It’s been a week since the release of the juggernaut that is Grand Theft Auto V, and some of our readers may be wondering where is our review? Be assured that it will be coming, as it is a large game to get through and unfortunately, we don’t get games prior to release to have reviews ready on the day of launch. So, hope you will check back with us. Some initial thoughts here to tide you over until then.
GTA V is one of the most expensive videogames to date, being said to cost around $266 million (US) to make. It has set sales records, earning $800 million (US) within its first 24 hours of release and taking in $1 billion in the first three days. These astounding numbers have made GTA V the fastest selling bit of entertainment in history.
The game’s open world is the series largest to date, covering the city of Los Santos and its surrounding communities. There are forests, mountains, and waterways to explore, even allowing underwater exploration for the first time in the franchise. The solo experience is made up of 259 total missions, with 69 of these being for the main story, meaning the bulk of the game is made up of side missions, activities, and random events, giving players a great amount of freedom in how they approach the game. Some could conceivably get lost for days without ever really scratching the surface of the main story line.
The game features three playable characters – Michael, a retired thief who’s gone into witness protection, Franklin, a young hoodlum trying to work his way up in the world and out of the ‘hood, and Trevor, a drug and illegal arms dealer who also serves as the game’s “wild card” (he is a basic sociopath, after all). The three work together and apart on missions, and can be switched to easily by a press of a button.
So far in my time with the game, this switching mechanic is easily one of the best new innovations to the series. What makes it even nicer is that the characters continue on with their daily business when you’re away from them, meaning you won’t just find them standing around when you switch back to them.
Graphically, the game is beautiful looking, though due to being such a large open world, it does have some noticeable pop-in of textures and some character models don’t look as good as others. It has some issues which will bother some, but many fans will brush them aside in their joy at diving into Los Santos and its surrounding environs.
I won’t go into all of the details here (we’ll leave that for the review), but my initial reaction to the game is less than favorable compared to many other reviewers on other sites (I understand my view is not shared by everyone on this site either), but I still feel it’s a solid game and well worth your time, whether you rent or buy, as there is plenty of bang for your buck here.
One note in regards to other reviews on the game: Sadly, some rabid fans of the game have unleashed an unwarranted amount of vitriol on reviewers who had the temerity to rate the game anything less than a perfect score. No game is perfect (for us here on this site, a 10 means the game is a masterpiece, not perfect- it may have some minor flaws that don’t impact the overall experience), but no reviewer should receive the amount of hate or be called upon to be fired for stating their views on this game. I don’t care how popular it is, or how much it sells, reviewers by nature have the right to call out games for what they perceive to be wrongs as well as praise it for what it does right.
Fanboys are not good for any community, as people should realize everyone does not have the same likes or dislikes. With a game like GTA, which is already a lightning rod for those outside of the gaming community to hold up as something to blame for real world violence, these “fans” only served to fuel the notion that games like this create violent people. We, as gamers, know this not to be true, as study after study has shown no causal link between violent games and real-world violence (but that’s an article for another day). But it didn’t offer a view of gamers at their best, and we as gamers need to do better.
For now, that’s it. For those playing, I hope you’re enjoying your time with the game. For those who are wondering if they should dive in, even if they’ve never touched the series before, I’d say give it a shot. Stay tuned for our review (maybe more than one?) for what is arguably 2013’s biggest game in terms of content and sales.
GOTY? Not making that call as of yet, though I’m sure many have it on the top of their lists. Stay tuned and see what we thought as a whole. Until then, happy gaming and thanks for reading!
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