now trying to build his own company in the only way he knows, via brute force due to his penchant for violence. Running guns, cooking crystal meth and wiping out any competition to ensure that Trevor Philips Industries is the primary source for all things illegal in the county.
Moving to Franklin, we hit the hoods of Los Santos, working as a repo man for a crooked car dealer, stealing back cars when clients are late with their finance payments due to the extortionate interest rates the dealer applies to his deals. It is only when Franklin has to repossess the car of Michael's own son do their paths intertwine on a route that will lead them to heists and riches.
The script writing for all of the characters you come across in this game is superb; Rockstar really have created such a believable setting for this game, coupled with fantastic voice actors that deliver the lines with such power and clinical execution, you can't help but feel attached to all of the cast in GTA V. Additionally there are so many moments that make you laugh that it would take me forever to list them, though one that stands out for me personally, has to be this one: -
Please be warned, the following video contains mature rated language.
There are many activities that can be done in the game in order to help level up the stats of your character. Thankfully it's not the resurrection of the old GTA: San Andreas mechanic where CJ needed constant attention in order to keep his stats in tip top shape, more of just do the activity enough to level up, or sit in clucking bell if you chose to be a porker. For example, the more you drive, the higher your driving skill will be, so all those high speed chases to get away from the police, the general cruising to take in the atmosphere of Los Santos will boost your driving skill.
This also applies to running for stamina, so you can enter triathlons, or go to the Ammu-nation shooting ranges in order to increase your marksmanship. So if you feel like giving tennis or golf a shot to waste some time then feel free, maybe some mountain biking, or jet ski racing, or base jumping. It has to be noted that the sporting activities have been worked on significantly; the tennis in particular could give a number of dedicated tennis games on the market a good run for their money.
Every activity that you decide to perform will help towards the overall goal of improving your character statistics in order to perform better when those skills are needed the most. There are a huge number of activities for the player to do, and Rockstar have also brought in the random event system which was seen in Red Dead Redemption, so you may come across someone being robbed and you can act on that crime yourself in which you may earn a reward or simply ignore the incident and hope the Police take care of it.
The police in this game definitely feel more of a living entity rather than just showing up when you perform illegal activities, you may hear sirens blazing away when you've done nothing wrong but don't worry, the rozzers in GTA V actively pursue other criminals that reside in San Andreas. They will appear to be a lot smarter than your average bear in GTA V too, as they do actively seek you after some naughty business as your minimap will show their location and cone of vision. While this may seem daunting at first experience, it actually helps you in the long run as you play a game of cat and mouse with those pesky porkers.
Unfortunately it's not all songs of praise for GTA V due to what I would consider to be a lacklustre complement of artists and tracks for the games numerous radio stations. Granted there are a few big name artists such as Phil Collins and Chris Brown's favourite sparring partner, Rihanna; but really I would say overall the soundtrack is more like elevator music or just work time radio that is just on in the background and no one really takes any notice.
This was not like previous titles for me where there were numerous smash hits which would be recognised around the globe. GTA: Vice City and GTA: San Andreas are top of the bill for the soundtracks, as the tracks were as iconic as the games themselves, yet GTA V has something lacking which I find quite disappointing. The radio stations still have their spot on satirical observations of the current culture and trends that are happening in America, especially their craze for mail order pharmaceuticals, but those are the only things worth listening to on the various radio stations in my opinion.
So overall Grand Theft Auto V is a stunning game that will keep you entertained for hours, hell, even attempting to walk from one end of the map to the other is going to kill several hours due to the size of it. From the sprawling metropolis of Los Santos to the deserts of Blaine County filled with trailer parks and assorted white trash. The mountain ranges that beautifully fill the horizon to the underwater adventures poking sharks with sticks and yellow submarines; there is too much content in GTA V to actively portray in this piece. There are a lot of up points and only a couple of minor down points, but overall it is one hell of a scream to play.
Fantastic script writing and voice acting
Such a dream to play
Shooting feels better than previous games
Soundtrack sucks ass
Running from the cops in flip flops, how is this possible?