Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Grand Theft Auto V
Well, I beat it... that is to say, to the extent that anybody ever beats one of these Grand Theft Auto games. I completed the main storyline and watched the credits role, but after that it puts you right back into the open world of the game so you can keep on going with the side quests, finding the hidden easter eggs, or just plain having fun. Remember back when you used to beat a game and that was that? Now I beat a game but the menu still says I'm only about 60% completed. That includes all the missions, sure, but also the fifty different bridges I can fly under, the various stunt jumps hidden around the map, and multiple races on the street, water, and air.
I'm not complaining, since part of this game's appeal is how it's so huge it's virtually impossible to ever complete 100%... at least for me, anyway. I'm sure there were plenty of people who completed it within the first weekend of its release. Those people are called nerds.
Anyway, earlier in the month I already gave my initial opinion of the game after having played for a few days, and it hasn't changed: This is still the best GTA game of all time, which makes it a top contender for best game of all time ever. This game and this series are that good, that fun, and that mindbogglingly well produced.
But it wasn't perfect. I thought the story was lacking. In fact, the story kind of sucked. The dialogue was just as witty and laugh-out-loud funny as you'd expect from the writers at Rockstar, but the story structure was just too disjointed and, frankly, uninteresting. Don't get me wrong: A GTA game doesn't need to have a great story to be fun, it just needs to exist and it'll be fun enough, but this story was so overly plotted and made such an attempt to be epic, the fact that it didn't work is hard to ignore. The game opens with a bank heist gone horribly wrong, and then jumps ahead a decade or so later as we meet the robbers and see where they ended up. One of our leads Michael faked his death and entered the witness relocation program, so when Trevor, his former partner and another one of our playable characters finds out about his treachery, he vows to take action... but then nothing happens. They just end up teaming up for various GTA style missions. And then later on Trevor learns even more about how deep Michael's treachery really went so he vows revenge again... and then nothing happens and they just team up for more GTA style missions.
Then there are all these various villains who come and go and are hard to keep track of. As a game, it was fun that there was so much to do and the story kept things changing from mission to mission, I'm just saying that in terms of a story, it made no sense and was unengaging.
But who gives a shit about that since it was so fun to play, and even though the cut scenes didn't always make sense, the voice acting was some of the best I've ever heard -- especially Steven Ogg as Trevor, who ranks up there as one of the best videogame vocal performances of all time, alongside Ellen Mclain and Steven Merchant from Portal, David Hayter as Solid Snake, Robert Culp from Half Life 2, and Keith David for his appearance in every videogame ever made. But everybody was good, from the main characters right down to the crazy homeless people you find muttered on the street as you walk by. I also really enjoyed the voice of Michael's son Jimmy, who I thought was Jonah Hill, but was shocked to learn it was actually Danny Tamberelli who's most famous as little Pete on Pete and Pete. I'm glad he's still working.
There's also GTA Online, which has been live for a few weeks, and even played for a few days. From what I've played, it's good, but I don't really play online games, especially not ones that are as deep and extensive as this one. I like playing games alone, especially since I only play them when I manage to find some spare time in my day. I just don't have the time to invest in online sessions, especially not if I have to join a crew where other people depend on me. But I have dipped in and out, and it seems like fun.
Anyway... long story short, this is a great game that anybody who loves videogames should buy.