Monday, October 7, 2013
Grand Theft Auto 5
I can sum this game up in one word: Fuckin' really, really brilliant and awesome and amazing. Oops. I guess I went overboard and threw in a little too much detail, but then again, so did Rockstar when they developed this game. Long story short: This is the best GTA game yet, which automatically makes it front runner for best game ever.
Bascially, it's just fun. A lot of fun, in fact, and in ways the earlier GTA games lacked. Every GTA game has been fun, of course, but they've all lacked something or had some kind of odd control quirk that was just frustrating enough to be a constant annoyance. The earliest couple games were amazing, but the top down perspective was really hard to master and never really felt comfortable. The first few 3D versions had some terribly stiff control, making the characters feel ripped out of a Resident Evil game. And GTA IV, as brilliant as it was, had a really floaty camera in the driving sections that made it hard to see where you were going, especially when you had to turn a corner. But this game pretty much perfected all that, and it's the first entry in the series about which I can honestly say every aspect is fun, from walking to driving to fighting to shooting. As a shooter this isn't going to compare to Gears of War, but it's the first time the series has been fun and not maddeningly frustrating whenever you are forced into a huge fire fight.
Another interesting aspect is the three character structure, opposed to how every other GTA game followed only one main playable character. When I first heard about this, I'll admit I was skeptical because it sounded needlessly complicated, since these games already had story structures that were notoriously hard to follow... but it works. In fact, having three characters to switch between at your leisure made things somehow less complicated, since you're able to take a break from one character's storyline while you play around with another one. Of course, there are also moments where the game forces you to play as one character or the other, often after one goes into "hiding" after a big heist, but the best moments are when all three characters team up on a mission and the game has you seamlessly switching between all three.
Here's one example of how this works: There is one mission where your trio has to abduct a guy from an office in a skyscraper. One character flies a helicopter, another repels down the side of the building, while the last one is on a nearby rooftop with a sniper rifle. After the cops come, you alternate between all three characters, flying the chopper, hanging from a rope with a machine gun, and across the way picking off the police with a rifle, and yet it somehow never got confusing or frustrating. It was just fun and exhilarating.
Or there's the mission where one character has to shoot down a jet with a bazooka, then another has to chase after the crashing plane on a dirt bike.
I'll admit that storywise the three character structure doesn't always work, if only because the writers never seemed completely clear on the dynamics between the three characters. Trevor, the psycho member of the team who is also the most fun and memorable, alternates between hating the other characters and professing his friendship. But who plays GTA games for the stories or characters? I don't. I play for the mayhem and fun, and that's where this game excels.
There's also an online game, which just recently launched and is nearly impossible to access at this point, but the couple times I did make it in didn't thrill me. But then again, I'm a loner, a rebel, and I don't play well with others. That's maybe why I like Grand Theft Auto.