It was…. good.

Sometimes, I do wonder if the people who make games, and play games, and review games, are kinda having their own, collective “Emperor’s New Clothes” kinda syndrome thing, but in reverse. The people who make games, and play them, and review them, have all said “ooh, it’s a masterpiece!” and “ooh, it’s a modern classic!” and things of that nature. Everyone likes GTA V. Ok, apart from some people who didn’t like the portrayal of women, which is like buying a porno DVD, taking it home, putting it in the DVD player, pressing play, and then spending the next 90 minutes whining about the lack of plot. If you wanted to see an even-handed portrayal of women in a video game, may I recommend the Mass Effect series? Yes, the fact that’s the only game series I can think of off the top of my head that treats the women characters just as importantly as the men is a travesty, and yes, I would like things to improve; unfortunately, they haven’t yet, so you’re stuck with GTA V for now. Shit, I really got off topic there. Sorry.

The point is, GTA V doesn’t do anything that you haven’t seen before in GTA IV, or in San Andreas, or even in Vice City. You’re still driving cars down the centre of the roads, trying to go between both lanes of traffic at the same time. You’re still running round and shooting people. What you do in this game is no different to what you do in any other third person sandbox style game.

It’s not as varied or outright fun as Just Cause 2 (or even San Andreas, if I’m being fair, which I try to be). It lacks the satisfying hand to hand combat of Sleeping Dogs (which was nicked wholesale from Batman Arkham Asylum, if I’m being fair, which I am still trying to be). And the driving model, although improved over GTA IV’s motorised shopping trolleys, is still, well, off. Don’t get me wrong, you can master it easily, and it’s the most satisfying driving model a GTA game has ever had. It’s just…. I guess playing GRID 2 before this wasn’t a good idea. Driving games are all about feel. Communicating traction to the player. Letting you know when you’re about to lose the car to the corner. GTA V doesn’t really have that. It’s slightly spongy, for want of a better word.

Anyway, those are the negatives. Where’s the positives? Well, the cast is excellent, the graphics are pretty fucking good (on the PS3, at any rate), the plot is half decent, the heists are pretty good (although I would have liked a better implementation of them, so that the player gets to decide which entrances / exits to take, strategies and tactics and all that kind of stuff), and for a game series that seems to court controversy with every release, it’s fairly tame. There is a torture scene in it, but it’s no more interactive than a DVD menu screen, and it’s a bit shit.

However, one thing it does get right, so magnificently right, is that for once, an open world sandbox third person game (you know, like GTA games) has a main character that actually justifies the carnage you get up to in the average play session. You know how you’ll try really hard not to crash into stuff, but then you’ll accidentally clip a pedestrian and they go flying over the bonnet, and your “I am a professional” character in whatever game spouts some kind of psychotic one-liner that is somehow meant to justify casual murder while also staying true to the character and the lines never match what the character says for the rest of the game? GTA V gives you Trevor. Trevor is a fucking psychotic lunatic. If you accidentally kill someone in GTA V while playing as Trevor, he will make some stupid psychotic remark about it, because he is psychotic. And stupid. It fits him. He never changes. He stays psychotic. For once, your character aligns with your (possibly accidental) actions in the game. This is thrown into sharp relief when put up next to Franklin (hoodlum trying to make a better life for himself) and Michael (ex-con trying to go straight, gets pulled back in for one last job). As crazy as they get they got nothing on Trevor. He is awesome.

So there you go. Finally, a protagonist other than Tommy Vercetti who fits in perfectly with both the environment and plot. Kinda rare with any sandbox type of game, but Rockstar have got it right twice out of five (and I don’t count the PS1 add on discs).

I hope they manage to include the insanity of the San Andreas vehicles in the next GTA game, alongside a protagonist unhinged enough to take full advantage of it. Because GTA is worth it.


    Hey boy yessir fella. This was the first and last GTA game for me. Trevor is awesome but the rest of the game is meh, can’t even be arsed finishing it. You go from a poor driving game (there was a C64 Lotus game – can’t think of the name – that had about the same amount of driving around the streets satisfaction as this) to a really shit shooter, then to mix it up a bit you try and do a load of character stat building things that you don’t actually need to do to play through the game because it’s all really simple anyway. It’s a brilliant sandbox but as a game it’s fairly shite in my opinion, I’ll not be going back for another go.

    But anyhoo none of that is wierd – just not that much fun, the really really, fuck me that’s stupid, wierd thing is the number of adults getting exciting about the lap dancers and prostitutes in it. If you live virtually anywhere else on the planet other than this wind swept little rock you can nip to a lappies any night of the week and have a genuine real flesh and bone hot chick get down to her knickers and grind your cock for less than the price of GTA V.

    Oh and Happy New Year!

  • Happy New Year, sir!

    Wait, people get excited about it? I mean, if I got hold of a copy of this and a PS3 20 years ago, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t stop drooling for a year, and that would be before I even got to the strip clubs in the game. For people now, who have access to the internet, which is fucking stuffed with porn, to get rigid over the triangle tittehs in GTAV; that’s fucking stupid. That’s like getting a boner over a stick figure with two balloons stuck to the middle drawn on a piece of paper in pencil, while The 69th Sense is playing on a loop on the TV in the background. I weep for the future.

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