Grand Theft Auto V: Review In Progress Part One

Grand Theft Auto V - Cover

As of writing this article, Grand Theft Auto V made over one billion dollars in three days of being released. No, that isn’t a typo, it’s not supposed to be a million dollars, it actually made over one billion dollars in three days. I’ll give you a moment to take that in. Good? Good. GTA V is arguably the most anticipated game of 2013. If you happen to live under a rock and don’t know anything about the Grand Theft Auto series, at least know that the GTA series is one of the most beloved and most played video game franchises that might ever exist. There hasn’t been a bad installation in the series, and Grand Theft Auto V is no exception.

Needless to say, GTA V is a huge game. It warrants insurmountable time and attention, and so I decided that instead of doing a straightforward review of the game as a whole, I would provide the readers of Dead Screen a review in progress. This way, you can still stay up to date with everything GTA V without waiting for the full review to be finished. This part of the review in progress will focus on the gameplay and scope of the game, while the follow-up articles will focus on different aspects of the game.

In a nutshell, GTA V is gorgeous. Rockstar have created their biggest open world yet, bigger than San Andreas and GTA IV together. It really does feel like its own world, one inhabited by famous actors, ignorant sales clerks, and trailer trash from the methamphetamine-filled countryside. As you walk, drive, or fly through the areas, you see how alive it really is. Police chase vagrants on the highways, on stormy nights you see menacing flashes of lighting, and civilians react to your actions unlike any game I’ve experienced.

GTAAdding to the life of the world Rockstar has created are the various things that you can do while roaming, things to keep you occupied if you aren’t playing through any campaign missions at the moment. You can race dirt bikes down mountains, take flying lessons, and even invest in the stock market. You can go to yoga class, go play tennis, or golf at the country club, or maybe take a tour around Los Santos on a double decker tour bus. The amount of things you can do in the game is incredible. If you didn’t have any responsibility or life at all, you could essentially live in the world Rockstar has created.

But how would all of this play if the game didn’t look or play well? Fortunately, Los Santos and the people and vehicles that inhabit it look stunning. The current generation of consoles have likely met their maker in their final days of being relevant. GTA V boasts some of the best visuals I have ever seen on console, and everything from weather effects to the incredibly realistic sound of tires screeching in a police chase look and sound amazing. The character models could look better, but it’s nothing to get nit-picky over,  with the rest of the game looking as beautiful as it does.

Some have complained about frame rate issues, especially on PS3. I have been personally been playing on a 360 – an old one at that – and have experienced zero frame rate issues. There can be very minor pop-in details when traveling fast, but it’s nothing that hinders the playing experience, at least what I’ve encountered. Maybe the further you progress, the more issues pop up (I’m only 50 percent completed at this point in my play), but so far everything has been smooth sailing for me.

GTA1Gameplay has also been drastically refined in an awesome experimental way, allowing Rockstar to take the best of their other game franchises and insert it into GTA V’s mechanics. Many cried foul at both the shooting and driving mechanics in GTA IV. They had a right to call out Rockstar; the shooting was at times unfair and clunky, while driving was difficult to get down and felt floaty at times with certain vehicle types. Rockstar have fixed these issues, thanks to two of their other video game franchises, Max Payne and Midnight Club. Max Payne is a third-person shooter, and its third installment, Max Payne 3, has tight and easy to use shooting that was critically acclaimed. So Rockstar put these awesome mechanics into GTA V. Essentially, it’s the same with driving and Midnight Club. The racing series has lent its superior driving (slow-mo ability included) to GTA V. You can even see bits of Red Dead Redemption’s wildlife use, with elk and mountain lions littering the mountains of Los Santos. Even the stealth option available in the game is reminiscent of Manhunt. It’s all of Rockstar’s best games inserted into Grand Theft Auto, and it’s brilliant.

So ends the first part of Dead Screen’s Grand Theft Auto V review in progress. The graphics are the best seen on current generation consoles, the world of Los Santos is gigantic and has more to do in it than any open world game in existence, and the gameplay is an amalgam of some of the best game franchises out there. So yeah, you can now understand why it made over one billion dollars in three days. It’s one of the most ambitious games I will ever play in my lifetime, and next week you will be able to see how the characters and story have shaped up. Until then, have fun playing GTA.

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Author: Justin Peterson View all posts by

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