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on September 18, 2013
**UPDATE**: The online is still being fixed and there are still frustrations, but I can finally provide insight into playing (not-so-nice) with others.

From the time I've started this game till now, I have enjoyed every single second of my journey. This is easily the game of the year, if not the decade. It is stunning graphically, pushing the PS3 to it's limits, and the world is seamless. If Rockstar never made another Grand Theft Auto, this could easily be the Magnum Opus of the series.


Graphics: 5/5 - The game looks gorgeous. Rockstar truly captured the feel of Southern California and made each location look unique and believable. Cars, characters, waves, the city; it's truly amazing.

Audio: 5/5 - Every sound helps make the city feel alive. From the sound of foot steps to the hum of an engine, the acting and the audio is top notch.

Gameplay: 5/5 - The improvements are immediately noticeable. Any issues with previous iterations of Grand Theft Auto should be satisfied; the controls are tight and everything feels fluid and seamless. It's a joy to drive, run, shoot, and travel around Los Santos. Those with gripes about GTA IV: this plays and feels much better, cars handle much better. You will not be disappointed.

Story: 5/5 - One word - incredible. Since the moment I turned the game on I was engrossed with each character and wanting to find out what happens next to our intrepid anti-heroes/criminal upstarts. This is a crime saga that will not disappoint and the characters help to give the story depth and meaning. The only real drawback is that the story moves fast and is over quickly.

Online: 3/5 - Online is fantastic and fun, but there are some major frustrations too. Other players will mercilessly hunt you down and kill you - over and over again. You lose money each time you die, and players have become creative to bypass certain things like Passive Mode. When you do find a group of players who aren't simply looking to cause mayhem and grief, the missions range from fun to extremely frustrating. The ability to free roam with up to 16 other players is great, but Rockstar needs to make some changes in order to give the online portion long-term success.

Overall: 5/5 - This is the game to own, regardless of what system you have. With limitless replayability, a vast, realistic world to explore, so many things to do, and a AAA story, this belongs in the library of every gamer who does not mind an adult story and content. If you enjoyed the other GTA titles, or you enjoy the action and gripping story of games like Uncharted, Assassin's Creed and/or Red Dead Redemption then get this game.


When starting on the PS3 for the first time, expect a 10 to 15 minute install; story mode takes another 5 minutes to load. Once that is through, the game thrusts you into a heist as you learn the basic controls, most of which feel similar to GTA IV. You are also shown a new gameplay mechanic -- switching characters on the fly. To do this, press and hold the down d-pad button, then with the right stick select the character in the wheel that pops up you want to control. After the introduction, there are some cutscenes as the player is shown a little bit of Los Santos. Once the scene is over, the player is left with a mission for Franklin. Finish the mission, and the world is yours to explore.

Welcome to Los Santos, with all the glitz and glamor you've come to expect, but corruption and crime runs rampant under the surface. Our -ahem- heroes are Michael, a retired bank robber; Franklin, a repo man trying to do right and make his way up in the world; and Trevor, an unhinged, unpredictable maniac who used to run robberies with Michael. Michael is living the rich life with his dysfunctional family. Trevor is running repo jobs with his friend for a shady car salesman. Trevor is living in trailer park and causing mayhem trying to make some money. Each character is distinct, unique and and extremely interesting. You'll want to spend time with all three. The dialogue is well written and I found myself waiting to finish a mission or move into the highlighted spot until the characters were finished talking so I didn't miss anything.

There are numerous improvements and upgrades to the classic Grand Theft Auto, all of which help makes a satisfying experience:

If you fail a section of a mission 3 times, can fast forward to next checkpoint - but don't have to. If there was a frustrating aspect, like having to place first in a race to advance the story, now you can skip the frustration and move the story along; you can go back and finish it later, or not at all.

