Taking their tried and true formula and supercharging it with enhanced graphics, gameplay and a complete revamp of the series’ core single player / character theme, GTA V is a bona-fide mega-triumph. Whether you’re hijacking airplanes, base-jumping, doing bank heists or simply jet-skiing around the beach, this game is truly a treat. Simply put, there’s so much to do that it’s pretty much impossible to take it all in, even if you’re used to 30-45 hour open-world RPG sessions and are quite adept at exploration and adventuring. This is the type of game that you can literally get lost in, perhaps being able to sink as many as 75-100 hours into without batting an eye.
GTA V (while decidedly open-ended and incredibly freeing) tells the story 3 characters, Michael, Trevor and Franklin. Their paths intertwine and they go about the task of deciding to pull off a major string of bank heists around the city in an effort to put themselves on easy street, permanently. While the missions are extremely varied and altogether well thought-out (and exploration is simply marvelous) it is these bank jobs which serve as bookends or highlights for the plot itself.
However, the most obviously stunning thing about GTA V is its graphics, which are nothing short of incredible. In truth, many gamers are probably going to do quite a few double-takes, hardly being able to believe that their Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3 was even capable of producing such elegant visuals. One cannot easily convey just how large this map is either; it’s big enough that when you are out roaming the countryside you literally feel like you’re out in the wilderness, miles and miles away from the bustling city. The fact that developer Rockstar North was able to bring such an incredible level of depth, size and detail to the game speaks volumes about their abilities.
Of course there’s plenty to do outside of your typical criminal activities as well. For instance, you can take part in a barrage of street / water-based races, go diving, fly planes, base jump, as well as engage in a host of other activities, each one fairly interesting. The entire city of Los Santos just feels really “alive”, as if there’s always something new or weird happening, which makes for a perfect video game environment.
Naturally, the incredibly popular multiplayer element has returned once again in GTA V, which allows up to 16 players to run amok in the city, blasting each other to bits. Grand Theft Auto Online also allows players to take on bank heists in a cooperative fashion as well, which is a nice touch and certainly welcome after hours of being relegated to death matches.
So, is GTA V a hit or a miss? Simply put, this game is an enormous hit…no, that’s not a good enough description – it’s a mega-mammoth jumbo hit, to be precise. Without a doubt this is the most stunning entry into the series as well, the sort of game that definitely deserves to be called a masterpiece.