The RPS Verdict: Grand Theft Auto 5

Grand Theft Auto V [official site] is our Game of the Month for May. To steal its jewels and show them to you, a crack team of criminals – Adam, Alice, Pip and Graham – gathered inside the RPS safehouse to gaze over the blueprints, outline their crimes, and discuss how much they like driving within the speed limit.

Graham: I am wondering: how do people feel about the game-game part of GTA V? I’m wondering whether our warm feelings towards it have more to do with Los Santos as a place for exploration and japes than it does its cinematic story and crim sim noise.

Or rather, since I enjoy the missions quite a bit, whether I’m the only one.

Adam: I was just about to say, actually – some of the missions are really, really good.

Adam: I was surprised! I’d fallen into a mode of thinking which basically goes: “The city is a wonderful canvas and the story missions are the cack that needs to be washed OFF the canvas before the fun begins.”

But that’s really not true. I nearly gave up on the story early on but I’m glad I didn’t. There are some great, big, daft chases and oddities in there.

Alice: I’m still quite early in the story, yet to even unlock Trevor, but I’ve enjoyed larking about and doing crimes. And smoking a jazz cigarette and fighting aliens in a park. It has good spectacle.

Pip: I did the first bit of single player up until you get Franklin to his house and get informed about how beds and wardrobes work and then I switched to purely Online. So that’s the merest sliver of single player.

Adam: There are some really neat uses of the character switching, which I hadn’t realised was such a big part of the mission structure. It’s introduced in the heist at the beginning in quite a clumsy way, because it’s essentially all tutorial at that point, and then you’re stuck with one character.

But when you have all three and some ludicrous mission to accomplish, it works really well.

Graham: Spectacle is right. My normal problem with GTA is that you start as a rookie criminal doing crummy crimes, and near the end of the game when you’re rich and experienced, you’re still doing crummy crimes because that’s all the game was designed to support. There’s still a fair amount of ‘drive A to B, kill people for man you hate, drive home’ in GTAV, but also dangling from helicopters and chasing boats and other crime-as-caper fun.

And yeah, when you’re dangling from the helicopter, you’re also piloting the helicopter and providing covering fire from nearby with a sniper rifle.

Pip: I’ve decided to play single player because I want to find an octopus in the sea but all of the bits standing between me and the octopus have very little to do with my octopus mission and a lot to do with playing GTA which is something I’m not feeling very excited about at the moment.

I appreciate it isn’t supposed to be a sea life sim, but there aren’t many of them about and, frankly, I want my octopus.

Graham: I like that it doesn’t lock anything away. You do two brief prologue missions and then after 30 minutes you’re able to go looking for that octopus.

Pip: I think deep sea stuff is gated off though, no?

Graham: Hmm. I assumed you could steal a submarine at any point and go diving, but I’m not sure.

Pip: I think there’s a mission you have to do first before you can submarine.

Adam: The Merryweather Heist, I believe.

Graham: Then I have told a lie. But! I have still spent most of my time in the singleplayer – or Online, for that matter – just walking around the city. Taking snaps with my phone. Climbing across rooftops. Pressing the context-sensitive use button to ask questions of the pedestrians and see what they say. The missions feel like a nice scripted break from these activities, rather than the other way around.

Alice: I spent a lot of time looking for a good swimming pond. I was in Paris, away from my beloved waters, and apparently cracked a little. My first few hours were tours of mountain ponds, cemetery reflecting pools, and water traps on golf courses.

Graham: What is GTAV’s best pond?

Alice: WELL! I’ve been avoiding some exciting-looking lakes, searching for the intimacy of a pond, and I suspect they may be cracking. But best pond? Two on the Los Santos golf course are quite good.

Alice: The other isn’t really swimmable, with too many shallow bits, but does have a little fake stream you can go down. That’d be a larking about pond. I’m not one for larking about, me. The third, pssh, whatever. But I’m surprised no golfers ever seem appalled by my dive into their water trap.

Adam: GTA V seems like the perfect game for larking about, but I find myself taking it all quite seriously. Sometimes I play for a couple of hours, stopping at traffic lights, watching for unscripted incidents – usually traffic accidents – and frowning when some daft NPC runs through the red lights.

