Given the pedigree and virtually brutish levels of hype surrounding Grand Theft Auto V, it will have been a shock if this wasn’t the 5-star humdinger that you simply expected. However here we are: Grand Theft Auto V is the top of open-world video game design and a colossal feat of technical engineering. It takes a template laid down by its predecessors and expands upon it, improving on and streamlining some of its rougher aspects. It doesn’t escape of that template and might be brash, nasty and nihilistic. However for all its more unsavoury features, this is a game built with expert mechanical experience and creative artistry.
And money. Plenty of it. If the reported price of £170m is to be taken at face value, GTA V is the costliest video game ever assembled. If nothing else, that lavishness seeps from every pore of Los Santos, Rockstar’s twisted facsimile of Los Angeles and the grand stage for our crime caper. It’s a virtual world of such super scale and advantageous detail that it continues to baffle how the builders have managed to squeeze all of it onto present generation hardware.
The urban sprawl of town itself is a tangle of roads and definable districts; Strawberry is an space of limited social mobility, characterised by boarded-up shops, tatty slat-board houses and gangland graffiti. Downtown is a cluster of high-reaching skyscrapers, the city’s homeless shuffling alongsideside office yuppies. Rockford Hills houses the town’s wealthiest, lavish mansions sitting alongside expensive hotels, tennis courts and golf clubs (both with playable sports, they’re good too). Vespucci Beach is a hive of swim-suited pin-ups and party boats. Vinewood is the neon-splashed refuge of film-star wannabes
Journey north and the city disperses into countryside, reach Blaine County and you discover a brushland littered with trailer parks and filthy hick bars underneath the shadow of the County’s mountain range.
It is enormous. And while the broad strokes of gta 6 android V’s map are spectacular sufficient, the finer details are lavished with the same care. Boxes piled carelessly in a player’s safe-house. The crude sign for a chinese restaurant daubed on sheet metal fencing. The night sun dappling an orange sheen throughout the panorama as it glints over the Los Santos highways. Hell, I was even impressed that my character’s flip-flops truly flip-flopped. There isn’t a expense spared on any inch of its colossal mass.
To put it one other means, Los Santos appears like a city that folks live in, relatively than a digital playground constructed on your enjoyment. The danger of this approach is that real cities may not be as a lot enjoyable as a bespoke urban-Americana theme park, but Rockstar make it work. My admiration for video game designers is aware of no bounds, but it befuddles as to how a mass of land as large as Los Santos is so tightly crafted and densely interactive. There’s a pure openness, diversity and cogency to the design of the map that makes it a pleasure to explore. And it’s a place in which the game’s missions can slot into in a method that leads to emergent and sudden thrills.
I’m in Downtown, and after stealing some valuable weaponry for a jewelry store heist from a moving van, I discover myself beneath the attention of local constabulary. Sirens blaring behind me, I gun my automotive by means of the latticework roads before finding a freeway. Thundering into oncoming traffic, automobiles scatter and smash into the partition. It’s not lengthy before I’m in countryside. I slide off the freeway into the brushland, sweeping spherical dusty trails and leaping over grass hills. Losing sight of the cops, I dump my vehicle behind a bar, stroll into a discount store, change my clothes and find one other car. I’m miles away from the place the chase began, in a totally completely different space, purely because of the pure course of my actions. Now I’m out within the sticks, free of the legislation and with a scenic journey back to the city ahead.
Such a state of affairs is enabled by just a few things. The map design is one, with broad roads that let you weave through its dense traffic and a cogency meaning the expanse of land feels related from top to bottom.
Secondly, Rockstar has tweaked how the police hunt you. Now you can play a game of hide and seek from the very beginning, nipping out of sight down an alleyway or below a bridge and watch police automobiles prowl by. Or you’ll be able to go hell for leather and attempt to lose them in a high-pace, harmful chase. Your choice.
Thirdly, the automotive dealing with in V is much sharper than the heaviness of IV. It retains just enough of IV’s weight and hyperactivity to make crashes really feel consequential and handbrake turns tricky to regulate, however is tightened up sufficient to make driving more instantly gratifying. IV’s dealing with was great but took some work to master, V’s dealing with is best and easy to pick up. This extends to sea-based vehicles and flying aircraft.
The driving is one part of GTA V’s technical improvement over its predecessor. But before we delve an excessive amount of further into general mechanics, let’s discuss V’s most disruptive change. Instead of the traditional focus on one character, GTA V has you taking part in as three separate crooks. It’s a change that seems so primary on paper, however in apply is a revelation, making Los Santos’s large expanse more negotiable as you freely swap between each character, adding spice to missions and permitting for a more layered narrative.
Let’s meet the boys. Michael has been described by Rockstar as “the GTA character who received”; a retired thief that has discovered his approach into witness protection while keeping the stash of money he appropriated over the years. He lives a quiet, boring life in a huge mansion in Rockford Hills with his spouse and children. He hates it.