Grand Theft Auto V Review (Xbox 360)

GTA5 Xbox 360 BoxartPublished By: Rockstar Games
Developed By: Rockstar North
Genre: Third-Person Action
Players: 1 (2-24 online)
Rated: M for Mature (Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Mature Humor, Nudity, Strong Language, Strong Sexual Content, Use of Drugs and Alcohol)
Release Date: September 17, 2013
Screenshots: Link
Amazon: Buy Now!
Written By: Marcus Prunty

November 15, 2013 – Three unique characters, three telling stories and experiences all woven together to create an epic masterpiece that not only gives you an amazing experience but also gives you so many epic moments that you will spend tons of hours playing it. Rockstar Games spent a great number of years developing and creating Grand Theft Auto 5, making us wait and salivate on the epic scale of this game. In only took 3 days for them [Rockstar Games] to make $1 billion dollars, which proves that Grand Theft Auto is still the biggest franchise around sorry Call of Duty. That’s how much in demand this game was and there are several reasons why; which I hope to touch on in this review, you need to experience this game.

Whenever you create a sequel in a franchise it gives you the opportunity to refine systems and gameplay mechanics that didn’t go over to well in the previous game and I think Rockstar did this pretty well in GTA 5. The cover system they give you in game is greatly improved and you don’t seem to stick out like you use to in GTA4. They have improved the driving mechanics to give you a more realistic experience based on the type of car you’re driving. Mimicking real life, the more driving you do the better at it you become. But don’t think you will reach a level of perfection because where would the fun be in that. The ability to mash on the gas and try to take a sharp curve only to spin out of control or hit a barrier and get sent flying from the vehicle. Wouldn’t be GTA without crazy driving moments like that.

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The gameplay has been vastly improved and expanded upon in that there are a plethora of things to do beyond the missions. From the strip clubs to playing golf to side missions of rescuing damsels in distress ala Red Dead Redemption to the bank and/or convenience store robberies. The side missions are numerous and even after all the hours I have put in, I’m pretty certain I haven’t played them all. The auto-aiming in the single player has greatly improved which makes those shootouts with the cops less frustrating and more fun. The way missions are handled is improved as well; no longer do you have to make what seems like a 4 hour drive when you fail a mission. You’re started back where you last died or failed the mission giving you the chance to get it right. I know this was a frustrating part of GTA4 that caused me not to want to replay it because I knew those moments were going to frustrate me and make me throw the controller.

Another main aspect of the gameplay is the new 3 player story arc that Rockstar includes in GTA5. Michael, Franklin and Trevor; 3 distinct characters each with their own lives and own unique missions, aside from the ones where the three of them work together to accomplish something. The part that I liked about having 3 characters to play as is that when you’re playing as Michael, Trevor or Franklin, the others are still living their lives and doing their own thing. You can leave Trevor at the end of a mission and walk away and go do something as Michael. When you go to switch to Trevor again you will notice he isn’t where you left him at the end of the last mission. As time passes while playing as another character, when you switch back to one of the other characters their leading their life as if they’re not characters you can play as. For instance I switched to Trevor he was passed out on a mountain top in a dress which is surprising and not surprising at the same time considering how wild and crazy Trevor is.

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In GTA5 the single player begins with a major bank heist which felt very reminiscent of the bank heist in the Dark Knight where the Joker robs the bank at the beginning. That’s a very good measure of the cinematic of this game that missions feel like big time Hollywood movies. This is where you first meet Michael and Trevor two of the main protagonists in the game. I won’t ruin the mission and tell you how it ends but it’s a pretty amazing opening sequence to the game. A little bit later you meet Franklin the third main character you get to play as. Each character has their strong suits like Franklin he’s an excellent driver and has this slo-mo ability he can perform when he’s driving to squeeze through tight spots by slowing things down. Trevor is a great pilot, and Michael is the all-around character that decent at most of those things. As you play with each character you can level up their driving, stamina, swimming, and a few other stats which are a nice perk for all the time you spend with the characters. Franklin is formerly connected with gang life and has ties to his old life that he’s trying to break in order to move with his life for a girl. Michael is living the retired life which drives him nuts and is so dysfunctional that its borderline hilarious at times when he gets mad. And Trevor is a nut, crazy as batshit and by far the most entertaining character in the game cause he is so over the top. He has a small drug business on the outskirts of Los Santos that he has been running for years.

