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Published September 30, 2013

Grand Theft Auto 5 exceeds its already high expectations

Grand Theft Auto is a widely recognized and infamous video game series. Each new game in the series has to overshadow its predecessor. Some felt that Grant Theft Auto 4 was repetitive, and are hoping that the series’ fifth installment will bring back the luster of the franchise. Those with this opinion can be assured that Grand Theft Auto 5 impresses on all fronts, and is grandiose in every possible way.

Everything about the game is huge. With a rumored $137.5 million dollar production cost, it’s the most expensive video game in history. And despite it being released just under two weeks ago, has already earned developer Rockstar Games $1 billion dollars.

It even has an eight gigabyte install prior to playing the game. I played the game on Playstation 3, but Xbox users, make sure your Xbox has at least 8 gigs before buying the game.

The Grand Theft Auto series is nothing short of legendary in terms of influence in the history of video games, but Grand Theft Auto 5 is a masterpiece in many ways. In my opinion, what stands out the most is the narrative. Most open world games rely on fun gameplay as a distraction, or as the main draw, resulting in a thin plot. But GTA 5 doesn’t disappoint in any category.

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It’s enticing in every conceivable way, but the constantly changing and intriguing narrative is what drew me in. The way everything flows together is seriously impressive. The Plot is well written with some interesting and unexpected turns. Character interactions are entertaining and realistic, and often quite funny.

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Characters are also well developed. As the player, you get to know them. You see them bond with other characters, while also seeing their disdain and annoyance of others. While at the same time, the game makes you understand the characters, and does an admirable job of showing you how they feel. I genuinely identified with them, in a way that mediums like books and film are usually known for doing. Some games, like the Last of Us, have done a great job of eliciting this type of emotion, but in some instances, GTA 5 does it better.

While the game satirizes so much, it interjects with instances of spontaneous sincerity, intentionally juxtaposing the two opposite emotions.

For instance, early on in the game, Michael’s son irritates him with his incessant trouble making and lack of ambition. So Michael takes him on a bike ride. During the ride, a rather heart felt, honest discussion occurs where Michael’s son, Jimmy, vents his frustration with his father’s lack of interest and obsession with materialism. However, this is immediately followed with the reveal of Michael’s daughter being in danger of being filmed on a porn set.

This jump from different viewpoints does a great job of making the player truly empathize, while still keeping the spirit of comedy the GTA franchise is known for.

Whether you’re experiencing turbulence while smuggling drugs in your plane , or in a submarine admiring the ocean floor, the level of detail put into this project is breathtaking.

Each vehicle has a different feel and handles differently, deer and coyote jump in front of your car in colorful, eclectic environments. And it has the best water effects I’ve seen since Viking: the Battle for Asgard.

Side missions don’t feel tacked on as mere filler for entertainment; they earn you useful rewards, and are genuinely interesting and fun. The game also boasts some truly awe-inspiring set pieces that could compete with big Hollywood action films, the likes of which rival that of the Uncharted series. Great examples of this are the heists.

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You stake out the locations, and choose how the heist will play out, selecting crew members, whether to go in loud or stealthy, etc. Some other missions may be required to prepare for the heist, such as resource acquisition (weapons, distraction tools, alarm disarming, etc.). Heists are fun and exciting, and arguably one of the best parts of the game. This game is, overall, very cinematic in scope.

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I didn’t join the Grand Theft Auto 5 hype train prior to its release. I was skeptical. But Rockstar Games has truly outdone themselves.

Grand Theft Auto 5 holds a mirror up to society, ridiculing our nation’s pop culture such as politics, Facebook, reality TV, yoga, hipsters and so much more, resulting an experience that gets you lost in a fantastic story, while keeping you addicted because of your genuine desire to see what’s going to happen with each character.

It is quite difficult to find flaws in this game. I didn’t think I’d ever be comfortable giving a game a perfect score, but I feel I can safely give this game a 10/10.

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I would like to thank Virginia, Josh, Gerod, and the staff of the Gamestop on New Bern Ave. in Raleigh, NC, for their contributions to this article.

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  • Grant

    Grant

  • A proud Raleigh native, I write about anything and everything. All my articles.

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