Eventually I crack and decide to cause a big pile-up on purpose, usually by shooting somebody’s tires out, but I’m very restrained.
And I’ve probably just described some horrible sociopathic behaviour.
Observation, anticipation, then chaos.

Pip: I like to drive around obeying the traffic laws too. I’d really like it if I could alter my speed more easily to just cap out at the speed limit or the consensus of the rest of the NPC cars. Only sometimes, mind you, but it’s pleasant to just be good at driving round a nice cityscape.

Graham: The original Mafia had a Speed Limiter button you could press that would match your speed to whatever the legal limit was. But then, you’d also get tickets for going over that limit or running red lights.

I’ve played the game for dozens of hours and I think I’ve only gone on one rampage, and it was in Director’s Mode so felt like it didn’t count. Does the world encourage that restraint?

Adam: It probably depends who you ask. I’m sure plenty of people just run around shooting as many pedestrians as possible. Making cars explode and causing all sorts of bother.

Alice: I behave a lot better now I can’t simply dash for a Pay ‘n’ Spray to instantly lose my rating. The novelty of crouching behind crates in alleyways wears off rather quickly.

Adam: Pip! You can set cruise control by holding down Y on a 360 controller or whatever your equivalent might be.
I think it only works when you’re driving fast, to make long drives down a highway a little easier, or to let you Do A Driveby, but it’s something at least

Pip: OOOOH.

Hiding from the cops tends to be an exercise in no forward planning whatsoever :(. I’m all “hahaha! I’ve evaded you now you fools!” and then realise I’ve jammed the car halfway down a winding staircase and can’t move backwards or forwards

Alice: They’ll never look for you there, though.

Adam: I’m actually surprised by how few concessions there are to the old ways of GTA. The original – and I’m talking top-down actual original – had all of its own little rules that worked wonderfully well. Like the Pay ‘n’ Sprays and what have you. There was a real flow to the actual stealing of cars, the chases and the escapades.

A lot of that has gone and hasn’t really been replaced by anything equivalent, as far as I can work out. I prefer this game in many ways, mostly for the parts of it that aren’t a direct part of the GTA experience, but I sometimes wish I felt like a great getaway driver rather than a cautious sunday driver.

Alice: I think it’s making you play more seriously with some of the basics so the spectacle becomes even grander.
Though if you’re a crack driver like me (or Franklin), you’ll expertly weave through the traffic and never get caught by the fuzz anyway.

Adam: I may be very bad at the fast driving parts of GTA. I get very anxious in heavy traffic.

Pip: I really like squeezing through tiny gaps with only inches between me and the other cars.

Adam: Basically, I improvise farcical catastrophes rather than slick escapades.

While we’re on this – it’s worth saying that the driving feels really good, isn’t it?

I quite liked GTA IV but the cars seemed to weigh about as much as a shed full of cannonballs…or an actual car. And it was all a bit… ururggghhh. This feels much smoother and slicker.

Graham: I think I slightly prefer GTAIV’s handling but recognise that I am the only person in the world to feel that way. GTAV does feel good, and much better than most comparable open world games.

Adam: I’m sure I had to manually wind the propellers on my car whenever I needed to go into fifth gear in GTA IV. I actually liked it for being so chunky (shutupyeshandlingcanbechunky) but I can feel the wind in my hair when I’m driving around in V.

Graham: It does feel like the best balance the game has struck so far between fun, convenience and its commitment to some level of realism. San Andreas felt like a dirge and then suddenly jetpacks turned up. GTAIV felt like a world with a lot of things to do in it but in which a lot of those things, bar the fun you made for yourself, were boring. GTAV is fun and, as you say, chunky. In more than just the driving.

What is everyone’s favourite thing about the game? Or is it ponds and octopuses and careful driving.

On page two, everyone’s favourite things about GTA, more on GTA Online, mods, and heist plans.

75 Comments

  1. MadMinstrel says:

    How can you give Game of the Month for May to a game that was released in April? And May’s barely started! Witcher 3, to name just one game, is also releasing in May – how can you know in advance it isn’t better than GTA5?