Special Abilities and Character Switching:
Each character has a special ability used by pressing L3 + R3. As Michael, you can slow down time while shooting. Franklin can slow down time while driving and gain extremely improved maneuverability (my favorite!). Trevor can go into a rage reducing damage he takes, delivering more damage to enemies, and has a special melee attack. The new mechanic of switching characters on the fly adds new gameplay possibilities, and lets you experience each character's unique perspective during heists. This allows you to be flexible in approach, and when things turn sour, use quick thinking and reflexes to make it out alive utilizing each characters skills. When not actively engaged in a criminal plot, switching the character zooms out on one, and then refocuses over the other character and zooms in. The character is often just finished with something as you take control; for instance at one point Franklin was leaving a Strip Club and I switched to Trevor once to find him being thrown out of a women's clothing store, with a dress on, complaining about wanting to try it before he buys it. These little things help to make each character feel alive and like they are all engaged in their own schedules when you're not playing them.

Performing certain actions improves your abilities. These abilities include driving, shooting, flying, lung capacity and a few others. When improved, the character has better aim, can run longer, or better driving skills. Leveling each skill requires the player to perform specific actions, for instance, to get better at driving hit top speeds, have near misses and pop wheelies on motorcycles. To increase each character's special ability, keep using it. To get better with guns, either get head shots or head down to the firing range. The different activities around Los Santos can help increase the skills.

Shooting is easy to do as well, and the targeting system can be customized. A player can choose traditional GTA style shooting, assisted aim, and free aim. Enemies can be quickly switched between by flicking the R stick. I have mine set to traditional GTA, where I hit L2 to aim and it snaps to a target for a few seconds before going to free aim. Holding L1 slows down time and brings up the weapon wheel: press the R stick to select a weapon, press the right or left d-pad button to change to a different type of weapon (for instance selecting to use a knife instead of fists). Guns also can be customized once purchased and fitted with flashlights, larger magazines, and silencers. The variety of weapons is quite large.

Random missions are scattered around the map, which appear as question marks (?). These generally have story elements tied to them and help flesh out the characters and the world. There are also blue/red blips that will randomly appear and you can choose to participate by getting close. One random blip early on had me help two morons robbing a store get away and one of them told me to call them if I ever need muscle. You may encounter the same random event more than once, but there is a nice variety. Purse snatching seems to be pretty common.

Size and Activities:
Los Santos is BIG. Open the map in your game case if you have a physical copy. One side shows the big city close up, with the other showing the whole area. Once in game, looking at that map and zooming in, it was nearly overwhelming to see just how large the world is. Better yet, there are no barriers. You want to visit the mountains after the first mission? Go ahead. There is so much to do in Los Santos too. Visit the strip club (WARNING: unlike Liberty City, Los Santos is a fully topless region), golf, tennis, movies, tv, etc. You can shop to buy each character new outfits or visit a barber to give them a new look. Suspend your disbelief as a beardless character can order up facial hair for a few bucks. Invest in the Real Estate business and buy yourself an income property. Play the stock market, and keep an ear on the fluctuations in game. Some missions may have an affect on stock prices as well. Take your dirt bike off road and explore the wilderness.

Driving can still be a pain sometimes, but the mechanics have been vastly improved over the last Grand Theft Auto. Top speeds in some vehicles are quite impressive, while driving large trucks is often very slow, but once at max speed it's hard to stop them. Each vehicle handles differently, so you may want to experiment until you find one you like. Pressing O locks on a target for a mission and it time is slightly slowed down to make maneuvering through traffic somewhat easier. Couple that with Franklin's ability to slow down time while driving and it makes chases fun and exciting. You'll be shouting with joy as you miss close calls and easily make that turn the biker just nailed at 90 degrees. There is Cinematic Camera during some missions that allows you to actual enjoy the action that's going on without having to worry about crashing the car, dealing with traffic, look where you're going, etc. It's easier to switch between the two modes with O. When the action heats back up, switch the camera and jump straight in.

Car Customization is in-depth with 15+ different categories that can be improved or changed. Some categories have sub-categories as well, like choosing different color patterns such as metallic, matte, etc. Some are cosmetic, but many have other benefits as well, like protective armor or better handling. Car aficionados will enjoy tinkering every detail on their car.

Missions are filled with great banter and are a lot of fun. While difficult, they are still accessible for even casual gamers. At the end of each mission there is a score based on what actions were completed, such as not receiving a single scratch on a vehicle for instance. This score can range from 0% (though I've always gotten around 50% so far) to 100% for doing each action. Missions can be replayed at any time, so don't feel the need to hit the 100% mark the first time through. In fact, I'd recommend not worrying about achieving 100% and just enjoy the atmosphere and story and come back to it later.

