Rockstar Games’ biggest franchise has returned, and is more popular, crazy and controversial than ever. Fans of the third-person, gun-wielding, car-thieving series have had to wait 5 long years for another main story game, and while add-ons have kept us going, there’s nothing like a new start.
Released in September 2013 on Xbox 360 and PS3 (Next-Gen consoles had to wait for a November release, but are rewarded for their patience with an incredible first-person mode), the game follows a trio of criminals in their adventures to make money, seek revenge and avoid trouble themselves around the open world, fictional state of San Andreas. The main addition to the series is the ability to take control of different characters, each with different histories, skills and story arcs, to both follow their individual campaigns as well as collaborate on bigger missions.
The single player campaign begins by introducing several game-play mechanics, while following the story of a botched heist nine years ago. Transported to the present day, we meet Franklin Clinton, a “semi-legitimate repo man” working for a luxury car dealership. A skilled driver, Franklin’s unique special ability is the power to slow down time while driving, increasing maneuverability. However, the questionable nature of his employment soon gets him into trouble with Michael De Santa, a member of the witness protection programme following his involvement in the failed robbery.
Despite their initial confrontation, the two become, quite literally, partners in crime, working with Michael’s old friend Lester, before being tracked down by the other surviving member of the introduction trio, Trevor Phillips. Between them, the three must follow the instructions self-made billionaire Devin Weston and his private security firm, and FIB agent Steve Haines.
69 main story missions later, the characters are rich and retired. However, just because the characters are no longer involved in crime, doesn’t mean the player can’t be! At this point, all weapons are able to be purchased from the local Ammunation and stealing vehicles, shooting pedestrians and hitting the strip club are all still just as fun in the open world, sandbox game. Besides, there are still numerous side quests to do. Recurring from GTA IV are both the “stunt jumps” and the “under the bridge” goals (50 of each to be exact), along with the ability to play sports such as tennis, darts, or even 9 holes of golf at the Los Santos Country Club.
If sports and murder are not your thing, there’s always the chance to invest your hard earned riches. A functional stock market exists within the game, accessed from the web browser on the player’s phone, and it reacts to in game situations. Listen to the radio when you jump in a car – did you hear that LifeInvader got hacked? Head to the stock exchange, and watch those prices fall. Buy as many as you can afford and wait for the profits to roll in. It’s worth noting that investing in the stock market is the only viable way to earn enough money to purchase some of the more expensive properties (£150 million for the most costly).
Finally, you can head online. Originally, there were some connectivity issues, but these have since been cleaned up. While the online campaign is basically an entirely new game, core concepts are recycled. The map is unchanged, and the basic premise remains, but with new characters and goals, plus the ever popular ability to play with friends! Is someone targeting you online? Put a bounty on their head, and reward whoever hunts them down. Not feeling like continuing the story right now? Take a break with a game of Team Deathmatch, or race your friends around San Andreas on the many tracks available.
Overall, Grand Theft Auto V has earned its recognition as one of the greatest games ever made. A strong story line develops the characters excellently, and makes us care about the fate of the protagonists – which, by the way, the player gets to decide.
Head over to Amazon using the link below where you can purchase your copy!