Rockstars “Grand theft auto V” has swiftly become the fastest selling game of all time. It made 1 billion dollars in its first 3 days of launch, 800 million of that was in the first 24 hours, with annalist reporting it sold 11.2 million copies in that one day. At this point, people are either already playing it, or know if they want to, so opinions on it are like drops in the ocean.
To that end, here is my review of Grand Theft Auto V. In the sprawling city of Los Santos, and the equally large, albeit mostly desert, Blaine County crime pays. After your basic intro missions and tutorials, you find yourself able to switch between 3 main protagonists each very different from each other as far as character is concerned. Franklin is an eager young criminal, with aspirations to move up the ladder to organised, respectable crime and often finds himself offending his fellow ”bangers” by pointing out how stupid their petty criminal plans are. Michael is a family man who only wants the best for his family and a normal life, unfortunately he has quite the temper and is a total sociopath so crime finds him despite his attempts to avoid it. Then we get to Trevor. Trevor is, or definitely comes across as, a character designed totally around the quintessential GTA player. He is a total psychopath, with no regard for other people, the law or himself half of the time. As long as he gets his money and has fun doing it no one else matters.
Each of the characters, despite their personalilty differences, have one thing in common – they are all brilliantly written and the voice acting is nothing short of excellent. Throughout Grand Theft Auto V You’ll find yourself with a strange kind of sympathy for Franklin as he moves between wanting to move up the crime ranks and feeling way over his head when things get serious. You’ll worry about Michael and how he has so many demons that he tries, but fails, to overcome so turns back to crime and violence as a “its all I know” last resort. Perhaps most worryingly, you’ll also find yourself warming to Trevor. He’s so over the top and psychotic that it usually ends up being hilarious just waiting to see what he says, or jumping to him to find him throwing someone off a bridge like its totally reasonable.
Looking away from the protagonists, the world itself is beautiful with mountains, the ocean and even the city being vibrant and full of life. Many an hour can just be spend driving around looking at the world and how much detail has gone into it (though do watch out for mountain lions). The only problem with this is that despite its many shops and other buildings only a handful of them can actually be entered to explore, hardly any of the specialty vehicles can use their specialty, you can’t dump a rubbish truck for example. And perhaps the worst thing about this huge, detailed open world is that a lot of the time there isn’t a great deal to do. The random events are just that – random, so they’re far and few between. The hobbies and pass times only serve to increase your basic stats and end up becoming tedious far too quickly. And with out the addition or map points are even a general idea of where to find them without a guide, the collectables sort of feel like they’re there because “hey, it’s a game, we need some collectables”. This ends up spoiling the end game, as only the most intent on completion players will bother putting in the hours to explore every nook and cranny to find all that can be found.
But still with this in mind, I love the game. When you’re doing a mission, main or side, as any of the playable characters you want to see what happens next and where it takes the narrative, and that for me is the most important part. The freedom I can live without as long as the characters are engaging enough for me to want to spend time with them. Then of course, there’s the online. I cant say much on it, as at the time of writing it’s still being fixed. But from what time I have spent in it I can see a lot of potential, particularly with some good friends and a lot of ammo.
As a closing point, I’d like to touch on something a bit more serious that always comes up around this kind of game and indeed has for this one. Violence in video games is not a problem. Can we please just deal with that and move on ? Doing violent things in a game, a medium where the whole idea is you do anything you want to have fun without it effecting anyone else, doesn’t mean you’re going to get all stabby at the office or school. The media says violence is glorified, but how exactly ? Never, unless you’re around Trevor maybe, does anyone congratulate you on a nice bit of murdering. If you kill, or even attack someone around other people of the police you get arrested or killed. Much like real life, your actions can have consequences. But playing a game doesn’t make me think I could just go out, do some murdering, lose the police and then hide in a bush till they’ve given up looking. Guitar hero has not made me a platinum selling musician, so grand theft auto isn’t going to make me a total psychopath. Not yet anyway.