Your favorite crime spree franchise is back with Grand Theft Auto V! Rockstar brings their latest installment to the video game series and keeps steamrolling like a GTA driver through a sidewalk full of pedestrians. If you’re new to the franchise… where the hell have you been? GTA 5 looks to build upon the success of GTA 4 and all the pieces seem to be in place. Let’s take a look and see how it shapes up!
Blue Ball Score: 20.5 out of 25 balls
Time to hit the streets of Los Santos, San Andreas and f#@k shat up! Grab a gun, steal a car, and strap in for the ride that is Grand Theft Auto. The controls haven’t changed much. If you’re a veteran to the series, you’ll have no problems here. If you’re new to the franchise… I feel like we’ve covered that already. In any case, it’s more of the same in terms of controls, which isn’t a bad thing. The controls with GTA games have always been very intuitive. Why fix what isn’t broke, right? You’ll use both first-person and third-person views throughout the game. Auto-aim assist and a cover system will help during combat, which can get as hairy as grandma’s mole at times. However, Rockstar has created a perfect balance of challenging vs unfair to keep the experience fun.
The open world gameplay that you’ve (hopefully) grown to know and love with Grand Theft Auto is perfect. One of my favorite features is that the entire city is available to explore from the very start. Don’t want to hit the story missions right away? Well, there’s no reason to jump in immediately if you’d rather take a drive around first. Of course, you’ll need to steal a car in true GTA fashion to upgrade your ride. Driving seems to have improved slightly, as I didn’t find myself careening out of control quite as frequently. The vehicles didn’t seem as clunky and the city’s pedestrians were pleased to know that as well.
As is the norm with GTA, there are plenty of missions and side-missions to keep you busy. I always find myself easily distracted in the world of GTA. Can I jump my car off that ramp? Should I even take a car? Or a plane? Or a boat? Or just run through the city causing chaos and see how long I can keep the law off my tail? Endless possibilities should keep you entertained along with a plethora of random stuff for you to do as you please. Just keep an eye on that wanted meter!
With all of the options available, gameplay earns a perfect 5/5.
As for the story, it’s not the greatest but it certainly isn’t terrible. Personally, I felt like the story writing of GTA 4 was a little better. The addition of the extra characters and having to connect their stories likely wasn’t an easy task, so from that aspect I feel like they did an amazing job. The story begins with Michael who has a run-in with Franklin, as Franklin is attempting to repossess the vehicle of Michael’s son. After returning home, Michael finds that his wife has been cheating on him with the tennis coach and it is game-set-match. He chases the tennis coach to a mansion, where he ends up destroying the mansion. Considering Michael’s current string of good luck, it’s no surprise that he finds out the mansion is home to a drug lord’s girlfriend who demands that Michael work for her as compensation. At this point, Michael enlists the help of Franklin and Trevor and hilarity ensues, including involvement from the government.
The missions are designed very well, and definitely keeps the story and action flowing. As mentioned before, you can upgrade your characters and weapons, buy outfits, and purchase properties. Again, with more options available than a build-a-bear workshop, this earns a near-perfect 4.5 balls.
Your first order of business with GTA Online is a tutorial. Although it is a bit lengthy, it will give you all of the details that you need to know before you hit the streets. The GTA Online city is a replica of the single-player city. The open world, free roaming aspects carry over along with the aforementioned game modes. You will find game lobbies scattered through the city that you can enter at any time. If you find the multiplayer too aggressive, then there is an option for Passive Mode which keeps you safe from the mayhem. Also, you can create or join a crew to accompany you throughout the city. This can be helpful, but is really nothing more than a security blanket to make you feel warm and fuzzy. Good luck!
The multiplayer was awful at the time of launch. Multiple flaws plagued gameplay in GTA Online and players had tons of difficulties. Subsequent updates and patches have improved gameplay, but it still isn’t the best that it could be. The idea behind GTA Online is an amazing concept, but it just wasn’t implemented properly. Due to these issues, GTA Online is limited to 3.5 balls.
Sounds and voice-acting meet the GTA standard in the fifth edition to the main storyline. The personalities of each character shine through into the campaign and make you feel like part of the story. As with any GTA video game, plenty of comedy is thrown in to keep you entertained. The standard array of sound effects is included for ear candy. Again, it is difficult to simulate an entire city’s worth of sounds, but I think they do the job very well considering the scope of the game.
Solid graphics and sound earn 4 balls.
In conclusion, Rockstar delivers another rockstar performance with Grand Theft Auto V. The ability to switch and play as three different characters was a gutsy move, but it definitely paid off. An all-around solid game that gives gamers lots of ways to choose their own path in the open world. GTA V earns a final score of 20.5 balls.