Yes I have finally finished Grand Theft Auto V. That’s right friends, t took a little over a month for me to do it and I focused primarily on the main story line. For the amount of time I can spend gaming, if I were to try to get 100% completion and do all the side quests, I’d be still at it now! As a point of reference, for all you GVets out there who can’t play as much as you’d like to, it took me around 25-30 hours to complete the game. Is it worth it? Damn right it is.
If you had a chance to read my first impressions of the game, most of what I said still holds true after finishing it. The story does get a lot more interesting and fun once you get to unlocking the last playable character, the infamous Trevor. Much has been written about him but basically, he’s a psychotic asshole with a sort of a heart of gold (trust me, you’ll understand when you play it) His character changes 180 degrees from over the top crazy manic, to your best friend in the world. It’s kind of strange to watch and at times just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. The plot of course is ridiculous as ever but it’s a blast and fun enough that you don’t care too much. Isn’t that the point anyways?
A lot has been written about Grand Theft Auto V from other gaming sites and journalists basically professing their love and proclaiming it the “Greatest game of our generation”. Many like to say that Grand Theft Auto V gives us a unique social commentary about American pop culture. Sure there’s some digs as things like reality TV, Apple iPhones, Facebook and Steve Jobs. Also, if you pay close attention to the dialogue, there’s some interesting opinions and pretty good points made, especially by Trevor of all people. It’s interesting but can easily go over your head if you aren’t always paying attention. It’s satire at best and did give me a few chuckles here and there. In the end it’s still a GTA game. You go from mission to mission that usually involves stealing something or killing someone, then run from the cops. Don’t get me wrong, it is a good game but by no means the greatest game ever.
I won’t get into specifics but this time around, GTAV revolves around 3 main characters, Franklin, Michael and Trevor. Each is a bit stereotypical and of course there’s some history between a few of them to make things really interesting. There’s time you do feel sorry for certain characters but for whatever reason, you don’t end up caring much about them. Unlike John Marston from Red Dead Redemption, I really didn’t care what happens any of them. At first you may think having 3 characters, each with their own story would make things complicated but Rockstar manages to weave their stories together that somewhat works and makes sense in the grand scheme of things.
Truly the best thing is the ability to switch between each character on the fly. Rockstar implemented this system really well and it’s fun and intuitive to switch back and forth. It really works during coordinated missions where each character is given very different tasks (flying a chopper, sniping from a distance and on foot). It’s a great feature that adds some freshness to a somewhat stale game mechanic.
The usual GTA complaints about the shooting, movement, driving and fighting still ring true here. Everything is a bit better but the controls and movement are still awkward and janky. Shooting is still cumbersome and the melee combat just plain sucks. It’s a shame that Rockstar spent so much time building such a vast city and didn’t improve or revamp the core gaming mechanic. I’d love to see a complete overhaul here.
One of the cooler missions that involve character switching:
Speaking of vast city, Los Santos and the surrounding land mass around is huge. There’s tons of side missions and things to do including mini-games like trading stocks, golf, tennis, flying lessons, and shooting range. To keep you interested, each mini game has level progression and achievements to reach. In truth, I don’t really bother with the mini-games as my gaming time is limited so I tend to focus on the main quest. That being said, you could make GTAV your game of choice for months and casually play whenever you get a chance. It’s still fun to just drive around and cause havoc or do a few side missions when you have the time.
Somehow, Rockstar manages to squeeze out every last ounce of power from the Xbox360 and PS3 to produce a decent looking game graphically. There’s still some weird graphical glitches and jaggies especially noticeable when driving. Framerates are dodgy as ever but I don’t expect much from current gen consoles and it’s forgivable given the vast amount of things you can do and the sheer fun factor of the game.
Watch Trevor in his most controversial scene (viewer discretion advised)
- Massive scale and scope
- Lots of fun
- It’s pretty cool switching between 3 characters especially during complex missions
- Plenty of things to do to keep you busy outside of the main story line
- Over the top story line that is entertaining, especially once you unlock all 3 characters
- Dodgy frame rates
- Some weird graphical glitches
- Melee combat still sucks
- Gun mechanic is cumbersome
- Might be too long for some gamers
The Old Guy in Me
It’s Grand Theft Auto. You get to shoot and blow shit up. What more can you ask for? It’s a great swan song for current gen consoles and I highly recommend to any GTA fans out there. Just be prepared for the massive scale and scope of the game. It”ll take you 25-30 hours just to beat the main mission and I can imagine triple that to get through all the side quests too. For casual GamerVets out there, it’s also an easy game to just hop in and out of if you don’t have tons of time to play. It’s fun to do some easy side missions or just try to see how long you can hold off the cops as you try to cause as much havoc as possible!