Heists are extremely enjoyable and you get your first taste in the introduction. These are in-depth, multiple part missions that let you case the place you're going to rob, select a crew, and determine how you want to approach the robbery and get away with a lot of money. Each crew member has pros and cons, those with less developed skills may take more time to break into a place, but ask for a smaller cut. Likewise, the higher skilled, higher cut crew members could always break in quicker and allow for a bigger payout. During the mission, you can switch between characters as desired to see from their perspective, or to help one of the other guys out of a jam. Have Franklin run in and when he gets into a jam, switch to Michael to provide cover fire and support. After the guys retrieve their score, switch to Franklin to land the helicopter and make their get away.

Rockstar goes outside the game to have an application and website that affects the game, iFruit and LifeInvader (their version of iPhone and Facebook). You can use iFruit to train and improve Chop, a dog that Franklin ends up with. Use LifeInvader to get discounts in game by clicking on the links when logged in and associated with your Social Club account.

Phenomenal job. Every sound breathes life and atmosphere into the game, whether you're listening to the high quality radio stations or enjoying a stroll downtown. A woman walked by on the sidewalk in high heels - I could every "clack clack clack" as she strutted by. I'm playing with a basic stereo set up, so I'm sure it sounds even more vibrant and alive in a full surround mode. The voice actors do a fantastic job bringing the characters to life. I have no complaints here.

It looks like Grand Theft Auto, but better. The structure design and layout is what you'd expect from a GTA, but the textures have been vastly improved. Little details have been added to the world to make it feel more alive, I was noticing drains in the street and small potted plants. These small additions might not seem much, but added up together really enhance the world. I found myself looking at distant building with lights on during the night, or admiring the foliage as I drove down towards the beach. Random NPCs walking around are a bit less detailed than main characters, but have a great variety of different models/looks. The vehicles look better than ever too. Random weather (slow down time with Franklin's special ability during a thunderstorm, it's pretty awesome), night and day cycles, lights with the right amount of bloom to look believe - it all helps to pull you into Los Santos. Some of the textures are noticeably low resolution when close up, but thankfully the action is often to frantic and fast paced you won't have time to stare. Also, I have not noticed any lag or hiccups while traversing the world.

You start by creating a player. Choosing the grand parents from a set list influences the looks of your parents which will in turn influence your appearance. You cannot make strange looking freaks ala Saints Row. Once out of creation, you pick your skills by allocating what you do in a 24 hour day, in half hour increments. These will decide your starting statistics which you increase like in the single player game, by using them. They advance slowly however, so don't expect to max out the skills in a day.

Once done with basic tutorial mode, you're free to roam around Los Santos stealing, robbing, and killing. There are blue circles and indicators on the map where you can play missions, death matches, races, parachuting, and other activities like tennis. You can kill other players you meet as well, though doing so might result in each of you chasing each other down endlessly for no other purpose than to "get back at them" - do so at your own risk. And indeed, there is risk...

Dying online reduces the amount of money you've accrued by a certain %. This amount caps off at $2000, but that is still a big chunk and can fall quickly when caught in a griefing session another player or players. Passive mode doesn't work exactly as intended either. While players can't shoot you, stab you, or other weapon related activities, they can run you over and will. This is frustrating, especially when you spawn nearby and they're ready to run you down again.

Different types of activities scattered across Los Santos. Take part in custom races (bikes, cars, boat), custom death matches (teams, free for all), survival (10 waves of enemies), and missions (objective and co-operative). Races, parachuting, survival, and some co-op missions can be done solo. You can earn money doing survival and co-op missions solo, but not for the races/etc. You can rob stores by pointing a gun at the clerk (if you have a headset, yell into the mic for a fun surprise!). Buy clothes at the different stores and make your online criminal persona a unique snowflake.

