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Customer Review

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Polished, 28 Dec. 2013
This review is from: Grand Theft Auto V (PS3) (Video Game)
Although GTA5 is an exceptional game, I cannot give it 5 stars and, I'll explain why towards the end of this review. But first I want to list the amazing things about it, and yes I do think everybody should play it, even people who don't like driving games (of which I am one).

First of all, take a deep breath and prepare yourself for the city of Los Santos. You really don't get much better than this: the city is huge and every single scrap and corner of it has been finished off to a high level of detail. Seek out a derelict corner of the freeway and there's detail, drive to the roughest, highest, remotest spot and there's detail, walk into a store and there's detail. It must have taken literally years to build this environment. The character models are also good, of course the three main leads are fully realised, but the passers by in the street are also very creatively designed. The gameplay contains a very large amount of vehicle driving, and of course this is hugely satisfying, and very well implemented. The script and dialogue are sharp as a knife, sometimes hilarious (Trevor, usually), and sometimes very offensive (no swear word is taboo here).

So, a bit about the game itself, well, you play as three characters (you can swap between them), who come together and form an uneasy bond as three criminals with a shared goal; making loot. There's Franklin, the youngest character with a violent inner city gang background, Michael, a former professional thief who is living in luxury, and Trevor, a half crazed, loose cannon who provides most of the extreme highlights of the game. Missions are split between plot-driving "heists" which all the three leads play together, and personal side-missions, of which there are a whole bunch for each character. Smaller side-side-missions include buying commercial properties and reaping rewards from them, and taking on stunts like races, parachute jumps and rampages.

So now I am going to list a few of the things that I found frustrating. First of all, believe it or not, the main, big missions of the game are nearly all too easy! This is largely because of the games very generous auto checkpoint system, which ensures that even if you are a terrible and careless player, as long as you just scrape through a few minutes of play in a long mission, you'll be rewarded with a simple restart from a checkpoint every few minutes each time you die. Most of the quick deaths for me happened in on-foot combat, of which there is a fair amount. Even in the toughest missions, I seldom bothered with cover or tactical positioning, because as long as you spray bullets heavily enough in all directions, you'll normally make enough progress to get you to yet another checkpoint. Not really the attitude of play that the game makers should have been so forgiving about!

The next thing that rather disappointed me was the actual lack of surprises. All the missions are fairly predictable. Even GTA3 had more amusing and creative missions than this, in fact GTA3 had so many quirks and clever missions, that none of it's progeny have ever quite equalled it.

Finally, the one thing that made me REALLY angry was trying to fly HELICOPTERS. Oh my god, this was pain, pain, pain. After bumbling through one or two helicopter missions, I searched for and found the "Flight School", but too my huge disappointment, this was nothing of the sort, it was just an obstacle course to get through and get a score for, rather than any real guidance on how to successfully control the thing. Hideous element of the game. I don't mind learning controls but at the end of the day I am not trying to play a helicopter simulation game, I just want to have fun. I think they could have made this simpler

So there you go, that's what made me drop my score to a 4 rather than a 5. But it's still a superb game and a very, very rich experience. Definitely for adults only, due to the ear-popping bad language and one particularly nasty "torture" mission which is treated like a game, and leaves a very bad taste in the mouth. But even with that criticism, I still think you'll grow very fond of Los Santos and the main characters after a few days. And this city takes a LOT of exploration. It would take weeks or even months of dedicated play to see all of the city and it's surrounding areas, but you can keep playing the game after the final "plot" mission is over and just explore to your hearts content, so feel free to use that freedom to your heart's content. Get it - you won't be sorry.
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