Killing in the First
Ah GTA , how I love thee so. But there’s more to it than that simple statement. Much like any relationship where love is involved there are ups and downs. GTA and my relationship are no different. We don’t fight and argue, throw each other out the house, or anything of the like. Instead I tend to get distracted to the point of losing jobs, sleep, and forgetting important things like eating when I am enjoying the company of a new GTA game. That’s how it was last year when I played GTA V for months, and it is now the case again with the newly redesigned Grand Theft Auto V on next-gen platforms.
It’s not just an advancement on the graphically beauty GTA V was on last-gen either. It is upgraded in ways that one wouldn’t expect for a next-gen version. Or at least in ways we aren’t necessarily accustomed to. This is the level of devotion Rockstar has put into this fresh update of the game, and I dare say it is the reason GTA V for next-gen is right up there among my top suggestions for gaming gifts this holiday season.
First, a quick recap. Grand Theft Auto V tells the intertwining story of three characters. First, there’s Franklin, an up-and-comer who desperately wants to get away from the life he leads to move to grander doings of the criminal life. Then there’s Michael, a retired convict who is tired of the boring life he has succumbed to, and who happens to hate his family more than his lackluster life. Finally there’s Trevor, well Trevor is crazy as hell, psychotic, and probably one of the best characters to ever be in a Grand Theft Auto game. They all weave into each other’s lives to bring them to a point of even more betrayal, thievery, and general life of crime exploits than you could shake a dead body at. This is one of the best storylines I have ever played in a Grand Theft Auto game and if you skipped out on it before I highly suggest picking this up and experiencing a narrative in the underworld you won’t forget. In fact (and I don’t say this too easily) GTA V ’s story is comparable, and in spots, better than Vice City (I need a remake of this).
The obvious thing about this remake is that it is the same game we’ve already played (except for those two of you who haven’t). It’s feels the same, it controls the same–hell I spent hours the other day stealing an airplane at the same point I did last year when playing GTA V on last-gen. Of course this year I had my two year old son watching me championing me in two year old speak to steal that plane, then a boat, and then he wanted me to steal a train–but you can’t much, to his dismay (get on this Rockstar). Yeah I know, parent of the year right here! But this is actually a good thing. Due to how in-depth I played last year I knew the safest areas to play in front of my kids, I knew what dark and seedy adult places to stay away from (I do have some morals). Simply put, if you played last year’s you aren’t going to be surprised by much this time around.
However, this is also an unfair statement. There are tons that you will notice right off when you start. Let’s go ahead and get the graphics out of the way. This game looks gorgeous. I cannot state this in a way to do it justice. I loved the graphic display last year, but now looking at this in comparison I would never go for the last-gen over this new fresh look. The city breaths, the pedestrians are more than what they were, traffic flows through the game in ways you’d expect real world traffic to flow. The clothing looks like clothing. Let me explain, while GTA V did have a much better presentation on the clothes than GTA IV , it still had something escaping it to suggest the characters were actually wearing these items. The level of attention given to the clothing and tattoos is such a grand improvement I don’t mind changing out the attire just to see that level of detail in each item.
But it’s not just the graphical upgrades you want to know about. It’s the First-Person mode! For the first time we can enjoy the world of GTA through our own “eyes”. Admittedly when I first heard of this mode, I was not really that happy. I assume it was going to feel tacked on and less of an advancement to the game let alone a shoehorned feature added to the series it didn’t need. However, I’ve played a few missions, hijacked a few cars, killed some random ne’re-do-wellers, drove a multitude of vehicles, and experienced some of the “night life” I can say it doesn’t feel forced or damning to the series.
In fact, it is great new addition. One that I know many of my friends will also greatly enjoy. It open Los Santos in a new way. Seeing the environment how your characters do had to be a challenge for the developers and one I can say they achieved rather well. It doesn’t just stop at the beautification of Los Santos. There are new animations, often time specific characters animations, you will experience when you climb a ladder, parachute, shoot a gun from cover, driving a car, etc. For example, Franklin will flip people off while driving and Michael I have only been able to get him to angrily honk the horn. Simple thing, but having, again, that level of detail to characterization is a huge thing. It opens up so much potential for the future of the franchise. Further more, the traffic is insane. I mentioned earlier there was more of it and it felt very realistic to how you’d expect traffic to be, but it is crazy how annoying the traffic can get. Annoying in a good way. It gives reason for you want to flip people off or angrily honk the horn. Computerized, believable, road rage–it’s fantastic!
The voice acting is exactly what you remember. Some characters are greatly voice acted while others are annoying to the point of appreciation (which I think was the point). Either way, the voice is executed perfectly for the narrative of the game. The radio stations are just as good as before and now there are several more songs for you to check out while cruising around. Over 150 brand new songs will play over the radio, in addition to this impressive number; you will also have more talk radio segments from several returning DJs like Danny McBride (as Duane Earl on Blaine County Talk Radio), and several others. I highly recommend a few instances of sitting in the car listening to some of the radio stations and their talk shows (just like I did in Vice City –I need a remake so bad).
GTA V was a great game last year. Now it’s more than just a great game, it’s damn near perfect, and I don’t say that about many games. The attention to detail Rockstar has put into this new version is above and beyond what we are used to getting and set a new bar for all other developers out there wanting to re-release a great title on next-gen platforms. If you’ve never played (hell even if you have) GTA V , now’s the time to experience all the greatness Rockstar has put into this version. And if you happen to know someone who works for or with Rockstar’s development team, tell them thank you for this and to get started on remaking Vice City for me!
RATING OUT OF 5 RATING DESCRIPTION 5.0 Graphics
The advancement in graphics is breathtaking. 4.8 Control
These are the controls we have been used to for years. 4.8 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
More music + More voice acting from the characters = Win-Win. 5.0 Play Value
It’s the same game we’ve already loved, now with more stuff!! 4.9 Overall Rating – Must Buy
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.
|Review Rating Legend|
|0.1 – 1.9 = Avoid||2.5 – 2.9 = Average||3.5 – 3.9 = Good||4.5 – 4.9 = Must Buy|
|2.0 – 2.4 = Poor||3.0 – 3.4 = Fair||4.0 – 4.4 = Great||5.0 = The Best|