There are a lot of little nuances as well, a staggering amount really. You can charitably give money from your bank account to other players, drop a gun or ammo for another player, split money from a recent robbery/activity (or not and get hunted down by pissed off partners), put bounties on players so they are mercilessly hunted down, text other players in game, etc. You can put a tracking device on your car so you can locate it easily, and buy insurance to recover it for a small fee if destroyed. You can customize your ride at a Los Santos Customs garage. You can also buy property: garages to store your vehicles are the cheapest, and apartments to relax or lay low in which also features more car space. You can allow certain people to utilize your vehicle (like friends, crew, everyone or no one) and can determine who you want to hear you if you have a mic (same options).

Doing jobs and taking part in activities earns a player Reputation Points (RP) which is like experience points. When you reach a new rank, you unlock customization - new hairstyles, clothes, weapons, weapon parts, tattoos, car customization, etc. The higher the rank, the more options available. Higher ranks also allow players to take place in more missions and earn new contacts. Some contacts offer invaluable services. For instance, at Rank 10 you receive Lester as a contact and he allows you place bounties on other players.

One minor note: I don't think the Stealth skill helps you against other players in the Free Roam mode. It may assist in death matches (your blip not appearing unless you make loud sounds like firing a gun or running). So in Free Roam, I would not be concerned with slinking around other players. Still useful to hide from the cops though.

--Rockstar is still working the kinks out and listening to player's feedback. Some of the gripes/issues with multiplayer MAY OR MAY NOT be addressed in the future. As of right now, this is how it was intended originally and what it's like.--


If you have any questions, or feel that I've left anything out, please leave a comment! Enjoy!

Updated: 9/22/2013 for clarity, wording, and structure.
3434 comments367 of 419 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on January 5, 2014
Can't review, must play game. Must fight sleep. Must fight hunger. Must continue to play game. Will call in sick
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on September 17, 2013
If you have ever enjoyed a GTA in the past you will enjoy this one. ( review edited/updated 9/24)

If you have ever stopped playing GTA due to some frustrating flaws then you may be pleasantly surprised by the changes this time around.

After playing part four there were a few things that turned me off and reduced my playtime. I am so excited to share that two of my main frustrations have been fixed.

If you have been following the media and the leaks on this game than you know it's beautiful and you have a good ideas as to wether or not its something you want to play.

Things I didn't know before:
- Probably the single most impressive thing to me that wasn't bragged about is that when you start this game up it will load up your new session. After this you most likely won't see a loading screen again without restarting the game. The world is huge and I have no idea how they have accomplished this.

- You will no longer have to drive from your house to the starting point if a mission over and over again each time you fail it. This will save you a large amount of frustration. There is a lot of content here so there is no need for you to waste time with repetition.

- You can now completely skip a portion of the mission. If you fail three times then you will be given the option to jump past a portion of the mission and move forward. There is a point penalty but I can be worth it if it saves you from pulling out all of your hair.

Most noticeable improvement.

- the cars drive excellently. GTAIV had the cars feeling as if they have four wheel drive while on ice. The cars this time around have a really nice weight to them. It's hard not to feel like you are in a solid racing game while driving around the beautiful city.


So far I have not experienced any of the bugs that other people have mentioned on here. The game has not frozen at all for me. In previous games I feel like I used to get trapped when trying to enter cars but so far I have had no issues.


This game is absolutely stunning. There is so much detail and you really feel that the city is alive. Ever area seems detailed and important. One thing to note is that if you live or have lived in LA you will feel that you are right at home. They have been able to perfectly condense the city in order for you to recognize your surroundings.

One thing to note is that it is hard to feel sometimes that the game is running completely smoothly. At times the system seems to chug a bit. There are odd little pauses and sometimes textures load a little but blurry for a moment. I want to say that this is not a Viking but rather more of a symptom of this game being designed for more advanced hardware . The hope here is that they are planning for ps4/Xbox one versions but so far there isn't a formal plan announced.

One area where the graphics are behind the earlier games is with the car destruction. It is far less realistic looking but with all of the other advancements that are found here you won't miss it.