  2. iucounu says:

    I’m playing this on PS3 at the moment – I bought it last year and kind of set it aside – but here’s Wot I Think In Bullet Points:

    – the city is, as ever, astonishing
    – the writing is, as ever, not quite as smart as it thinks it is, but still a lot smarter than the average, and there’s LOTS of it
    – the Online mode feels like it ought to be amazing, but thanks to matchmaking issues (like, you can barely ever make a match) it’s a whole lot of doing nothing in lobbies
    – the 3-character structure is actually really cool
    – I like the new mechanics
    – The combat is as awkward as ever, which is a huge problem in Online – you’re often fighting the controls, and if one crew member dies in a heist, you have to restart
    – Does it maybe feel like there’s a lot of landscape with not quite enough to fill it?
    – The music isn’t as good as previous entries – the rap in particular is too West Coast dull gangsta for my taste

    • Chorltonwheelie says:

      They have Lee Scratch…therefore you are wrong.
      That’s science that is.

    • tehfish says:

      “– Does it maybe feel like there’s a lot of landscape with not quite enough to fill it?”
      I thought they got that spot on to be honest. Much more and it’d be horribly squished in or they’d need an even larger map…

      • Somerled says:

        To me, they got the feel of the “sprawl” just right when looked at up close, instead of only getting it right from a distance like most games attempt. It gives the ubiquitous out-of-the-way places just as much character as the central locations where all the action is, instead of being pure facade. I mean, that’s exactly what most of a game environment is–facade–but you don’t have to tilt your head and squint to get lost in the illusion in GTAV.

  3. Premium User Badge

    kregg says:

    Rockstar Games have made modding a violation in their EULA and have started banning players for using mods, apparently including single player:

    link to thenerdstash.com

    Now, to be truthful, I haven’t played the PC version (PS3 only), and from what I’ve heard, there is some exaggeration from people who claimed to be banned for petty things like FOV mods – but I’m not surprised that Rockstar Games have done this given how hostile they were with GTA IV and modding (and the whole Hot Coffee flap).

    • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

      If we are to be zealous about enforcing rules, then yes, a FOV mod gives you a tangibly different gameplay experience just as much as other visual tweaks.

      Other than that i’d go with common sense, if something gives you the ability to inject scripts and random stuff without blocking the game to access the online part, then yes, i don’t think they should necessarily believe you if you claim that you’ll only use that in SP.

      I mean, i hardly ever exploit anything and i usually try to be as clean as i can, as i don’t like bad sportmanship in general, but plenty of people don’t really give a damn about that and there’s even a subset of supposedly “good” folks with an ever shifting personal moral compass that are more than ready to find an excuse for everything.

      “Hey, you didn’t fix the glitch in a FULL DAY therefore i am absolutely allowed to legitimately abuse it”.

      This kind of stuff.

  4. Laurentius says:

    I vastly prefer GTAIV car handling, I mean I get used to GTAV but physics is off so car crashes are not satisfying.
    I’m having great time though (2/3 of the game so far) , missions are really good and script and delivery ( with certain poor moments) is of very high quality. Now Los Sanots is great to roam around but actually leaving the city brings the best of world and attention to detail is breathtaking, all these farms, little bridges, valleyes, dirt roads, all perfectly placed. Games looks stuning too and runs great on my 270X, first person view is also very neat.
    Game seems very tame as far as drug dealing is concerned, yeah I know that characters are mainly heists type of criminal, still given the location i found it strange. Yes, there is Trevor’s meth lab but it is actually pretty abandoned idea so far. Drug dealing certainly has been more central point of formers GTAs.

    • rapchee says:

      yeah i preferred gta 4’s handling too, so there. the dramatic difference in an old american car vs a senitel or a comet is great

    • BannerThief says:

      I absolutely agree. I should say that driving in real life is one of my hobbies, and helps me unwind, so I’ve probably got a lot more hours behind the wheel of a car than other people my age (early 20s), and I adored that GTA IV was going for a more realistic handling style. All the cars felt distinct from one another, and it punished your for picking a bad car for a getaway, unlike the PS2 era GTAs where every car was very similar apart from their top speed.

