When I first started playing this game, I was worried that it might be kind of crap. I know the reviews have generally been positive, but the idea of splitting the single player campaign into three separate characters sound like a hassle that would slow down or break apart the flow of the story. I am happy to say that my fears were unfounded. The best part of this story is that it is told from three, playable points of view.
There are three protagonists in this story: Michael, Trevor, and Franklin. Michael is a retired bank robber going through a mid life crisis. Trevor is a user and dealer of crystal meth. And Franklin is your stereotypical gang banger from the ‘hood. Through various events, they come together to form a criminal team and try to pull the biggest heists they can find.
It’s a great crime story. Each character is distinct and the ability to see an event from differing perspectives adds a lot to the narrative. But what really adds to the story is the humor and the way the game offers an R rated parody/critique of real world things like Facebook, the entertainment industry, and corruption in law enforcement. If I were to try and describe this game as if it were a movie, I would say it is a crime/heist movie with some hilarious commentary on real world events.
Gameplay is exactly what you’d expect from this franchise. While you can play from first person perspective, I prefer the default view of third person view. You run around, drive and shoot your way through missions given by a colorful cast of characters in a very large open world setting. The city this iteration of the franchise takes place in is based on Los Angeles and is filled with details and landmarks reminiscent of the real city. The controls are familiar and driving is just fine. Nothing to complain about here.
The most noteworthy aspect of the game play to me is that you can switch between characters during a heist, performing each role necessary in the heist. The general rhythm goes like this: a few missions to prepare for the heist, then the execution of the actual heist mission. During the heist mission, you play as each character based upon the job that character was assigned. For example, you will first go through a portion infiltrating or robbing the target, then you switch to the shooting character who fights law enforcement, then you swap to the getaway driver for the escape. It’s a really fun way to tackle single player heists by letting a player play all gameplay aspects of a heist, rather than locking him/her into the getaway driver, shooter, etc. In retrospect, tying the ability to switch character both narratively and gameplay-wise is just genius.
Visually, for a years old game, this game looks amazing. Especially the way the city looks after a rain. Man, that water reflection looks good.
The legendary Grand Theft Auto soundtrack returns with more familiar tracks that you’d expect to hear on the radio. Lots of familiar songs on the radio.
In regards to the voice actors, they are spectacular and do an amazing job immersing you into this world.
I’ve played some of the multiplayer and it is fun. I just haven’t played enough to really have a full opinion. It does seem a little grindy though. Racing was fun, too.
Score: 8.6/10 With regards to the single player, this game is insanely fun. That they developed such a lengthy multiplayer is just icing on the cake.