Platforms: Microsoft Windows, PlayStation 3 & 4, Xbox 360 & One
High tech, high art
By Jonathan Goodison-Orr
Three years after its initial release, Grand Theft Auto V continues to be an enduring favorite of millions worldwide. GTA V is an open-world action-adventure game played from both a first-person or third-person view. The game contains two major game styles, a single player campaign and a multiplayer open world with a myriad of individual and free-play mission options. The single-player mode lets player control three characters: Michael De Santa, Trevor Phillips, and Franklin Clinton – criminals whose stories come together as missions are completed. The multi-player mode allows players to create their own character to use in the open world.
The story is well-developed, presenting us with three major characters whom we can control throughout the story, and covering such incredibly complex themes as betrayal, crime and punishment, ambition, greed, drug abuse, torture, abuse of power, extortion and revenge, while also staying true to what makes GTA stories great: plenty of intrigue, action, violence, humor and yes, lots and lots of sarcastic and cynical commentary on Southern Californian society. From chic Hollywood urbanites to the rural desert country-folk, the GTA writing team goes after all and spares none. Over the course of the story the player goes through different major heists and their immediate and long-term consequences, drawing the three protagonists into conflict with the government, a private security firm, street gangs, organized crime, venture capitalists, cartel kingpins, hackers, and almost everyone in between. There are laughs, there are tears, and there are plenty of difficult decisions, but, most notably, at no point does the story ever begin to feel bogged down or crushed by the weight of its own themes. On the contrary, the story feels light and easily digestible, keeping the player engaged with the characters and the world in which they inhabit. For those of you who bought the game just for multiplayer, or only tend to play multiplayer games, I would highly recommend this story. And for those who regularly play single-player games, I promise this will not disappoint.
However, the multiplayer mode is a different beast entirely. Once players create their own character, they are spawned into an ever-evolving and active online world. Through leveling-up (a version of experience), players get access to greater and greater resources and features in the world. Performing missions and heists to gain money and experience. With in-game money, players can purchase clothes, weapons, accessories (hats, masks, glasses, etc.), and apartments. With the steady progression of free updates to the online game, players can even form their own criminal organizations, buy boats, planes, ultra-luxury cars, and even offices for their organizations. Also, there are now free-play events, where players can freely compete in challenges for money and experience in the open world.
GTA V is a well-written, well-produced and well-acted game. There is no question that as a closer to its generation of games, it casts a very long shadow of what can be achieved with enough time and a dedicated team of people who care at their core about making enjoyable and entertaining game. It has been a great joy to play it, and play it a lot. And I hope I get to do so for a long time hence.