      I have seen a lot of people angry with the driving in GTA IV, and I wonder how many of those people are upset because they never got used to it or because they haven’t actually been behind the wheel of a real car. Americans drive cars a lot more than our European friends, and I wonder if that affects what we look for in car handling in video games. GTA V’s handling is definitely easier and more forgiving than GTA IV, and a lot of people like that, but it also doesn’t seem nearly as fun to me when I do something spectacular, unlike GTA IV where my doing something particularly cool was magnified due to the reasonably grounded handling of the cars.

      • John O says:

        I really can’t say how realistic it is, but I tried Dirt Rally the other day and the car handling felt great. Game looked fine, too.

      • Cinek says:

        GTA games never got anything in common with “realistic”. You want realistic driving – play a proper sim. Heck – even Need for Speed games are more realistic than any game from GTA series.

      • malkav11 says:

        Could be. I loathed the handling in IV, which I found so problematic that I eventually quit playing the game entirely because I simply could not do driving based missions with that handling model. Even when I found a handling mod they eventually expected driving feats of me that were not possible for me to accomplish. But it’s true that I’ve never driven in real life.

        Still, I felt like they had a handling model in III through San Andreas that did exactly the things you’re claiming IV’s did in terms of making every vehicle feel distinct and personality-rich and punishing poor vehicle choices, yet was completely accessible, whereas in IV every vehicle felt like the road was covered in butter and the main difference was that some of them could go faster and thus spin more violently out of control at the least setback.

    • Vayra says:

      I actually like how drug dealing and setting up a drug-related business is done in GTA V. Trevor’s first half of the story really brings to light how shitty that business is.

  5. Safari Ken says:

    I’m surprised how little I hear about the underwater world in this game. I’ve spent hours in the submarine, exploring the ocean floor, finding all sorts of things to see. It occurred to me (while doing yoga with Michael maybe), that for a game series called Grand Theft Auto, they might be losing track of their core gameplay idea, but to all of our benefits. You barely have to theft any autos anymore, yet the games continue to get more grand.

  6. James says:

    I have to say I am loving the heists. Even with strangers there is a peculiar bond built that only trying to complete the Pacific Standard Job for the first time with strangers can create. One of ‘I know we’ve failed 17 times but damnit we will do this!’ We did. Leaping off of a cliff into a boat to freedom was epic. They offer unexpected freedom, the Prison Break is one of the elast forgiving heists in terms of freedom, but the nature of the getaway is up to you. Normally people like to drive to the airfield and escape in the plane there, other times they park up outside and get the Buzzard to give you cover. I also like that there is a kind of wind-down phase at the end of each heist, a time to pat yourselves on the back.

    I also keep trying to steal a tank from the military base. A jet – easy. But tanks are trickier bastards, gonna try the cargobob as my method of choice tonight.

    And I love driving in first person, I drive better that way.

    • John O says:

      The first person mode was really big for me. I think that’s what pushed me into buying the game. First person driving is great!

  7. John O says:

    I really love the world. I even prefer the wider country to the inner city parts to a degree. Haven’t gone underwater with the submersible yet. But Jesus, that story. Why do I have to move containers from a to b repeatedly so I can do the Merriweather Heist, mostly because I want that submersible? And that Yoga thing? Most of Michael’s family’s missions are annoying. If I could just mute all of the in-car conversations, and the whole hillbilly talk, and…

    It wouldn’t matter if I didn’t like the game itself so much.

    • BannerThief says:

      I actually don’t mind a lot of the busywork missions (excepting the odd mopping minigame, which is torture), because they help the pacing, and make the great setpiece missions stand out more to me. And the in-car conversations are by far the best-written parts of the game, so I like that it distracts you from some of the longer drives in the game.

      My main problem with GTA V is that the story seems haphazard and shoddily put together, plot and character wise. Franklin’s character stops advancing once Trevor’s introduced, and Michael’s family is so obnoxious and shitty that I have no sympathy for them, or indeed any investment in them working it out with Michael. Trevor…Trevor is a rotten human being, and he’s a great effort on the part of Rockstar to make a protagonist who’s not even a little bit redeemable, but that doesn’t mean I have to like playing as him. Also, (SPOILERS, KIND OF), his conflict with Michael never gets resolved, and lacks catharsis. They just decide at a certain point late in the game to stop talking about it, and it’s really annoying from a storytelling perspective. Coming from the developer who made Red Dead Redemption, which has one of the best, most satisfying endings ever in a video game, it’s especially disappointing.

