Top critical review
45 people found this helpful
I really tried to like this game... I really did. 40 hours later... Ugh.
on September 20, 2013
I was excited. I had never played a GTA game before, and my local Red Box had one left! (I could try it out, and most likely buy it!) I played it for over forty hours (in two-ish days) because I kept thinking, "This is going to get better, right?" I finally just threw my hands up in the air and returned it.
I mean, it is 2013 and I expect more.
Some background: Red Dead Redemption is one of my favorite games of all time - along with Ni No Kuni, Skyrim, Dishonored, La Noire... etc. So, this is a review coming from someone new to the GTA franchise. That said, I am not a casual gamer - when I get a game, I binge-play it until the main story line is complete.
+Some of the details are really cool. I liked how I could mainly find certain cars driving around in certain areas. For example, if I was ever out in Trevor's part of the map, the only cars available were crap.
+In most games that allow me a choice between being a good/bad person, the game is rigged so that my life in the game is easier (e.g. Dishonored, Dante's Inferno) if I choose the good path. GTA 5 is not like that (with some caveats - see "The Bad"). There was one mission I had to redo because I jacked the car up due to being chased by police (the guy I stole it from reported the vehicle stolen). When I was reanimated (haha), I chose to shoot the guy I stole the car from to see if it was a necessary part of the script that the police would be called (I mean, he could have called the police while I was chasing him). Lo and behold - I was not chased by the police and delivered the car without a scratch - to get ripped off again by the people I was doing this for. Sigh.
+I could buy stocks. My missions affected values of stocks.
+Michael, Trevor's, and Frank[lin]'s special abilities are neat.
+If I was super cheap (well, technically I am), and wanted to buy a game just so that it would take up a lot of time, this game could indeed take up a lot of time. I mean, if this game was safe for kids, a parent could just buy a GTA and keep that kid occupied for a year.
+Plane controls are decent, which brings me to...
+I still have nightmares about the helicopter controls. It is OBSCENELY difficult to get anything done (pick something up with a hook, and land in a target spot). It is not fun. Flight school in the game is work - unsatisfying work. Skydiving, and landing on a particular target is also a [bleep].
+There were some missions that took me back to the pointless missions in Mafia II (e.g. Mafia II: SLOWLY handing out illegal cigarettes out of the back of a truck). In GTA, there a some missions in which it is required to drive a slow vehicle (e.g. a semi, old truck). This is okay for a few missions. Fifteen missions of this makes me go crazy - ESPECIALLY if one of these later missions involves driving six miles in one (six miles in GTA is long time in a slow vehicle). It made me feel like these missions were to just take up time and make the main game longer.
+I want to kill all of the characters. They are annoying. I felt rage. The only character I kind of liked was Trevor, but he could have been so much more. Michael has a ridiculously annoying family. Franklin has a ridiculous aunt, and a ridiculous friend. The random people I encountered in missions were annoying. I know, I know - they are all supposed to be spoofs and tropes of character stereotypes - but this was just chalkboard scratching. I never even went to Michael's therapist because he annoyed me in the cut scene in the beginning. Maybe because I am female, but it really did annoy me how all of the female characters are portrayed. This is kind of forgivable because most of the male characters are stupid as well.
+When driving I could switch between radio stations. However, this feature soon loses its luster because I am jacking cars all of the time with different pre-set radio stations. Also, unless it is part of a mission, buying and/or changing clothing is kind of a waste of time. Every time I switched to another playable character, and then switched back, the character would be wearing one of the stock outfits. This especially annoyed me with Trevor.
+I started to skip through cut scenes later on as soon as I realized that cut scene was not that important because of the s[bleep] dialogue. It is annoying to listen to. Then I learned that could even skip "important" cut scenes without losing story details because the characters would chat about it in game.
+There aren't enough cool random event missions. I don't care about a blonde lady's purse getting stolen or a chef's money getting jacked. If I could, I would take everyone (WHY AM I NOT ALLOWED TO KIDNAP PEOPLE?) to the Altruist cult (the Altruist cult - one of the glimmers in this game).
+There aren't enough cool cars.
+There is a lot of detail in the city, and for how everything looks. But, barely anything is playable. I have a huge house, but pretty much the only thing I can do in it is sleep and change clothes? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?
+The story line is atrocious. When I quit, I had played a little over half of the main story line. The main characters get ripped off in a good percentage of the heists, so I felt trolled. The story is predictable. I confirmed this when I looked up the ending[s] on line. I want to feel some type of attachment and emotional triggers in the story line - I did not get any of that.
+Even though I could buy stocks and property, it felt pointless to me after the first two or three times. I didn't have anywhere I wanted to use that money. In Yakuza 4, there were mini-games for certain businesses (e.g. the Hostess club).
+One time, a bit early on in the game, I spent 100k on a car. I took it to my garage, and realized there was not room. There was a car in there I did not care about. I parked the 100k+ car in one part of the driveway as I backed out the other car, there was one second in which the view went away from my 100k+ car... it was gone.
All in all, I actually ended up HATING this game. I have given it three-stars because it has "good bones". It is a pimped out shell of a game (in the same way that the Phantom Menace is a pimped out shell of movie, if that makes any sense).
I love games with a good story so that I am motivated to continue the game. If the story is not epic, it should at least have fun game play and side missions. I can spend hours wasting time roaming around Skyrim, discovering new caves, cooking, upgrading weapons and armor, and scavenging. I can spend hours grinding in Ni No Kuni, having fun doing side missions. Red Dead allowed me to walk into a saloon, play poker, lose in poker, and then tie up the guy who won, ride him on my horse to the train tracks, so that he would die, and I could take all of the money. There is nothing cool like that in GTA.
I didn't have fun playing GTA V. It just felt like a Twilight Zone world where everyone is annoying, and I can't sit down on my couch or open 99.999% of the doors. The game had some good moments - but I already experienced those moments in better form in Red Dead and The Saboteur - a game that wasn't even finished, but still blows GTA when it comes to story and simple, necessary features - like being able to climb.
I shouldn't have to compare GTA V to games that came out three and four years ago, and say, "Oh, sacrifice a bit of graphics and play a more worthwhile game."
This review isn't going to change the mind of someone who loves the GTA franchise. However, for anyone who is on the fence, and who really cares about a game's story, or has a similar "gaming merit" philosophy - this game is probably not for you.