Speaking of Los Santos; wow this world is pretty amazing! Rockstar spent a lot of time developing the world and since it’s based on Los Angeles, I can say they captured it pretty well. From the country clubs to Venice Beach to the Santa Monica Pier and even Hollywood Boulevard; all of which are called something different in the game, look breathtaking and look pretty close to the real thing. I think they also capture the culture with the various NPCs that reside in the areas you visit. How they speak and interact with each other and your characters help immerse you in the areas.

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As far as the characters dialog and interacting segments of the game, the voice acting in Grand Theft Auto is top-notch. My favorite character in the game is Trevor, voiced by Steven Ogg. He did an amazing job making him [Trevor] so over the top crazy that I fell in love with his dialogue the most. You never know what he was going to say next, or when you switch characters to him what he would be doing or where he would be. And with excellent voice acting you need great sound design to help complete the picture. From the background noise of traffic, to the diverse radio stations that you can listen to while driving around town; Grand Theft Auto seems to come alive and you feel a part of its universe.

While this game is amazing and definitely worth the years of waiting it does have a couple of things that can be annoying, but they don’t take away from the experience. There are chase missions where you’re supposed to try and catch someone, but if you drive past them due to traffic congestion, they are shot ahead of you and you are force to chase them down again. During most chases you are meant to catch up to them in a certain area and the only time you really notice this is when you pass the car up and the other car shoots way ahead of you. Another annoying thing is the stealth mechanic they included. You can sneak around all you want and avoid the enemies but if the particular mission wants you to have a shootout you will always be spotted. There’s no way out of those situations because it’s scripted that way. Even when you don’t think they will see you they will and that kind of breaks you out of the moment you’re having. This doesn’t happen to often but when it does you will definitely notice it.

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Rockstar went ambitious when it came to their design of their multiplayer. For the first time that I can remember the multiplayer wasn’t released when the game released. 2 weeks later as a separate download the multiplayer was unveiled to the world. GTA Online as it is called is where players come together and do a bunch of crazy over-the-top stuff. When it was first launched, I will say it was a bit unstable as my character got deleted and I lost money a few times. But Rockstar worked hard and fixed most of these glitches and those were no longer the focus. But running roughshod with your friends over the whole city was back and at the forefront. If you were lucky enough to play the game in the month of October when it was release Rockstar, rewarded your loyalty with $500,000 for sticking by them during the debacle.

So what all can you do on GTA Online? A lot of everything. You first begin the multiplayer by creating you character and once you have them looking the way you want them to, the game immediately reintroduces you to Lamar. He’s [Lamar] the one who picks you up from the airport and he introduces you to the world of Los Santos. The first thing you do is a street race against other players from around the world. You pick a car and you do your best and you get points and money when you finish the race. That’s how it works in GTA Online; you get points and money as you complete various missions that involve heists or car races. But you can also skip all that and just have shootouts like in GTA4 or you can go play tennis, bowl or visit the strip clubs.

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The whole world is your oyster and it’s up to you to do what you want with it. One of the craziest thing I did was meet up with a group of people who wanted to go rob convenience stores so we all met up in cars and ran into the store and use our mics and voice commands to order them to give us the money. Once we had the money, we had to now escape the cops that are alerted to our crimes. To keep things interesting, we all hopped in a helicopter and flew away from the cops it was so awesome.

Between races (cars, bikes, or boats) deathmatches and various other missions you can make quite a lot of money and a lot of friends. And with Rockstar planning more to come when it comes to gameplay for GTA Online, the world will continue to grow and prosper. Leveling up and getting rich is a big thing and you will have fun doing it so once you completed the story hop into the multiplayer you won’t get bored.

Grand Theft Auto 5 was years in the making, I was pretty much ready to play this game as soon as I was done with GTA IV and when Rockstar unveiled the first trailer I knew I had to have it. This game is a masterpiece and truly displays the talent of the folks over at Rockstar Games. The voice acting is amazing and I guarantee that you will laugh your butt off plenty of times while playing the game. The world they created is vibrant, fully imagined and created a living city. All the extracurricular activities like golf, tennis, bowling, and strip clubs break you away from the cop killing, car stealing, and shootouts. The new storylines revolving around 3 protagonists who live separate lives but ultimately come together feels fresh and works well. GTA has always been a great piece of satire and how it comments on the lives of people has always been dead on. If you’re a fan of the Grand Theft Auto franchise or just looking for an amazing game to play, Grand Theft Auto V is your game.


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