Top positive review
31 July 2017
I am in my mid-50s and before this had only played a couple of video games in my life and that was about 20 years ago. I thought I would give this a try and was blown away by how good it is. I can see why it has grossed over $2bn.
You can play this in "story" mode like a normal single user video game or "online" mode with loads of other people from round the world.
In story mode you play three different characters and there is a plot that weaves the characters together through a set of missions. The plot has more to it than most films and the relationship between the characters develops through the game, all of which was a big part of my enjoyment.
The mechanics of the game are also excellent. It plays smoothly either in 3rd person mode (you look down on your character) or 1st person mode (you see through the eyes of your character), the level of detail is incredible, driving is fun with different vehicles behaving differently, and combat is fun, varying between easy and difficult (for me at least) at points in the game. There's also quite a lot of humour in the game, not least on the radio that you listen to when driving.
Aside from the main missions in story mode there are plenty of side missions and you can go off exploring, doing hobbies or killing and robbing people (if that's your thing) outside of missions. Missions can feel quite intense because of combat or sometimes time pressure, but you generally enter missions at your own pace and take as much time as you like to do other stuff in between.
Now for the tricky moral issues that nearly put me off trying this game. The good news is that you don't have to visit hookers let alone kill them to complete the game. The bad news is that there is no avoiding the infamous torture scene if you want to get through the game. I have to say I found that section of the game rather uncomfortable but thankfully it was short lived. Of course you have to accept that you are going to steal lots of cars and kill lots of people, most of whom will be innocent guards, police etc.
I can only comment briefly regarding the online mode as I have only tried it a few times. There is no overall story line here. You choose your missions and you often work with others to complete them. I dare say you get used to it, but the signing up to missions all seems a bit clunky to me. The players also lack the character that is put into story mode. I will try online more and it is clearly very popular and for some will be the main thing they like in GTA V, but for now I regard it as an add on to the main story line game. I guess it would be most fun if you have real life friends playing it with you.
I found it easy to get the game to work. I already had a PC with a heavyweight CPU. I bought a £100 RX560 graphics card to go in it and one of these cheap game controllers https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00NP4GT6C/ref=cm_cr_ryp_prd_ttl_sol_2. You can play through a keyboard but the game controller worked well for me. There are several DVDs to load and it takes a while to install the game but that is largely a reflection of the scale and detail of the game.. No problem with conflicts with my firewall or virus scanner. You must sign up to the Grand Theft Auto social club to play even in story mode but this is not a problem - they don't bombard you with junk mail. Updates to the game are delivered once you join the social club. And then you are ready to go (and you never need to visit the social club again if you don't want to). Worked first time for me and the default settings were near enough perfect.
I rate this along side my favourite books, films, music etc as simply wonderful entertainment.