30 April, 2017

Grand Theft Auto V Review

GTA V is two games in one- A single player game with a storyline and GTA online, named so for reasons one may assume to be obvious. As such, this review will mainly focus on the online, as that is what I have mostly played, and why I purchased it. With that said, there are obvious similarities in it, and many of the things I will mention apply to both.

In Grand Theft Auto you mainly start the game small- Whether homeless or with just a small house, there is very little you can lose. And from there you begin your adventure in crime and moneymaking. With what appears to be an anarchocapitalist society filled with well-made backstory and world complete with multiple full series of cartoons, mock TV channels(Better than real TV!) and radio stations. There is an internet ingame with plenty of often humour-filled websites, along with useful ones that you will find to be genuinely interesting on their own.
In short- The worldbuilding is top quality, there is a lot of effort and attention in it and it shows that it was a great priority when it was made

In contrast, the controls are not very well thought through. Aside from the car and boat controls they are very clunky and questionable, with movement being difficult to get right and taking cover means you will stick to the wall too long when you want to get going to other cover, and you will not stick to cover when you actually want to stay in it. I've found the movement and cover to be questionable at best. Switching weapon is a massive pain and will generally not be viable unless you are not actively in combat. For airplanes and helicopters there is no joystick support at all.

Following what they did right with vehicles is the damage model for cars. As may be expected from a GTA game, the cars can be damaged, destroyed, and otherwise have their function impeded. Though it isn't massively realistic, it is good enough to give you natural damage effects such as veering to the left or right or the engine beginning to break and give less power. It is then a shame that this will almost never show up in multiplayer unless you are a terrible driver, because a thing that they clearly did not think about for the multiplayer
Namely, the balance. Everyone gets a homing rocket launcher, no matter their level. This rocket launcher will destroy most cars in one hit and blows anything flying out of the air with a little aim and luck. This means that while you can put armour on your car to protect it from bullets, your vehicle's function is more along the lines of "Has it exploded? Yes or no" than anything else. Similar for non-vehicle pvp. You will be either dead in seconds or your enemy is dead, no long firefights with players here.
Much like this, the rest of the online balance is out the window- with many things costing a large amount of money and income being generally very low even for things with several millions of input needed to set them up. If you want anything more than just a gun and a random car you can still from the street, you are going to have to actively grind for money, or play for a very long time without spending on anything.

The loading, and in general connecting to the online servers for a first time in a session(Or when switching session) takes a truly massive amount of time, though I have been told it is much less in single player, I will still say it is unreasonably long- You can go do the dishes and return in time to catch the end of the loading screen. Something I know because I've done that. I have no idea how they thought this was acceptable.

With that said, the rest of it is mostly good- Sound and looks are pretty decent, the map seems very nicely made with lots of interesting details and plenty of hidden spots. Someone seems to have thought about everything on the map

In the end, what really sells GTA isn't the pvp and fighting other people online. What is good about it is the single player, the missions, and the world. For online the one thing that is much more interesting than any of the official selling points is the fact that it is a world you can hop into with your friends and drive around together, do a few missions, or just decide to take everyone on a race, go parachuting, or even just play a round of golf. There may not be a real grouping up mechanic and there are a large amount of flaws in multiplayer, but as just a world for you and your friends to hang out in and do whatever you want to do it does incredibly well.
Worth full price? It's a rare moment when I say it is for something this expensive. But I certainly got my money worth and do not regret it. It has a fair amount of technical issues with it, but the design is great for many things and there is almost always something to do- So I would say it is.

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