More to come

This game has a multiplayer portion that isn't available yet. Rockstar has stated that it should be working in early October. There are a lot of promises for the online portion and when that comes out it should be the icing on the cake.
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on September 17, 2013
Picked this game up at midnight. Granted I have a young child and I'm married I wasn't up all night but I have put about 8 hours(maybe 9) into this game so far. After that many hours I've only made 9.8% progress so far(9 hours may not seem like a lot but any given CoD game I would've beat by then and then some). The world is massive. I mean take GTA IV and Red Dead Redemption, combine them and then add a forest. Then you will have GTA V. My time was spent exploring the changing world, taking in sights, getting wanted levels, dying randomly, playing sports and doing misc. civilian missions. I've only seen maybe 7% of the North part of the map(the wooded areas). I can't wait to go hunting either.
With a game of this scale I can already tell I'll be playing it for months without getting bored and don't even get me started on how many times I'll probably replay it. That's saying a lot too, with all the games out there that only last 6-8 hours to get through and after you're've done everything there is to do.
I would say the only downside to this masterpiece is that it's a bit easier to die than it was in previous GTA titles. Which isn't even a downside really, more of a nitpick. They also added the "save anytime' feature except when you're in a mission, which is very convenient. Switching between characters is fun, something that will def. keep the game constantly fresh.
Don't listen to the hipsters who just don't like being part of a crowd, who say this game is a letdown. It really doesn't get any better than this. Coming from someone who loves action, open world and shooter games...this game does not disappoint in any way.
They haven't even introduced multiplayer yet!!
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on July 12, 2015
When it started loading story the screen freeze or always loading and it never starts the game. I was really disappointed especially when i bought the one that is amazon certified and inspected.
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on December 22, 2014
GTA V is a huge game. So much so, that a mandatory 8.4 GB installation is required to play the game. Plus, there's another 1 or 2 GB worth of updates. Additionally, Rockstar has announced that, in the not so distant future, there will be even more updates. When this time comes, you'll need approximately 12 GB of storage just for this game, and still need the play disc. If you don't play online, you do not need to update the game, but you will not receive DLC that includes an arsenal of guns for story/online mode. A flashdrive can be used to install, but it is recommended that you buy a brand new flashdrive just for your PS3 console.

Cross-console gamers: if you own a PS3 and an Xbox 360, consider buying on 360 instead. I have GTA V for both consoles, and I noticed that graphics are slightly improved on 360, and the PS3 version lags and glitches out more. On top of that, shooting is much harder on PS3. Driving on PS3 feels more like driving a real car, but is also harder. Piloting is a little easier on 360 as well, but experience is much needed either way.

Now, for the review of the game: GTA V is easily the best Grand Theft Auto game to date. You get to take control of three different characters throughout the story, each having their own missions, side missions, etc. The story follows as Michael fakes his own death to retire as a bank robber at a young age. After he gets himself into trouble with Franklin, he has to get back in the game and rob a jewelry store. This leads to his friendship with Trevor being revived. Trevor, Michael, and Franklin pull heists together, get into trouble with the FIB (parody of FBI), and must do tasks for them.
In addition to the main story, each character runs into random people, doing missions for them and making money along the way. Random events also happen throughout the large map of San Andreas, giving players the option to help others and make a few bucks. You can play tennis, golfing, darts, car races, running/swimming/bike marathons, hang out with other characters, go to a bar to get drunk, go to a strip club, rob stores, and much much more. Character customization is available, allowing you to change hairstyles, clothing styles, and tattoos. As Trevor, you can even hunt deer for cash. Buying shares in stock marketing and properties is also available. All in all, this game can be played and enjoyed for years to come, never getting boring or tiring.

GTA online, however, is not all it's cracked up to be. You get to customize the way your character looks by genetics: you select what mother, father, and grandparents you want, and alter resemblance to each figure. But there is a downside... all characters seem to look like meth heads, no matter what you do. You can participate in races and deathmatches with other players, but that's about all you can do. On top of that, Sony's online server is slow and both 360 and PS3 seems to be randomized - instead of paring you with other "newbies," you play with people 100 levels higher than you, leading to unfair deathmatches and races, and they kill newbies for fun on the streets. Rockstar has made a penalty system for players who kill other players, making them pay your hospital bill and paring them with other "naughty" players, but many have figured ways around getting a penalty.
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on June 23, 2015
Game works perfect. It IS factory sealed BUT THE BOTTOM CORNER WAS CRACKED
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on December 16, 2013
Rockstar have raised the gold standard for the sandbox genre to seemingly unattainable heights for not just their competitors, but even themselves.

