There’s not a lot that hasn’t already been said about Rockstar's Grand Theft Auto V. I am bowled over at the scale, complexity and attention to detail lavished on every part of this wonderful game. Rather than do a typical review I thought I’d look at some elements of the game that personally impress me the most. And you know what? Let’s do five and make it a Wob Wob Rob Top 5!
character switching system
In every new GTA there seems to be new gameplay mechanics that gives each game a unique twist. For GTA V it’s all about the character switching system. Your story focuses on three main characters - Michael, Franklin and Trevor, and you can switch between them at any point. This is absolutely brilliant for two reasons.
Firstly, it means there is great scope to have more complex, action packed missions. A typical situation has Franklin charging in all guns a-blazing. You can then switch Michael to provide sniper support, and then switch to Trevor in a helicopter to pick you up. It also means you can mix up your tactics in order to get better times, or even just give you an easy escape if your character is about to die!
Secondly, it’s great to switch if you just need to mix up the gameplay. I found myself dirt-biking over mountains only to collide at speed with a tree and lose the bike off a cliff (a pretty common thing to happen. Stuck up a mountain with no wheels would normally mean a long trek back to a main road, but now I was just one switch away from controlling a different character, allowing you me to carry on as normal. It creates fluidity to the gameplay that was impossible in previous iterations.
With the click of a stick, you can enter each characters special ability, which give you an immediate advantage in lots of different situations.
Franklin drives in slow motion with heightened control allowing for higher speed drives with fewer crashes, and also helps you avoid those pesky cops. Michael gets slow motion shooting – ideal for picking out head shots. Trevor goes into a rage that lets him absorb more damage so you can run into a heated situation and take on hordes of enemies.
It’s a great idea because when a mission seems ridiculously tough, especially if you try and achieving gold medals, you can acquire a boost that takes you over the line.
Let’s not mess about here: GTA V is beautiful. It might not reach the heights of something like Far Cry, but where GTA has the edge is in the design choices made to heighten the realism in all elements of the game.
Whether it’s the cityscape at night time, the realistic hues of sunset, the luscious forest floor or the reflections off the rushing waves, every single part feels correct and as it should be which ramps up the immersion. I challenge anyone to stop and look anywhere on the map and find anything that doesn’t look or behave like it would in real life. I couldn’t find anything!
The characterization of GTA’s main protagonists (and indeed all the crazy secondary characters) is one of the best features of the series. It’s pretty much expected from GTA now.
Trevor on the other hand is far from expected. This guy is an unhinged psychopath – the sort of character that would be an NPC in previous entries in the series. He lives in filth, he goes on murderous rampages and will halt everything he's doing to indulge the many freaks he meets along the way.
This doesn’t just provide a great storyline but it actually changes the way you play. In the city areas with Franklin and Michael I was trying not to scratch my cars and keep people alive. The moment I unlocked Trevor I was charging around the desert on insane killing sprees with little regard for my own safety! I don’t think I have every come across a situation where characterisation and story has had such a direct impact on the way I play a game.
Attention to detail
One of the most fantastic things about GTA V is the more closely you scrutinise the game, the more you can appreciate the staggering level of detail that is crammed into every component of the game.
There are countless examples but the kind of thing I’m talking about here is when you see an NPC drinking a cup of coffee and you scare them, they drop their coffee and the cup will roll on the ground with the appropriate physics. Does this make playing the game more worthwhile? Probably not! But the fact that the developers bothered to even make this work within the game just fills me with joy.
There's a great article on IGN that lists 100 examples of little things like this.
I haven’t even properly invested in the GTA Online element of this yet, so you can certainly expect some more GTA V content from me in the future.
As I’m a Playstation noob, some of my content will have a ‘late to the party’ vibe about it. I’m not too worried about this! This blog is designed to be a vehicle for my personal adventures in gaming. This will hopefully keep my content interesting - to me at least :)
As ever, thanks for looking and keep it locked on Wob Wob Rob for more reviews, GTA content and Playstation coverage. Please share you GTA experiences!