Friday, September 20, 2013

Rockstar Can Do No Wrong...

Game Mechanics - 2/2
Story-line - 2/2
Graphics - 2/2
Soundtrack - 2/2
Replay Value - 2/2
Total Score - 10/10

Well guys after much waiting its finally here. Grand Theft Auto 5 was released onto the world this week in gaming. Gamers all across the world rejoiced while employers and loved one lamented as they said goodbye to any future interaction with these gamers outside of the game. Join me as we embark on what is undoubtedly the single most quintessential gaming experience of 2013. Honestly this could be the shortest gaming review ever, all I would have to write is "buy this game now" because really if you own a PS3 or Xbox 360 it's an instant must have game for your collection. I'm sure though that you want a little more insight than that, so lets review GTA V...

Grand Theft Auto V is an open world action-adventure video game developed by Rockstar North and published by Rockstar Games. It was released on 17 September 2013 for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 consoles. It is the fifteenth title in the Grand Theft Auto series, and the first main entry since Grand Theft Auto IV was released in 2008.The game has been highly anticipated from its announcement and well be cherished and remembered as one of the last major titles to be released as the gaming industry makes the change over to the next generation of console gaming with the PS4 and Xbox One. Grand Theft Auto V takes place in an open world environment, primarily allowing the player to interact with the game world at their leisure. This is part of the major appeal to the game as it lets you pace your level of involvement and dictate your own pace for enjoyment and shaping you game progression to your liking. The developers envisioned Grand Theft Auto V as a spiritual successor to many of their previous projects, such as Red Dead Redemption and Max Payne 3. As such you will find aspects and elements of those games present such as the iconic weapon wheel user interface from the Max Payne series.

The single-player aspect of Grand Theft Auto V is played via three protagonists; they are Michael, Franklin and Trevor, criminals whose paths interconnect as the game's plot develops. While interacting with the game world, the player is able to switch between all three at will once the story has progressed far enough. This occurs by means of a directional compass on the heads up display. While playing the game players may uses firearms, handheld weapons, and melee attacks to fight enemies. Players can also run, jump, swim, or use vehicles to navigate the game's world. Pro-tip you can also seemingly perform front flips if you try to jump and melee attack. In combat, auto aim and a cover system can be used to skillfully wage war against your enemies. The main objective for the player is to complete missions to progress through the story, but much like other open world games, these missions can be completed at the player's convenience. Thankfully so as there is so much to do you really wont know where to start but one thing you will definitely want to invest a fair portion of time into is the 8 skills that each character has. Skills have numerical values assigned to show each characters proficiency in the area, such as shooting and driving. While the player improves the skills of each character as they play, there is a skill assigned to each character that they have expertise in by default, such as Trevor's skill as a pilot.

What’s Good:
Game Mechanics -  Let's start off with one of the big complaints of GTA IV; the driving, glad to say in this iteration driving has been improved and made more accessible for even the most novice of drivers. Most cars have a similar feel handling wise with only differences in weight and speed. The cover and aim system integrates and flows smoothly when needed in the heat of battle whether you need to blind fire or pop out from a corner. The controller layout and minimalist HUD makes it easy to get engrossed in the game and before you know it hours will have passed leaving you wondering what you have been doing all that time in game.

Story-line - Initially I had worries about Rockstar putting three protagonists in the game because I felt they wouldn't be able to tell a proper story that helps you connect to the characters but i'm glad to say my worries were unnecessary. Even though the game sort of leans towards Michael as the true protagonist I find myself gravitating towards Franklin more due his circumstances and mind set. We see where Michael is trying to exorcise his inner demons and salvage what he can of his already complicated life. Franklin is a street smart ex gang banger trying to make an actual means of bettering himself and way of life. Then you have Trevor who is just bat shit crazy but seemingly treasures his relationship with Michael and the past they share. How these three men form bonds and interact is sure to keep you entertained as the plot develops.

Graphics -  Even though typically console releases are bashed for their sub par graphics I must say that GTA V delivers well above its predecessor GTA IV. From the detailed strippers to the lush environments. The vastness and grandeur of it all will take you for a ride. Many times I found myself just wanting to drive and explore the map to see the ins and outs of everything.

Soundtrack - The overall sound quality and production in the game is superb. Couple that with the immensely large music choices that Rockstar has put into the game for the various radio stations and you my friend have yourself a winner. Some of the biggest names in music contributed to the long list of tracks that play on the radio in game. You can check out the listing here.

Replay Value - Ahh the motherload, this is why this will be the one game to rule them all. You start off the game ideally focusing on doing main missions and side quests, then the game throws you a curveball and adds random world scenarios where you can take place in an activity in that instant, then after that the game goes further to also give you the option of buying property and doing missions on the properties to make money; but wait theres more, then the game goes gives you the ability to buy and sell stocks on the stock market. Compound all of that with not only random activities that help increase your individual character skill stats but you can also replay missions you have done to get a gold medal rank for it in case you missed any of the special objectives. This is the most value for your money content wise that I have seen in a game in a long time and goes to show just how worth it this game actually is. 

What’s Bad:
A few hitches with the launch of the game giving issues download wise and the trouble they have with some people experiencing texture popping issues. Also the game is still lacking the full capability of the online portion of the game that goes live on October 1st, 2013. Some have argued we have only gotten half a game but I retort if this is half and so much already imagine how much greater it will be once we get the online stuff ironed out.

What Should Have Been Added:
Honestly the only thing I want in this game is the ability to put my own music in the game via a custom radio station which for the most part was always a staple feature of the GTA series and potentially a female protagonist.

Final Thoughts:
There are not enough words in any known or unknown language that can express just how great and iconic this game is. It may not be a full blown industry changer but it is without a doubt GOTY (Game of the Year) worthy and closed out this generation of console gaming with a bang. This is one of those games that is a no brainer to buy as its an instant must have collection piece for any gamers library. All signs point to it being released for PS4 and Xbox One but no concrete evidence as to when or if its coming to PC. Feel free to checkout the opening scenes of the game below...

Thanks For Stopping By