Topping Red Dead Redemption was always going to prove to be a mighty feat with unreasonable fan expectations, but Rockstar didn’t just admit defeat and nonchalantly pump out another entry into the cultural phenomenon that is Grand Theft Auto, they took this as a challenge and delivered on unearthly expectations and hype.

After spending roughly 50 hours in Los Santos and Blaine County, I come to you writing this review with my own sky high expectations blown out of the water. For some additional perspective, I’m nowhere near ready to satisfyingly shelve the game and prepare for new releases or consoles as there’s still so much more exhilarating content to experience. Simply put, Grand Theft Auto V will go down in the history books as a landmark in gaming and one of the very best games ever created.

Ambition and originality highlight the adventure in a myriad of ways but most notably with the enormous undertaking of crafting a game with roughly 100 hours of content around not one, but three unique and distinct protagonists with their own intertwining life issues. Michael is a retired professional thief stuck in a midlife crisis constantly at odds with his family, Franklin works a dead end job repossessing vehicles whilst desperately struggling to escape the urban lifestyle, and finally, there’s Trevor who is pleasantly psychotic and amongst being the most colorful character in the game, he’s also one of the most entertaining characters in all of gaming embodying everything the GTA franchise is about.

I’m not going to delve too far into the plot because how everything unfolds; even from the very beginning is one of the most fascinating aspects of the game. All you really need to know is that you will be flipping between this criminal band of heroes in a series of elaborate missions and dangerous heists that feel ripped out of a movie to ultimately get rich and exercise some personal demons.

Among these intriguing central themes are much more riveting plot points that touch upon everything from dysfunctional families, celebrity sycophancy, government morality, feminism, social media, torture, and overall brilliant satire of modern America. Every single scene, mission, and character is just ripe with provocative social commentary in traditional GTA comedic fashion, but this time around it’s relevant and intelligently nailed to a point that directly speaks to the player. These are all things you naturally would not expect from a GTA game but surprisingly they exist and greatly add to what is probably one of the most compelling narratives in all of gaming.

Everything is also heightened from the fact that GTA V is just so damn fun to play. Shooting has received a drastic cosmetic overhaul taking cues from both Red Dead Redemption and Max Payne 3, complete with helpful cover and a weapon wheel. You can also toggle multiple aiming settings that include a traditional aiming system allowing you to flip between softly locked on targets. Fundamental control schemes aren’t all the upgrades though as you can now shoot gasoline in the environment to ignite a fire which hopefully leads to an explosion.

Seamlessly switching between Michael, Franklin, and Trevor during frenetic firefights can not only prove to be advantageous but also cinematically intense. The most well-known example of this is sniping as Franklin while Michael snatches a hostage whilst rappelling down a towering corporate building but without spoiling anything, this highly touted feature is executed remarkably well.

Each protagonist is also given a special ability that suits their personality and role in a completely new feature to the franchise. Michael can slow down time in a firefight similar to Max Payne in his franchise but without all the stylistic John Woo inspired diving. Trevor can enter a state of berserk granted with the buff of dishing out double damage and having all damage taken halved. Franklin’s ability goes in a different direction allowing him to slow down time while driving.

All of these special abilities are highly useful and can be taken advantage of when in a pinch; in some ways they almost make the combat too easy especially considering the ability gauges recharge fairly quickly and your health already will always regenerate to halfway when nearly dead. Nevertheless, it’s an awesome feature and anything that mixes Max Payne into GTA can’t be a bad thing.

Driving was given a lot of flak in GTA IV as the cars essentially felt like you were skating on ice so Rockstar dialed the unwaveringly required precision back a notch so that every method of transportation is more user friendly and accessible but doesn’t play completely arcadey. You’re still going to need skill for the various racing activities but for the most part, everything is balanced in a manner that should satisfy everyone. That goes for every method of transportation too, whether it’s driving, flying, exploring the deep sea with a submarine, or cycling on a bike.

