Grand Theft Auto has always been known for its free-roaming concept. When GTA IV (GTA 4) was launched for current generation consoles in 2008, it broke many milestones and raised the bar on industry standards, thereafter clinching awards and accolades in the same year. How then do you improve the gameplay in the next release?
Rockstar expanded on the plot, ecosystem and gameplay mechanics by introducing 3 protagonists from different backstory, each controllable separately to pursue their respective sub-plot and objectives. During certain pre-determined missions, all three characters will convene and work together, allowing the player to switch between them at will.
GTA V capitalises on the prowess of current generation consoles to offer an expansive territory, comprising various areas of landmarks, settlements, terrains, landscape all enjoined by long stretches of roads, highways and uneven paths. On the PlayStation 3, the huge data file fits within a BluRay disc, but this is separated into two DVD discs for Xbox360, one of which becomes a mandatory installation. 8GB of space is needed for Xbox360, so if you’re short of hard disk space, consider investing on a larger sized Xbox360 or plug in a 16GB thumbdrive.
In addition, players are given the opportunity to traverse the vertical stratosphere (both the skies and underwater) of the map. Early copies of the game comes with an unlocked Blimp that allows you to enjoy a breathtakingly fantastic bird’s eye view (even when you’re not trained to fly). Various missions will afford the player access to a hangar for storage of aerial transport, and a secluded shack near a jetty will house a mini-submarine for deep sea exploration. By the way, the playable characters can now competently swim and dive as well. There’s certainly a whole lot to discover if you earnestly explore every nook and cranny of the map!
The world of GTA V is akin to a living, breathing world. Players will encounter current Non-Playable Characters (NPC) animation during missions or on the streets. There’s references to an eyewear with embedded camera, a convention about a new mobile handset unveil, an online social sharing page, hacking, more apps, and coming across latest design for notebooks and phones. NPCs will react at you with their wit or gestures and some may snap photos of you while you are committing your deed.
From your interaction over the course of story mode with the various key figures, therein lies activities which may create uneasiness for the player, but that’s one of the hallmarks of any GTA game. With every iteration, it confronts real-live incidents and taboo topics.
Vaguely, I briefly share a few:
– Performing a host of torture tactics on a hostage;
– Profiling a suspect to be assassinated based on generic outlook description;
– Waking up with from a hangover by the beach in your undies and having to make your way home from there.
– Sabotaging a product
However, I enjoy greatly planning for the heist missions. A savvy character in the game will lay out an overview of a location and offers two options of approach, leaving the decision to you as well as on the additional team members to employ. Enlisting the same team member again will increase their experience and reward cut, but they are more reliable than someone who is unproven. It doesn’t pay to be greedy when engaging ‘professional’ help, and choosing a low-skilled teammate will have its repercussions.
You are allowed a maximum of 15 saves so there may be some overwriting earlier on if you prefer to save your progress separately. Then again, all completed missions can be replayed, so this shouldn’t be of too much a concern.
The game does not end once you’ve completed one or all three path decisions, because the map is littered with stranger encounters, properties and stocks to purchase and many other collectibles to scout and own.
If you love sandbox games, GTA V offers more value for your $80 and looks geared to win many awards and break new ground in the months ahead. And this is without factoring GTA Online, accessible through the game.