GTA V – when it comes to reviewing this game, the one thing I don’t have to go into is how it all works because now, after many games in the series, regular gamers will be more than aware of the basics, while every other human on the planet will have seen the immense amount of coverage on the news, and if they’re not sure why it’s attracted this level of attention it’s because while the game cost £170m to make, it has already taken over £600m in retail sales – and that’s on the Xbox 360 and PS3 alone. Rockstar always, eventually, release a PC version, and I expect there’ll be Xbox One and PS4 versions to follow once those consoles are established.
As regular players are well used to by now, the GTA series reflects the usual struggle in life of having to start at the bottom and work your way up the ladder. Last time, in the main release of GTA IV, you took control of Niko Bellic. This time round there are three characters to control: Michael, Trevor and Franklin. Initially, you’ll catch sight of Trevor for a short time before starting the game proper as Franklin. Hence, this is three games in one as you’ll complete missions individually, while at other times their paths will cross and, when working on a mission together, you’ll be able to switch between them. I won’t go into detail about their backgrounds or locations because this is something you can enjoy discovering as you play the game.
Anyone who’s ever played a Grand Theft Auto game beforehand, which will be most of you reading this, will just want to get stuck in as soon as possible, so the best way to present much of the info I have to say is by simply listing my observations and differences:
- It takes much longer to blow up a vehicle by shooting at it. In previous games, you could get away with a handful of shots. I guess, here, it’s more realistic. Hence, when I created a pile-up on the freeway by shooting at some cars, causing the front ones to suddenly back up and crash into the rest, while the drivers had long since run off, I wanted to shoot one of them until it was on fire and cause a huge explosion. Alas, the cops were on to me before I could achieve this and running away was the order of the day.
- While the rag-doll physics were quite something in GTA IV, here they feel even better. More fluid. This is best experienced by driving into a group of people and enabling the rear-view, so you can see them fly over your bonnet in style.
- When it comes to the graphics, once again they are at their peak, with the team behind it stating they can improve upon GTA IV’s visuals because they’ve become more familiar with the hardware over time, such as a greater draw distance, despite releasing the two games on the same consoles.
- Note that when you buy this game, you have to install around 8.5Gb onto your console’s hard drive. At the time of GTA IV’s release, I only had an Xbox 360. I’ve since bought a PS3, and while I told the PR company I didn’t mind which of the two formats were supplied, I’m glad they opted for the PS3 because my Xbox 360’s hard drive is only 20Gb in size and is mostly full. It was bad enough when I had to junk a lot of stuff to play Rage (7Gb installation) and that game didn’t last too long on there, while GTA V will definitely be around for the life of the console.
- GTA V sees the removal of GTA IV’s “hard locking”, where your weapon’s crosshair would instantly lock-on to an enemy, making it easy to kill them without having to think. GTA V still does this to a degree – and I’m glad, because when the police swarm on top of you, you need a quick and fun way of attempting to escape, but there are times when it doesn’t, so that effectively makes it more realistic.
Go to page 2 for more observations and differences…
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.