I’ve been playing Grand Theft Auto since the first one, back in 1997. While I wasn’t a fan of GTA4, I wanted to give GTA5 a chance to see if it had dropped the dour depression of the fourth game.
While the gameplay has improved dramatically from number four, and the characters are much better than gritty Niko Bellic, I still didn’t like the main characters in GTA5.
We have a choice of three characters in the game:
- Michael – A whiny cry-baby, who lives in a mansion and complains constantly;
- Franklin – CJ from San Andreas. I played through San Andreas three times, it was one of my favourite games at the time. Franklin is just a photocopy of CJ. When they went to CJ’s house in the game, I was expecting the space-time continuum to collapse;
- Trevor – A psychopath, who is a lot of fun to play for a while, but by the end gets a little grating.
My main problem with the three protagonists is the sheer amount of arguments. It’s as if the writers read that drama was about conflict, and thought conflict was a synonym for arguing like children. Trevor and Michael argue constantly, every time they’re together. Then Franklin gets in on the action by the end. It’s very tiring by the finale.
That’s the downside of the game, but there are a lot of upsides. The heists are great fun, the world is huge and responsive, and unlike GTA4, it only crashed once in 33 hours.
I didn’t bother to buy the properties around the map, but I did go to every random encounter I could find and they were always enjoyable. I also did most of the side missions, other than the characters I couldn’t stand. All of them were well scripted and rewarding.
There are also far more checkpoints than in previous games. The only mission I had any problems with was the final one, which has a ten minute drive and no checkpoints on the way. Bikers decided to shoot at me at the very end of the drive and I had to start all over again.
There are also lots of side activities to do. Some are repeats of previous games, but some were new and fun.
Overall, GTA5 is a step back in the right direction. If GTA6 veers even closer to the direction Saints Row has been going, it will be lots of fun. I give GTA5 4/5 stars, meaning that I really liked it.
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