Punishing Polygons with GTA V [ J’s Quick Reviews ]

A game so large it took me two years to play and release a review for??  Nonsense, I had to wait for the PC release, silly.  The wait was worth it – so glorious was the graphics upgrade it nearly brought a tear to my eye.  Moses already talked about these details so I will avoid belaboring the point here.

*NOTE* This review is for a mature rated game for mature audiences.  If such games bother you, this serves as my recommendation to read another of Glitchslap’s articles.  =)

Full Review

General Thoughts

GTA V is an immense world.  I have currently clocked about 150 hours in the game which was enough for me to achieve all the Steam single player achievements and a very limited set of the GTA Online ones.  When a game reviewer writes the word ‘immense’ I feel that it has begun to lose some of its gravitas, but hear me out.  Here are some of the things I have enjoyed with my 150 hours:

 

Bonus, you dress like a yuppie when you play, too!

Yes, you can play golf. And yes I can park here. I own the place.

  • Carjacking
  • Running hundreds of story-line and miscellaneous missions
  • Causing random mayhem and destruction with a minigun, rocket launcher,
  • Being a fighter jet pilot.  Fighter.  Jets.
  • Oh is the list of classic GTA activities boring you?  GOLF.  That is right my fellow geeks, a golf simulator inside of GTA.  And it does not suck!
  • Tennis
  • Darts
  • Yoga
  • What is this athletic BS?  Give me more GTA.  Okay fine.  Strip clubs and boobies.

 

 

This is just a smattering of activities available to you in the world Rockstar (R*) has presented us with this iteration of their beloved franchise.  Whether you like to strictly run missions or go on rage induced rampages of fear against polygon people, there is something for almost everyone in this latest title.

How did you miss the guy with the minigun?

Did you not see the rage induced Trevor?  How did you miss the guy with the minigun?  Run!

Driving

Teach a bitch to do yoga on her lawn.

She kind of got in the way. No, that smoke doesn’t mean I left the accelerator down…

I do not know if it is me or not, but the driving felt loose, almost sloppy.  It definitely took some getting used to.  To be sure, I loaded GTA IV back up and the driving has definitely changed.  A couple of hours in to the game however, and I was back to drifting corners and blasting down the freeways.  The nice thing about playing a PC version of almost any game these days are the mods.  There are quite a few mods out there to adjust the driving to several different styles if the dynamics bother you.  Related to driving, there are also mods to get rid of the ‘turbulence’ imposed on flying.  I’ve flown in quite a few planes in my days, and turbulence does not happen every 30 seconds as R* seems to want to impose on you during your flights.  I understand the desire of a developer to add small atmospheric nuances into a game, but if I have a 100% flying skill, I don’t expect my plane to wobble every minute.  Regardless, driving mods are your friends.  If you are playing on a console there is not much help for you at this time.  Sorry.  (Totally not.)

GTA V’s first person perspective is a nice addition to the game.  I played a majority of the foot traffic in it, but the driving I just could not handle.  While it was a neat experience to sit behind the wheel and look out over the dash of my Adder, being blindsided by cross traffic and not being able to accurately gauge the right side of the car became a hassle I did not want to deal with.  I attribute this to R*’s insistence that 70 or 75 degrees is a justifying FOV limit when many PC gamers prefer a 90+ FOV.  It is not too much of an issue as they do include the ability for the game to automatically switch between first person on foot and third person when you enter a vehicle (which happens to be the way I played).

 

Characters

If you have read any of my other reviews, you know character development is a big piece of gaming for me, even in a title such as GTA.  I can still remember the thoughts that went through my head playing Nico during the wedding scene in GTA IV, and was surprised that it affected me the way it did (I had not attributed much character attachment in the game until that moment).

GTA V also delivers in a magnificent way.  By allowing the player to assume not just one character, but three at (almost) any given time, R* opens a door for us to develop ties to the relationships between characters as well as the characters themselves.  Much as in GTA IV, I did not realize how much I enjoyed the interaction between the player characters as much as I did until the last few main story line missions.  I won’t place spoilers in my reviews, but R* did a great job allowing the player to decide the depth.

The connections extend not just to the PCs, but many of the NPCs as well.  The plot between Michael and Amanda (hell, Michael and his whole family) can tug at the strings of someone who has been in similar situations, while Franklin and Lamar causes reflection in your own friendships.  Again, you can play GTA V as a simple carnage inducing, ‘let me pump as many rounds into the air as I can’ kind of game, but I think you would miss out on the incredible amount of time R* has spent fleshing out the characters and story lines.

Although carnage sure can be fun.

Pros

  • Great storyline and game play
  • First person view offers a neat new way to enjoy GTA
  • Fighter jet now an option in vanilla game play
  • Multitude of side quests/activities to enjoy outside of classic GTA shooter
  • A healthy modding community for PC users
  • Rockstar Editor is actually a neat feature to create videos of your game play and share with friends
  • Boobies
Trevor is kind of insane.  Wait... Does that make me insane?

Seriously, a fighter jet. Sorry blimp, you picked the wrong day to fly.

Cons

  • Good content does not come free.  25-30 GB install!
  • Controls take a little getting used to
  • FOV limitations
  • I would have liked to see a little bit more of the environment able to be affected/destroyed by my carnage

Recommendation

I do not give 5 star recommendations easily.  R* has done an amazing job with GTA V and I believe they should be commensurately rewarded for that.  The attention to detail in almost all things is apparent and the game is just plain fun to play.  Granting that you have a predilection for wrecking havoc on a polygon community that has done nothing to deserve your ire…

– J

“Geez. Why are adults so pig-headed?” – Palom

Author: Jason Burns

A computer scientist who has enjoyed gaming for 30+ years. Enjoys RPG, RTS, and the occasional first person shooter. Enjoys cake. When it is not a lie.

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