      • John O says:

        I really like the longer drives, and I sometimes pick a random destination on the map to go to. Different strokes, I guess.

        • Hebrind says:

          I do this too! I love to hop on my Daemon, pop into first person, grab my 360 pad and cruise to some self-radio. It’s a bit like a weird mix between Euro Truck Sim 2, “Long Way Round” and Sons of Anarchy.

          • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

            Hah, damn you! Where did you steal that Daemon?

    • aircool says:

      Michaels storyline is my favourite, and I love the in car banter.

      • Cinek says:

        Yea, IMHO he has the best story of all main characters… but… jesus… these minigames… horrible.

  8. quietone says:

    Pressed the cruise control button, my character jumped of the car instead. Uninstalled. 0/10.

    (GOTCHA, RPS!)

  9. tehfish says:

    As a counterpart to the search for an octopus in the sea, i can sadly confirm you cannot drive a golfcart to the top of the mountain :(

    Tempted to give it another go though, or if not find some other wildly inappropriate vehicle for mountaineering with :D

  10. heretic says:

    Tell you who they shunned, John! He wasn’t there to tell us how much a better game Pillars is which makes me sad.

    I have played neither.

    • Cinek says:

      GTA V budget for building hype > PoE budget for building hype.

      It’s simple as that really, cause otherwise I don’t see a reason why PoE would loose to GTA V (I played both).

      • noodlecake says:

        “otherwise I don’t see a reason”

        I do. GTA is a technical masterpiece, with an excellent story, amazing attention to detail in it’s game world, stellar writing and voice acting for the characters, fantastic physics and emergent gameplay. It’s like a huge toybox.

        I’m really enjoying PoE as well, but I haven’t wanted to play it since GTA V came out. I can’t imagine how hooked I’d be on it if I had PC gamer friends to play it online with. The single player story has been enough to grab me. It’s just really good fun.

        • Cinek says:

          Detail in game world is by far better in PoE. GTA wins in scripts and stuff NPCs do, but overall there’s by far more world-building in PoE than GTA. Writing – again PoE wings. Voice acting is obviously GTA win as it’s fully voice acted game, no need to read anything. GTA also got multiplayer, even if awful in some aspects – it’s something that PoE doesn’t feature. PoE on the other hand easily wins in terms of combat – not only it’s by far more interesting and varied, but also less… dodgy and repetitive. I got totally bored with GTA V storyline after Michel’s family left and stopped playing it, never see myself coming back, while PoE is something I still plan to have a second playthrough with fully customized team, just to explore further how non-linear the game is, cause bits I re-played left me with a lot of taste for more.

          • Distec says:

            I would think that PoE is more reliant on world-building than GTAV is, so of course it should be “better”. One takes place in a fantasy setting and the other is attempting modelling a realistic city; the latter benefits from the fact that most people have seen or been in a city, or are at least familiar with their portrayals in countless shows and films. Comparing the combat systems is also strange. Mechanically speaking, every shooter is going to be extremely repetitive – after all, you’re just squeezing a trigger at NPCs 99% of the time. And yet it would be bizarre to call this a failing of shooters and say, oh, Baldur’s Gate is better than Half-Life because there’s more permutations in combat…?

            Just odd comparisons all around.

          • McPartyson says:

            Pillars doesn’t compare to GTA V. The game doesn’t even include any sort of online mode. A lot of people just play GTA V for the Online.

            PoE to GTA V. It’s like comparing Mario Bros on 8-bit NES to Super Mario 64. Bother great games, but Super Mario 64 has better tech. So is it really fair to compare them when their tech are from 2 different time periods? Probably not, but i dunno. lol

      • Nevard says:

        With the first being Skylines I’d hoped that’d be enough that we wouldn’t get any silly accusations of developers purchasing the vaunted title of game of the month, but it looks like it only took until month two for the tin foil hats to start coming out.

  11. aircool says:

    I’m enjoying the single player game enormously. Even my gf enjoys listening to the banter and cut scenes.