My only real issue at first wasn’t necessarily with the driving mechanics but rather evading the police. Maybe I’m just an oblivious idiot but the game doesn’t properly explain how to effectively ditch the fuzz, and leaves you just trying to burn rubber and leave them in the dust when in actuality it’s about sneakily hiding whether they’re far back behind you or in the immediate area. Once I became accustomed to playing hide and go seek with the LSPD however, it became thrilling to engage with them in ways that actually felt fair which is a rarity for the franchise.

Exploring Los Santos with or without the LSPD breathing down your neck is an enthralling activity as well. We all were aware that GTA V would boast a map larger in scale than Red Dead Redemption and GTA IV but the gravity of that statement doesn’t resonate until you get out there and start searching around. Aside from San Andreas (which is coincidentally the setting of GTA V as well) I’ve never found a disconnect in a sandbox game that instills a feeling that I’m traveling great distances and am drifting away into a new locale entirely.

The glamorous and Hollywood style appeal of Los Santos separated with rural America and vast deserts complimented each other in ways that serve as a testament to just how expansive the sandbox is. I haven’t even commented on the insane attention to detail yet but am still perplexed that while the credits rolled, the game was fading in and out of areas such as underwater ruins that I hadn’t even given a seconds thought about exploring yet.

Assisting how remarkable the world already is on sheer scope are arguably the greatest graphics we have ever seen on consoles. The sun shines off of metallic vehicle paint jobs, advertisements and billboards litter the city, character models have outstanding motion capture and facial expressions, and astounding levels of detail touch every object in the game from trees to clothing. Getting in a helicopter and rising to a high altitude only to casually fly around and sightsee from above is breathtaking and mesmerizing, especially when factoring in how vast the game’s draw distance is. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, something that wholeheartedly applies to the visuals in GTA V.

Physics are also out of this world impressive as GTA V runs on an enhanced version of Max Payne 3’s RAGE engine which astonishingly allows for unprecedented and lifelike ragdoll reactions to bullets, punches, head on vehicle collisions, falling, and more. Every single reaction is different, almost as if real life nerves are being simulated. Whatever is going on, it’s damned impressive and constantly keeps the interactivity from feeling stiff or dull.

If you’re more about partaking in actual activities instead of sightseeing then fear not, because Rockstar have once again gone above and beyond the call of duty with seemingly endless amounts of entertaining side content. Right off the bat, the inspiration from Red Dead Redemption is evident as the Strangers and Freaks line of side quests return in which you encounter all sorts of warped and idiosyncratic characters that either may want you to stalk celebrities, help legalize marijuana (these missions are incredibly out there and amusing), do some extreme sports, and more.

To further flesh out each main protagonist they even are granted their own individual missions with most strangers. There are also numerous random events in the world ranging from hijackings to assisting robberies to driving home hitchhikers and more. It seems as if around every corner is something to distract yourself with.

Also returning by popular demand is the ability to buy property ranging from bars to movie theaters to the taxi company but in all honestly it’s rather disappointingly useless save for the Los Santos Customs which allows for free car modifications upon buying it. I suppose money is more of a novelty than anything in the game, constantly pushing the plot forward. There are some really nifty and revolutionary things you can do with money though besides buy a golf course that you’ll never use, like trying your hands on the stock market.

From each character’s cell phone dubbed the iFruit is an internet app that lets you browse a fictionalized and satirical version of the internet. You can buy cars that will be directly delivered to your garage, check on some in game news, and generally get lost in another ridiculously detailed feature of the game but the most intriguing is the interactive stock market. Players with a broader awareness of what’s going on during the story will most likely invest in corporations that may be positively affected by a mission. If you’re planning a jewelry heist it’s probably wise to invest in their rival.

There’s also a fully competent Tennis mini-game to play which is miles more entertaining than Bowling from GTA IV, which probably stems from the fact that Rockstar has experience with creating actual Tennis games. Playing Darts is also mildly amusing as are the interactive strip club private dance mini-games. You also have your traditional races that come in multiple methods of transportation ranging from cars to boats to ATV’s to jet skis.

By far the biggest addition however in terms of side content is something once again derived from Red Dead Redemption; the ability to go hunting. Animals frequently roam around the forests and more rural areas of the game. Some will most likely inevitably become road kill as you unintentionally squash them as they trample on in front of you whilst you’re blazing down the road. If you ever get the itch to do it more professionally though you can acquire a calling whistle which points you in the right direction of elk, bobcats, mountain lions, and whatever else is roaming around out there.

