[As Read on GIO.]
[Titled: Grand Theft Auto V: First Impressions]
Aka “The Non-Review before my Review”
What can I say? Rather, what can I say that you most likely don’t already know by now thanks to the wonders of the Interwebs and your friends around you? I’ve had my copy of the newly released Rockstar GTA V since midnight last night, but due to work today- yes, work of all things, I’ve only managed to put in about three and a half hours into the game. During this time, I’ve all but avoided the majority of the story that I could, and instead set out to venture through the expansive world surrounding Michael and Crew. It’s quite impressive, I’ll tell you that.
But that isn’t so much the point of this blog as is talking about a few points such as things that will later make up my review in a week or so when I see fit to format it and begin in earnest. I guess you could almost call this my pre-assessment of sorts in that matter. I’m not really able to critique the game too much with such a short amount of time into what should easily be a several hundred hour experience, but I have picked up on a few things. If things keep up how they are thus far, I’m definitely thinking the game deserves no less than a 9.5 review score, but that’s beside the point right now. Instead, I’ll go ahead and talk about some of the neat things I’ve noticed and some of the not-so neat things that might not work as well as they ought to. It won’t be in any particular order, instead, merely in the way I think as it comes. You ready?
1. The cultural stirfry pot that is Los Santos and the surrounding world is quite impressive from what I’ve seen thus far- crazy, colorful, and eclectic as well as believable and dark. +1
2. The characters- Michael, Franklin, and Trevor might have ordinary names, but they are most definitely extraordinary and believably insane in their separate ways. +1
3. Trevor is hilarious, literally insane, and quite fun to mess around with, and to mess around as- considering you can switch players at whim in the vast majority of confrontations and scenarios. +1
4. The fact that there is a story behind the whole “one last job” theme straight from Breaking Bad, and that these three unsavory sorts somehow work out an alliance is phenomenal to behold. +1
5. The dialogue, whether it be from NPCs or interactive mission-oriented character NPCs, or even between the three main characters, is believable, often witty, and generally hilarious and sadistic. +1
6. The scavenger and “find this, find that” missions may be as tedious as every other open world games’, but at least they’re usually exciting, and so far I haven’t grown so tired of them with only under four hours in. -0.5
7. The realism between planning and carrying out heists goes well beyond that of the Three Leaf Clover mission in GTA IV, and is not only completely interactive, but engrossing in terms of story and chaotic fun as well. Or maybe I’m just as crazy as Michael and the gang… +1
8. Grand Theft Auto has since evolved from only stealing and getting away in cars- as we noticed in GTA III and IV. Now it’s into truly full-blown heists and robberies, not just Nico’s petty assassination contracts and jewelry store robberies. The scale- in everything from the story to world, is encouraging and amazing to behold. +1
9. Hiring others to help/do (in) your dirty work can be both beneficial and detrimental, depending on their levels of experience and how much you’re willing to give up of the cut. This might be truly realistic, and an excellent gameplay point- adding some more strategy to planning, but it can also be tedious and annoying at times, such is the double edged sword. +/- 0.0
10. Swapping characters can be a godsend and it always keep you in the thick of things, never once giving you the chance to let up on the octane or action. Sure, you aren’t usually forced to change, but when the flashing icon appears- you should give it a thought, no matter how much you like the character you’re playing as, because it’s bound to shed some light on an increasingly interesting situation… +1
11. Checkpoints. Need I say much more? This was one of the biggest flaws in GTA IV, and thankfully has been rendered almost completely benign as mistakes go. GTA V’s checkpoint system is- first of all, actually existent, and you can save your forward motion through levels as well. Awesome news folks. +1
12. Side missions and activities are the most varied and interesting things I’ve seen in a Rockstar game, and in any open-world adventure title to date, in my opinion. I mean, you could literally do just about anything you want. Play golf, play tennis, go for a swim, hunt, hike- you name it. And, not to mention, the three playable characters each have their own variety of side mission activities to bring in a little more story as well, as opposed to solely extraneous activities such as the above mentioned ones. +1
13. As excellent as the story is, and as gripping as it seems, there are the occasional moments where something just doesn’t add up, or a character we thought would swing one way went a completely different direction. Now, this could be all well and done if things change later in the story or are better explained, but I don’t see how it would change much now that the cat is out of the bag… Oh well, no game is perfect. -1
14. The game’s every facet screams well-rounded and everyman, so I for one, love the set-up we’ve been given the keys to. And you should too. +1
15. Cars and other vehicles handle much better than before, and you’ll be able to see the realistic damage, instead of waiting for your helicopter blade to fall off like in GTA IV, and then falling to your doom. +1
16. Gunplay has several options that I’ve noticed- giving you the choice between a hybrid of GTA, LA Noire, and Max Payne 3 for one, the classic GTA control scheme for another, and yet a third giving you the choice to bastardize things as you want essentially. It works pretty well for most players, even if you stick to the defaults. Just watch out for massive quantities of enemies coming in, as it’s hard to keep up at times. +0.75
17. Ultimately, as an overall experience thus far, I’m mostly impressed. I’d definitely say it’s right up there with GTA IV, and certainly looks and handles better. Only time will tell if it is actually a better game or not, but the odds sure are in V’s favor, so we shall see… +0.75
Well, if you were curious as t what that little points thing was I had going on throughout the blog, you’re about to find out, and be in for a rare treat. I gave each pro/con a maximum of a +1 and -1 point(s) respectively, and only gave out a few that were either +/- or less than a 1 either way. So let’s see how I think GTA V is shaping up thus far, shall we?
[Points Earned/Points Total]
[Now in Percentages]
Roughly Equates to a 75% Approval Rating
So, that’s pretty good I’d say. And a perfect place to end today’s little ditty as well. Until tomorrow folks, I shall bid you farewell.