This title has been on everyone’s mind ever since the fourth installment was over and done with. It’s one of those franchises that regardless the end quality, you’ll have hordes of people stabbing each other to be the first in line once it hits the shelves. But this title had a little twist; it was the first title in the series which featured three different lead characters, introduced several new features and activities, and had a map with an unmatched size. After a summer with virtually no interesting games, I really found myself actually looking forward to GTA V, but as we arrived closer and closer to the launch, the public’s hype and general expression of stupidity got me a little off, and was actually already resenting the fact that I pre ordered the game. But what the hell I’m in that point of my life where I find myself dying a little every time I go to work, so ploughing through random people in the street and punching whores in the street would help ease my break down, and delay the day when I finally loose it and buy a trombone.
Audio and Video: Let’s start off with the Audio aspect of the game, which is unfortunately is average at best. The voice acting is spot on, but really and truly that is the single aspect of the Audio experience which doesn’t suck. The game is encoded in 5.1 Dolby Digital Audio, and the surround effects are barely audible. You’ll find yourself enjoying the sound more with a multichannel stereo setting rather the native encoding. Dialogue at times seems to start to fade off in the back ground only to come back louder as you adjust the volume to understand what the fuck is being said. The problem might be that to accommodate the huge environments and the visual aspects of the game, the sound had to be compressed, which dented the overall quality. The visual aspects of the game on the other hand are simply amazing. The lighting and textures of the game are superb, and the environments are as realistic as it gets in this generation. The city seems to be alive, and there is so much attention to detail that it makes you appreciate all the time and energy the team put into this game. There are so many activities and sights to see, it is borderline insane, and with so much stuff going around I couldn’t believe how smooth the game ran.
Gameplay: Like all the other titles in the franchise you have to follow a main story line scattered over a huge map. Between each mission you can basically do anything, except having a dolphinoscopy. Rockstar introduced another two playable main characters, which gives the gameplay a different perspective and actually breaks down some of the boredom, offering more excitement and intensity during missions. The best attribute of the game is the gunplay, which has been adapted from Max Payne 3, and gives solid shooting mechanics and intuitive controls. The driving was also tweaked, and actually feels really better, which makes chases more exciting and running over pedestrians more realistic. The storyline and gameplay really blend well and for the first time in the franchise I am actually immersed in the story line and enjoying the hell out of it. All three characters have distinct and diverse characteristics which makes it all the less boring. The only problem I have is the fact that main missions are located so far apart from each other, that driving from one part to the other ruins the pacing, and at times you find yourself dicking about with a newly discovered ride.
Personal Experience: I have to admit that although I didn’t have any high expectations for the game, I ended up enjoying myself a lot. Yes you do have to travel a lot between missions, and yes the mission equation is always the same (Drive somewhere, Gunfight and or Assassination, loose the cops, and drive somewhere else) but the story line, visuals, and gameplay are solid and more than make up for it. Rockstar really delivered on this one, and they have managed to create a decent cinematic and video game experience, bringing the series to a whole new level.
Overall Rating: 8/10
Written By Matthew C.