If you’re more interested in zanier activity it’s already proven that you can find Bigfoot (for real this time around) or go hunting for the 50 spaceship parts scattered around the world. Trevor can also go on Rampages (yes, they are indeed back), or pick up hitchhikers and mischievously take them to some cannibals living way up in the mountains, or accept bail bond bounty missions. Maybe you feel like investigating a murder mystery too or jumping through hoops to join a religious cult. There is just so much to do that it’s nigh impossible for any review to cover absolutely everything but I can tell you one thing; once I’m finally done writing this review I’m jumping back in to get lost again.

Aside from looking good and playing good, GTA V sounds exceptional too. I’m not just referring to the cavalcade of gunshots and explosions either but more subtle things, like the shattering of glass or yelps of animals meeting their demise under your tires. The voice acting from a relatively unknown cast is fantastic mitigating the initial disappointment that Rockstar didn’t contract any major celebrities this time around.

This also marks the first time that a GTA game has ever had an orchestrated musical score to emphasize critical plot points instead of just having nothingness or a random song on the radio play. Speaking of the radio stations, there are 15 amounting to a whopping rough estimate of 250 songs, so there’s potentially something for everyone.

Winding down this review (finally), I think it’s no understatement when I say that GTA V might have the most content ever in a video game that isn’t an MMO or something without end. The story is smart and socially relevant satire with unforgettable characters, pitch perfect gameplay, and unbelievable graphics that will undoubtedly rival the early days of the next generation. Rockstar have gone above and beyond shattering sales records and deservedly so, for I firmly believe that GTA V will live on as one of the greatest games of all time.
0Comment21 of 27 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on October 13, 2013
This is not a hater review. I've played all GTA games since before they were 3D. I like all GTA games but I'm getting frustrated with the same issues. GTA 5 entertains and is fun for a while. After you beat the main story line things get boring fast. This is a great game but because Rockstar has had so many chances to fix these issues I'm rating it 2 stars.

Rockstar keeps upgrading the graphics and mechanics, but not things that I really want. Like more side missions, more things to do, larger maps and buildings that you can enter. I'd be more than happy to play PS2 style graphics if I could enter 70% of the buildings. But as it is now I can enter 5% of the buildings. What is enjoyable about looking at a beautiful skyscraper and walking to the front door and not being able to enter? Or seeing a painted interior.

People on the forums say the world is too large to accommodate this request but honestly look at games like Skyrim, they can do it. So it is possible.

Then at the end of the game when you finally have enough money to buy properties, after you buy the property you still can't even enter them. Common, even GTA Vice City let you enjoy your night clubs or other properties after you purchased it.
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on December 23, 2013
GTA 5 is insanely fun, Los Santos is huge and beautiful. The missions are long, not too frustrating and fun as hell. The graphics are even better than GTA 4 everything looks so real and alive. Everyone knows in GTA 4 the driving was terrible, not in GTA 5, when cars flip over they don't explode automatically and driving is much more better and fluid. You get 3 characters to play with this time around and what's new is that they all have a special ability. Missions are crazy and switching characters throughout the game is seamless.Get ready for a long adventure, this game has tons of missions as well as side ones. The main game is fun, but the online is...................TERRIBLE.
GTA Online is so boring and frustrating that I don't even bother with it any more. The problem is too much content and terrible trophies. Customization is boring and is not needed but is force on you. The missions are long and boring and no one shows up in matches leaving the missions undone. Once you even end up in free roam you are gun down and then will have to enter passive mode. Trophies are so stupid you will have to boost all of them. I don't boost (so goodbye platinum). It took me an hour to figure out how to even join a job or match, they want you to insure your car, who cares? invest money in a bank who cares? customize your character, car, buy a house who cares? A simple death match, or missions would had been better. Music of GTA 5 is horrible as well. GTA 5 is definitely game of the year, but that's only the main game, GTA Online is terrible.

P.S: To all you parents out there stop letting you infant kids play this game, and since no one told you this I will, your terrible parents.
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