I’m having trouble pinning down exactly what makes this game so good. It’s hard to determine what really makes this game stand out against all the other great games of this generation. It shares a massive living world with Skyrim, the action is better than any Call of Duty or Uncharted, and the characters are real and make you care about them and their lives. This game is good for all the right reasons, and GTA weaves an incredible experience that no one should miss.
The world of Los Santos is a surprisingly real representation of the Los Angeles area. Though to make the game more interesting, Rockstar took some liberties with the design. One of the most amazing moments of the game was a drive down from the desert to the city. As you approach you can see the city in the skyline, as if the game wanted you to see how beautiful it is. This moment seems a little cheesy, but it’s all in the engine. This isn’t a cut scene at all. You can drive down the same way and see the same beautiful skyline. That’s why this world is so easy to get lost in.
It’s one giant map with no load screens to be found. You can drive all around it without the fear of your play being put on pause so a new area can load. The variety that’s presented in this world is really something to behold. From a city that feels alive to the mountains and desert crawling with a different kind of life. As you head out of the city you can see animals slowly start to fill the landscape, running alongside the road and crazing out in the fields. The amount of work that had to have been put into this world is something amazing in itself.
The story and side missions are where this game really shows off a lot of its polish. Unlike GTA IV, V’s missions don’t seem to contain too much filler at all. All the missions expand on one character or another’s motivations and backgrounds. They all contain enough action to make them exciting as well. The game starts in the middle of a heist, and doesn’t let up at all after that point.
There are slower missions, but the character development that occurs on these is something in itself. You never really feel let down after a mission, and you are going to want to continue the story to see what was up next in the lives of Michael, Franklin and Trevor. The choreographed changes between the characters during the more action packed missions adds a new level of excitement as you use the characters special abilities to navigate through heists and other tasks you are sent on throughout the course of the story.
The three characters are something that I have really appreciated while playing this game. Michael, the retired criminal, is a man trying to find meaning for his life. His kids are spoiled brats, and his wife hates him for being a drunk, bitter and possible psychopathic old man. Franklin is a young kid who starts the game off trying to find a legitimate way to make money. He ends up getting drawn into Michael’s life, and subsequently a life of committing bigger and bigger crimes to make money and make a name for himself. Trevor, my personal favorite character, is a complete psychopath. His drugged out rampages create some problems for the trio, but his uninhibited criminal mind is something to behold. Trevor knows who he is, and accepts his life as a criminal, embracing it in an almost philosophical way.
As the game plays out, you have access to the three characters, completing missions together and some side missions that give you a glimpse into the worlds of our three antiheroes. They all have a special ability, and strengths to help accomplish tasks. Michael is at his best with a gun in his hand, Franklin is a great driver, and Trevor can go on violent rampages as well as flying planes well.
If you don’t feel like sticking to the story there is lots to keep you busy in Los Santos. Even the little side activities are fun to play and enjoy. They aren’t just for show, however, as you can build up each character’s skill by playing tennis, doing some yoga, or hitting the shooting range. Along with those activities you can race, street and on jet skis, spend some time hunting, and chase down criminals as a bounty hunter.
I can’t think of a time when I enjoyed a game as much as I enjoy this one. There aren’t too many reasons to dislike this game and the small glitches and bugs that I have encountered haven’t soured the experience one bit.
There isn’t much more to say about this game without spoiling the experience for those that haven’t played it yet except, play this game. It’s amazing, and it’s an experience that should be shared by as many people as possible.