Rockstar Have Created A Masterpiece!
Grand Theft Auto V reviews have begun, and we’re compiling all the scores here for your reading pleasure.
Grand Theft Auto V is not only a preposterously enjoyable video game, but also an intelligent and sharp-tongued satire of contemporary America. It represents a refinement of everything that GTA IV brought to the table five years ago. It’s technically more accomplished in every conceivable way, but it’s also tremendously ambitious in its own right. No other world in video games comes close to this in size or scope, and there is sharp intelligence behind its sense of humour and gift for mayhem. It tells a compelling, unpredictable, and provocative story without ever letting it get in the way of your own self-directed adventures through San Andreas. It is one of the very best video games ever made.
No one makes worlds like Rockstar, but at last it has produced one without compromise. Everything works. It has mechanics good enough to anchor games of their own, and a story that is not only what GTA has always wanted to tell but also fits the way people have always played it. It’s a remarkable achievement, a peerless marriage of world design, storytelling and mechanics that pushes these ageing consoles to the limit and makes it all look easy. As we stand on the brink of a new generation, GTAV sends an intimidating message to the rest of the industry. Beat that.
GTA V doesn’t break new ground. It’s not going to change the world. It is, after all, the fifth numbered title in a well loved series and for the most part it is simply delivering more of what the developers must know the fans want to see. To expect otherwise is idiocy. But it is engaging, compelling, interesting, clever, funny and packed with things to do and see. It’s a personal story, or several personal stories, set in a magnificent world that ebbs and flows with thousands of people who all seem to be living their own personal stories. It’s a genuine landmark event in the history of videogames and it’s one that you definitely shouldn’t miss.
We’ve said enough. Part of Grand Theft Auto V’s magic is discovery, and enjoying the thrilling, unpredictable ride the story takes you on. Whether you’re in the thick of a bank heist or exploring the wilderness listening to Johnny Cash on the country station, it always feels tight, refined, and polished. The world is breathtaking, the script is funny, the music is superb (both the licensed tracks and the atmospheric original score), and, most of all, it’s really, really fun.
Sam Houser compared the making of Rockstar’s epic to the troubled production of Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now, and in some ways the same result has been met: a product that represents the peak of the blockbuster triple-A form, that realises grand ambition without visible compromise. It’s likely you’re reading this review with the intention of already buying Grand Theft Auto V – indeed, its release is a deserved cultural event, and while this sequel may not be remembered for showing us anything strictly new, this represents the pinnacle of Rockstar’s design ingenuity across every single discipline, a game that absolutely everyone will feel richer for playing.
The world is massive and detailed, the gameplay is damn near perfect, and though there are some lackluster side missions, the actual story is filled with memorable personalities that feel more fully-realized than even the best of GTA’s previous characters.
Both ‘the best of’ and the best offering in the entire series, GTA 5 easily lives up to the hype. The ultimate swansong for this console cycle, but also a game that’ll cast a long shadow over the next one too.
Overall, this game is less surprising than you might like, because so much of it is precisely what you’d expect from a GTA game. As other open-world games push forward in ways that make things like traversal more convenient, GTA forces you to look at the minimap for your turn-by-turn directions. At times, it feels like it was made in a vacuum, away from the influence of other games. But while you could certainly pick out a handful of individual systems or design choices that feel like they’ve been handled more intelligently elsewhere, none of those other games bring together so many interesting and disparate systems with the same level of aplomb on display here. That, combined with the game’s unique multi-character approach to storytelling, makes Grand Theft Auto V an exciting successor in the long-running franchise.
A lot of people are going to consider this to be the best video game ever made, and whether or not it’s our personal favourite we can’t say they wouldn’t be right. GTA has always been the best at indulging your criminal instincts but GTA V is the point at which the gameplay finally catches up with the dream. In Short: A staggering technical achievement that is matched only by the depth and ambition of its gameplay – this is not only the best-looking GTA ever but by far the most fun to play.
“I can imagine, 200 years from now, like our reading of Dickens, the game will be regarded as a catalog of our contemporary travails, an accelerated reality bearing more truth than just gazing at our own reflection.”