  12. v1tr1ol says:

    meh… missions are chaotic, way too short, story is somewhat incoherent towards the end. Cinematics, acting, animation and city/graphics are great tho.

  13. caff says:

    I look forward to the first RPS heist.

    I expect, nay DEMAND, omnishambles.

    • Premium User Badge

      Skabooga says:

      Yeah, the more capers you lot pull, the happier I’ll be.

  14. sventoby says:

    “The city is a wonderful canvas and the story missions are the cack that needs to be washed OFF the canvas before the fun begins.”

    The production values on the missions is great in 5, which is probably why the game felt short. I wouldn’t mind having more of those filler missions that were in the past just to fill out the game. The game almost felt incomplete, with spaces like the prison and military base going basically unused (unless they are in the new online missions that I haven’t played).

    • Cinek says:

      I seen the opposite – some coyote run on a road, jeep in front of me run over it, but other than a bump – there was absolutely no reaction… I got the to guy and killed him for ignorance.

  15. Layabout says:

    Best AI event I saw so far was when two rats ran out from a building and headed straight for a road. The traffic screeched to a halt in both lanes to allow the rats to run across.

    Brilliant moment that made me laugh.

  16. Cinek says:

    What I will remember GTA V for?

    Loading screens. It’s unbearable, especially in the online mode.

    There’s even loading for “yes/no” options in “Are you sure you want to quit?” screen. F*** ridiculous.

    • phuzz says:

      Really? It takes about 1-2 mins to go from desktop to in game for me, which is a bit f a wait, but after that it’s pretty ok. Mind you, I’m running it off a (cheap) SSD, I imagine a spinney harddrive might have trouble keeping up.

    • Vayra says:

      Get an SSD. It will also help with streaming the game world more fluidly than on a mechanical HDD.

  17. derbefrier says:

    I have been playing online quite a bit. I like the races a lot. Haven’t tried a heist yet though waiting on some friends to buy it

    • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

      It’s not so horrible to go with randoms, the right ones that is.

      That said, the first heist is mostly a tutorial, it is slightly more involved than the average contact mission but easier than the later ones, plus it’s only for 2 people so there’s less of a chance for disaster. You also get 100k extra for any heist you complete for the first time.

      But what is even more important is that completing the first one unlocks the armored Mitsubishi Lancer for purchase ( 500k ), which protects your windscreen a lot other than being incredibly sturdy in general. Invaluable tool for bounty hunting and contact missions, plus it also looks rad and it’s fast, even off road.

  18. Monggerel says:

    SHUNALITY!

    FLAWLESS OSTRACISM

  19. PopeRatzo says:

    GTA V has surprised me by demonstrating just how tedious a life of crime can be. Doing crimes with idiots is tedious.

    And GTA Online has taught me that doing crime with idiots is still tedious.

    As beautiful a location as Los Santos may be, I’m really disappointed in the game.

    • montorsi says:

      One has a lot more fun when one can accept that one’s heistmates are going to do some ridiculously stupid stuff and have fun with it. We’re playing a game, after all. It’s ok to crack a smile. Maybe chuckle here and there.

      • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

        Indeed, but it’s hard if you can’t even trust the others to not ragequit.

        I’m 4/5 when it comes to heists and it always was with a single friend and random people for the remaining two spots, and when you get those who are willing to at least write it’s ok. A failure here and there suddenly is not a problem anymore, you know the others are committed and they just made a mistake like anyone else, and this is when the game really works.

  20. Premium User Badge

    Aerothorn says:

    If I didn’t know better, I’d think you guys weren’t going to give Pillars of Eternity game of the month.

    That’s okay, you can make up for it by giving it GOTY :)

    • McPartyson says:

      Pillars is too much an unpolished and buggy game to deserve that honor. Specifically, the pathing system is awful (multiple melee characters in battle is a joke). Combat system UI doesn’t quite react the same all the time and party members will just stop attacking for no reason. Stat stacking bugs still around to this day. Even after a month since release and many many patches since, it stills needs work. They need to put this thing back in the oven.

      • Cinek says:

        Patch it. After 2nd parch I haven’t encountered any bugs. And even at the release it was relatively bug-free game. Some people panic way too much.

        • McPartyson says:

          Oh, this is with latest patch. If you read my post, you would see that a patch wouldn’t really address issues I have with combat and pathing.

