Grand Theft Auto is a title that everyone knows. It’s the name of a series of games that helped define a generation, and in the 12 years since the third core game in the series helped push gaming into a larger spotlight.
Gaming has changed though. It’s been five years since GTA IV burst onto the scene, and in that gap between major GTA sequels, the genre has evolved. GTA V proves that it has what it takes to not only still be relevant , but to take survival of the fittest to a new level. It’s the kind of game that knows it comes from an older generation. But instead of trying to recapture that youth, GTA V instead runs with it and embraces that theme of old dogs staying true to form and celebrating what makes the franchise so damn popular in the first place.
GTA V is the game that once again sets a new benchmark in excellence.
GTA V review (1)
Set back in sunny Los Santos, GTA V takes place across three distinct characters and storylines. Michael is your former career criminal who cut a deal to save his own skin and that of his family, living a high life of luxury that has brought him nothing but pain. His wife is banging anything with a pulse to get away from her husband, his kids hate him and his anger is barely kept in check.
Franklin is your thug from the hood, but a man with his eye on becoming more than just a dimebag-dealing hoodlum stuck in the ghettos amongst friends and family who embarrass him more than anything else.
And then there’s Trevor. Freakin’ Trevor.
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While Michael and Franklin are pretty much believable characters stuck in a rut in life, Trevor is an unstable force of nature with a quick temper, drug habit and sociopathic tendencies that would make Jack the Ripper look like a saint in comparison. And he’s pretty much the best character that Rockstar has ever unleashed in a game.
Trevor is brutal, unforgiving but honest to a fault. He’s the spirit of GTA V, Jack Thomson’s worst nightmare and the poster child for gratuitous violence and explicit sex in video games. And in GTA V, he’s perfect.
But moving on, what Rockstar has managed to do is to make three characters who are clearly distinctive personalities. You can see this when you do something as switch between them. Michael may be getting a crap cup of coffee, or Franklin may be walking his dog. Trevor will most likely be sleeping off a hangover of note and wondering why he just woke up wearing a skirt.
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And that switch between three characters forms a large part of the appeal and evolution of GTA V. Barring certain mission circumstances and consequences from completing them, you can switch at any time between the unholy trio of hell-raisers.
It’s a quick and intuitive process, that can be done anywhere and anytime. And while it’s a neat feature, it really comes in handy during missions. Switching between the three during shootouts, getaway drives and heists. It’s something that becomes second nature, and a welcome way to spice up combat.
GTA V review (8)
So what has really changed in the years between GTA IV and V. Well for starters, driving a car is now no longer a labour worthy of Hercules himself. Handling has been massively improved, but to a degree that tows a fine line between arcade physics and realism. It’s a welcome return to form that sits in the middle of the driving experience from GTA III and IV, with control and decent handling balancing some of the trickier aspects of outrunning cops.
Your three leads also have access to their own special abilities, which can be recharged and lengthened the more you play with them. Michael can enter a slow-mo bullet time, but minus the Max Payne dramatic dodges, in which he can precisely aim for a headshot and save his own skin.
GTA V review (12)
Franklin gets to drift around corners in slow motion in a manner usually reserved for Fast and Furious sequels, while Trevor can anger up his blood and halve the damage he...
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