Yes, some people will hate GTA V. Some, like me, will thoroughly enjoy it while acknowledging its complications, its shortcomings as a narrative adventure. Last of Us says more about humanity in five minutes than GTA V does in its 70-plus missions. Five stars for such a troubled proposition? That’ll confuse and anger a few people, I know it. But no one constructs worlds like Rockstar and this one is worth many, many hours of exploration. It is fun, so much guilty, ridiculous fun.
Grand Theft Auto V has the lofty expectations of living up to the pedigree of its critically acclaimed predecessors. Rockstar Games deserves credit for pushing the boundaries of its flagship franchise yet again with improved controls, great mission variety, and the most jam-packed open world I’ve ever visited. The narrative fails to match the impact John Marston or Niko Bellic’s tales, but the colorful characters kept me interested in the story nonetheless. Like the golden state it parodies, Grand Theft Auto V is filled with beautiful scenery, a wealth of activities, and the promise of fortune.
Only time will tell whether it’s enough to win over the GTA naysayers, but Rockstar North has clearly listened to criticisms of past games and delivered what’s as close to the perfect sandbox as technologically possible. The hallmarks of the GTA series are all present, from the way the story is structured, to the explosive set pieces, use of stereotypes and humorous observations. And while we would be hesitant to say that this is a more mature Grand Theft Auto, it’s certainly a new high for a series that has grown in confidence with each new instalment. With a great cast, a huge list of missions and activities, some novel new gameplay additions and one of the most stunning environments we’ve ever explored, Grand Theft Auto 5 is a masterpiece and a hugely impressive technological achievement.
GTA 5 is a bridge between games’ present and the future Rockstar has expanded and improved upon so much of what’s special about video games as mainstream spectacles, from the playful use of characters to the refined take on world design. The developer’s progress makes the aspects of the game left in cultural stasis — the poorly drawn women, the empty cynicism, the unnecessarily excessive cruelty — especially agitating. It’s fitting that the game arrives at the cusp of the next generation of consoles. Grand Theft Auto 5 is the closure of this generation, and the benchmark for the next. Here is a game caught occasionally for the worst, but overwhelmingly for the better, between the present and the future.
Grand Theft Auto 5 is an ambitious game, attempting to meld three very different characters together to tell one encompassing story of survival in what amounts to the worst place in America. That story stumbles, but the open-ended gameplay remains a showpiece for the vast amount of content that can be poured into a virtual world.
Grand Theft Auto V is both a reflective and deflective game, diving into the heart of the GTA series with more than a few subtle things to say about itself. Michael is tired, and old, and wants to change, but he can’t, and eventually he grows to accept and even enjoy that. Franklin is smarter than his surroundings, dreaming big but held back by old fashioned ideas. Trevor is hilarious, surprising, and a disgusting degenerate. All three characters, in their respective ways, feel representative of the Grand Theft Auto series as a whole, and contribute to making GTA V what it is — the ultimate culmination of Rockstar’s beloved and despised series. Personally, I think that’s a fine thing to be.
GTA5 may not be the Hollywood-beating crime story it wants to be, then, but it’s the best video game it’s ever been, and I’ll take that.
GTA V is an imperfect yet astounding game that has great characters and an innovative and exciting narrative structure, even if the story it uses that structure to tell is hobbled at times by inconsistent character behavior, muddled political messages and rampant misogyny. It also raises the bar for open-world mission design in a big way and has one of the most beautiful, lively, diverse and stimulating worlds ever seen in a game. Your time in Los Santos may leave you with a few psychological scars, but you shouldn’t let that stop you from visiting.
If only the morally reprehensible script written by Dan Houser lived up to the achievements in game-making that Grand Theft Auto V otherwise embodies, it would be not just the game of the year but of the decade. Unfortunately, you can only hear a character say “&^%@ you, Mother&*^%er” so many times before it starts to grate on you. You can only embody a vicious psychopath a short time before it becomes boring, at best, and soul-crushing, at worst. Forcing players to murder people, not in a gamey “I killed you to complete a goal” way that defines this medium, but in a terrorizing and demeaning way, is not what will make videogames great. Rockstar had a chance to elevate, and they wasted it on portraying characters you don’t want to spend five minutes with, let alone the hours it would take to play through the game’s story.