          GTA V would get my vote for GOTY so far. It’s in a league of it’s own compared to Pillars.

  21. noodlecake says:

    Man. It’s weird giving GTA game of the month when most of you haven’t even bothered to play the single player campaign through. It really is excellent. There’s some stellar voice acting and the characters are great, and a lot of the missions are really fun. I can’t think of another third person big budget action adventure game on PC that does good characters and writing better.

  22. malkav11 says:

    I’ve always been weirded out by people who claim that the way to play GTA is to ignore the campaign as much as possible and just run around in the world. They’re certainly increasingly well realized worlds, and lately there are some terrible minigames you can do in addition to aimless havoc, but I can only sustain interest in that stuff for brief periods in between missions. Without the missions, without the writing, it’s all pretty empty and pointless.

    I mean, I’m not saying I never just drive around admiring the scenery and listening to music. But I didn’t pay $60 for that, nor would I. That’s a bonus. Not the point.

    • Vayra says:

      Yeah but in this sense the GTA V story is a different beast from the previous installments. I mean, previously you would burn through it just so you could cross that god damn bridge that was previously broken, or move onto the countryside (San Andreas) or into the next city. In GTA V, the whole game world is open from the moment you step outside. So there is less of a need to burn through the story fast. You could go and enjoy the sandbox right away, although not with every possible weapon or vehicle.

      The story ITSELF is actually the quickest way to get a peek around the game world in GTA V, but it is only one of the ways to get there. Combined with character switching and the fact that you have three characters instead of one, the story seems much more fleshed out and an experience on its own. So I fully understand how many players rush or want to rush through it to ‘get it over with’ judging by the previous GTA’s.

  23. racccoon says:

    The social club launcher is total crap it has baring on 2015 approach to an update download machine tool.
    THE StoryMode:
    The game is beautiful and it does not have at times repeat cars or repeat people, but their are some glitch’s of occasions when you do see them. This is a gimme & understandable.
    The main problem with the game is player has no choice he has to JUMP from the Movie like performances of 3 characters. he had to endure cutscenes in a storm of them. This may be fun to the NEW COMER of GTA but not to the Veteran, who’s played them all.
    I think GTA has lost their ideas that were totally unique from the past, that set goals but those goals are all trashed and have gone to a movie route which really spoils the hard work that’s been done graphically with the game and the open world.
    The smooth play and the great speeds alongside freedom that can be had at periods of time are really great but if your often left stuck with no mission and not really much to do but mayhem, your forced to jump into another character as you have too progress, that forceful JUMPING! its not an option you have too JUMP!
    Its kind of sad that they went to this path and forgot their amazing developments in previous GTA games, it like they weren’t even born.
    The Multiplayer:
    I find this to be a farse its not that encouraging its made for console players that like to stick to one thing moving into circles and told what to do this is so sad that this is all there is..I much prefer the older modded Multiplayer were everyone was everyone and you didn’t have choices to forced upon you that this is the only thing to do.
    Summing up GTA V :
    Its forceful. its beautiful, but it only has one direction and that is if you don’t do this or that your not really in the game Rockstar have lost the freedom they created instead they went the console direction and locked us all into a fixed formation.
    I enjoy it but have to persevere it.

    • dangrak says:

      Are you really saying that the game lacks freedom because you have to switch between characters in the story mode? Everyone basically says the opposite about the multiple protagonists, because it is innovative and it’s used competently. On top of that, you prefer the wild and aimless multiplayer of IV to one where there is actually something to do, and where your character has some form of presence in the world. But it’s all based around free mode, which doesn’t really “tell you what to do” unless you are against completing missions to level up.

      • Cinek says:

        I agree that it lacks freedom. This game is de facto a pipe that you need to go through. Sure, you can choose which part of the pipe go first and which second, sure some parts can be skipped, but other than that it’s narrow patch that you need to follow script by script. I know there are some exceptions, but if I don’t like Trevor or whoever else and don’t want to play him – I have absolutely no choice, I am forced to play through his missions cause otherwise I’m stuck. The innovative and competent use of multiple characters would be to never forcing me into playing character I’m not interested in and allowing me to always have a perspective I’d like to hold on to. It’d also create a whole world for re-playability of the game, something that’s lacks in the game right now.

        • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

          Now if you fully hate a character your hate level sits at 33.3%, while in previous GTAs or any other game with a single fixed protagonist you’d be at 100%

          Seems like a pretty nice deal to me.

    • phuzz says:

      You can skip the cut scenes, just hit enter (or maybe the spacebar). Doesn’t help with the occasional “drive for bloody miles whilst listening to the characters chat”, but some of the chats are funny/interesting.

    • Vayra says:

      What console direction? GTA 3, Vice City, San Andreas were all released on consoles as well, and are also strongly directed at a console control scheme if you look at UI and menu structures.

      If anything the story in GTA V offers more freedom within it, rather than less – you can always do Strangers & Freaks for example – and the wide palette of options that was available in San Andreas is also available in GTA V, but now it is much more fleshed out: weapons and car upgrades are a good example. With previous installments you would be forced to finish that one story mission to progress. And some of those were pretty nasty, too, and back then there was NO way to skip anything. In GTA V you have the freedom to skip sequences, so if you wanted, you could skip almost all gameplay with the characters you don’t like, even within a single mission.

      Sorry I just can’t find any common ground with what you’re writing here. It makes no sense to me at all.

  24. Stevostin says:

    Currently playing it and loving it. To me the best part was switching to Trevor and discovering a whole new space, with its own, pretty different, gameplay. More off roads, less cops, different activities, different kind of stories, planes. Oh planes, I cursed you, but I love you too. I love the fact than whenever I have to move from country side to big city, it takes time.

    Anyway, question. I understand writing can be disliked (I totally do). That being said, what movie, or for what it’s worth, tvshow, trying to achieve something similar, would you rate as “clearly better” as this ? I can think of a few candidates, but even for them, the “clearly better” seems up to discussion to me. Sure its weakness is that it always try to be over the top but apart from that, there’s some distance, some satire to the characters that’s really typical of the GTA games and that usually left me thinking back to this or that detail of the story. It’s not something I do for a lot of other content.

    At the very least I feel like Rockstar does right what Ubi does wrong. They handle the link between player’s aspirations, gameplay and writing smartly without trying to look smart. There is no sugar coating to the fact that yes you play awful person – all of them, not only crazy Trevor – with futile goals. Well except for the fact they have some self awareness about that which I suppose is a constant writing guideline for Rockstar because identification would be too hard without it (maybe) ? Everything in the story is a comment about the shameful behavior ppl enjoy having playing and/or the way the world somehow asks for it. It doesn’t feel condescending or forced like FC3 story to me for instance. What do you think ?

  25. bonus_85 says:

    I have to say, the best part of GTA V for me was the moment when I realised you can do wingsuit style proximity skydiving. It is somehow both exhilarating and relaxing at the same time to glide down the canyons of Mt. Chilliad just inches from certain death. There are many videos on youtube explaining how to do it, but it is basically tilting the stick about 3/4 upwards to find the sweet-spot that lets you glide forward. Don’t think it will would work very well with a keyboard.

    • Conundrummer says:

      Thanks for mentioning this. Despite playing this for hours and hours just for stuff like that, I never knew that particular nuance, and now I’m dodging trees down Mt. Chiliad like I’ve got GoPro sponsoring me.

  26. toshiro says:

    I really can’t grasp how anyone can prefer Vs handling against IVs handling. I guess it comes down to a non-interest in actual driving or a non-interest in how physics work. I’d like to say something demeaning here, but really the reason for that is that I am profoundly confused. If easy is the sole point, then we not just play like a Pac-man without any ghosts?

    • malkav11 says:

      You’re confused how someone could prefer being able to play the game to not being able to play the game?

      • TacticalNuclearPenguin says:

        That’s some professional level over-dramatization there.

        • malkav11 says:

          It doesn’t make the game completely unplayable but it certainly makes it impossible for me to progress in past a certain point. I.e., once you need to do any sort of advanced driving or driving-and-also-using-weapons.

      • toshiro says:

        Everything OK at home?

    • Vayra says:

      It is very simple: because this game is not Gran Turismo Advanced, but Grand Theft Auto.