Grand Theft Auto V was home to some of the greatest moments of this year in gaming, with its wonderfully vivid vistas and biting satire disguised as character development. These are the missions that helped secure its perfect score from me. *WARNING: THERE LIE SPOILERS BELOW THIS SPOILER WARNING!*
#7. Caida Libre
The Gist: Michael and Trevor are requested by Martin Madrazo (the guy who’s house Michael and Franklin yanked down a hillside earlier) to assassinate a snitching family member, who’s flying in leisure on his own private jet. Michael shoots it down with a super-sniper rfile, while Trevor chases after it cross-country, and retrieves some sensitive files aboard. Trevor take them back to Martin, while Michael destroys the van that held the rifle. When Michael finally reaches Trevor, he is remiss to discover that T. had some reservations toward the lack of payment on Madrazo’s part, and kidnapped his wife (who he later falls in love with), forcing him and Mike to lay low in the badlands for a while.
The Defining Moment: Trevor’s cross-country chase for the plane is one of the few driving set-pieces where you don’t need to rely on the GPS, as you’re chasing a huge, descending plane with loads of smoke exhausting from it; allowing you to enjoy the incredible ride down.
#6. Lamar Down
The Gist: In the midst of an internal war between Trevor and Michael, Franklin gets some upsetting news about his best bud, Lamar, being trapped by some ballas during a botched drug deal at an old mill. He calls up Lester, and has him send T. and M. to the mill, in an attempt to ambush the ballas and save Lamar.
The Defining Moment: This mission is a culmination of every combat skill you had learned prior, and they must be used wisely, as you switch between the two ground troops, and Michael in the distance with a sniper. It’s fast-paced and tactical, and requires a very fair use of the mechanics and environment. It’s great to see Mike and Trev put their differences aside to help their buddy Franklin save who is essentially the 4th main character of the game.
#5. The Paleto Score
The Gist: The end result of some tough planning and procuring, as the gang dine-n-dashes a small-town bank, full of dirty money, with a surprisingly large police presence. All so they can afford a rotary helicopter, for use in escorting a deadly nerve gas they jacked from internal affair terrorists.
The Defining Moment: Perhaps the greatest introduction to an in-game weapon since Booker Dewitt shoved an active Skyhook straight into a guard’s face; you’ll have much fun as you tear through an entire county’s police force with the awe-inspiring minigun (and then never use it again, unless you’re a cheap bastard).
The Gist: After some mishaps Trevor encountered with an inbred hillbilly colony of brothers known as the O’Neil brothers, one of them threatens vengeance. Franklin catches drift of this, and decides to track the remaining brothers down, as he waits for T. and Michael to show up via helicopter. With the aid of an infrared scope, Michael takes down a good chunk of the family, while Franklin and Chop hike it through the woods, and over rivers to snuff out the final O’Neil.
The Defining Moment: Atmosphere is king here, with the incredible lighting highlighting the mountains and trees, HD polish complimenting the glistening river, and the seemingly incredible, interminable scope of the vast, leafy wilderness, as Franklin knackers the final brother in a triumphant moment of satisfying game design.
#3. Legal Trouble
The Gist: Devin’s secretary, Molly, has taken the film Michael was producing, and was planning to destroy it on a private island of Weston’s. She is being police escorted to the airport, and M. will have no part in that. He pursues her, and she soon realizes that, as she’s driving crazily around the airport, and a swarm of police cars fly all around you trying to calm her down, proceeding to go slamming into planes, and causing other such chaos. Once on foot, Molly runs into a hangar, and gets sucked through a jet engine, leaving a martini of blood and welded bone dust. After all is said and done, turns out, unlike Scorsese before The Wolf of Wall Street, Solomon Richards didn’t make the movie on film, but rather digitally. So the whole affair was pointless, and Devin is now the main villain. Fun times.
The Defining Moment: This mission is just a whole world of awesome, with seemingly dozens of police cars exploding all around you, as you go really fast around a massive airfield. It requires finesse, as this is Michael you’re playing as, and he doesn’t have vehicular bullet-time like Franklin. Also, the whole thing is surprisingly personal, and begins a plotline that ends with the second best mission of the game…
#2. The Third Way
If you’ve made it this far, you’ve either played the game, or don’t care about spoilers. If you do happen to care, I would suggest you stop reading now, as this entry is the finale of the game. Just a heads-up reminder. Okay, on we go!
The Gist: Earlier on, during the ending cutscene of entry #6 on this list, corrupt FIB agent Steve Haines approaches Franklin with an ultimatum: eradicate Trevor, or suffer. Then, after the final heist, Devin appears at Franklin’s house, and requests that he kills Michael for him. Franklin, obviously, kicks Devin out. You’re then given 3 choices to choose from on your phone, and the one you choose is your finale: kill Trevor, kill Michael, and Deathwish. You could go ahead and pick A or B, but then you’d miss out on one of the most wholly satisfying finales in video game history: The Third Way.
Franklin heads to Lester’s, who suggests he should kill Michael and then Trevor. Franklin berates him over the suggestion, when Lester comes up with a plan to ambush both Devin’s mercenaries and the FIB, so nobody important has to die. He sends Trevor and Michael over to a mill in town, and Franklin heads over there to meet them. On his way there, he gets a call from Lamar, who hears his homie about to help someone besides himself, and decides he wants in on the action, doubling as the most heartwarming moment in the game.
Franklin arrives to see them aiming powerful rifles at each other, still squawking over some spilled milk. He manages to make them both realize the bustas they’ve been, and directs them on where to position themselves for when the rival factions come busting through, basically becoming the boss after an entire game of him having to always heed other’s instructions and suffer from their stupidity. Franklin heads outside to help Lamar fend off some baddies, while Michael loses transmission with Trevor, and is stricken with fear that something happened to him, and far cry from how they were acting a mission ago. He turns out to be fine of course, just took a K.O.
After everyone but the 4 are dead, Michael comes up with a plan to rid their loose ends and come off fresh. Trevor has to kill Steve Haines, Franklin: the Triad boss Trevor’s been feuding with, and much of the same with Michael and Franklin’s old pal, Stretch; with Devin Weston being the closing finale. Trevor infiltrates Devin’s compound and kidnaps him, driving him to the pre-designated spot in Weston’s own car. Devin pleads for his life and offers much, while Trevor humorously plays it off with his gold richness.
Once there, M., T. and F. all give Devin an American farewell as they push his car off the side of a cliff, which lands on its back, and explodes a few seconds later; an homage to the classic Grand Theft Autos of yesteryear. They all realize that they’re stuck with each other, for better or worse, and drive off in the order they were formally introduced, except for Trevor who arrived in Devin’s vehicle, who walks off-screen as the credits start to roll.
The Defining Moment: This mission closed off every single loose end in the entire game, and did it with narrative finesse. If the entire narrative was building up to this moment, I’d say it was built right. Franklin nonchalantly becomes the boss, Trevor and Michael become best buds again, and they rid Devin off in a way that can only be described as masterclass directing. The adventure continues-style ending leaves hope that Rockstar releases tons of single-player DLC for these wonderful characters, because I honestly never wanted it to end; but since it had to, I couldn’t possibly conjure up a better way to do the game justice than this.
#1. The Long Stretch
The Gist: O.G. Stretch, just got out of the slammer, and makes a visit to Lamar and Franklin. Franklin disses him with clever finesse, attacking his paradoxes of gang hierarchy, though he also sinks low with the obvious prison rape jokes. Stretch and Franklin tag along with Lamar to one of his half-baked deals to make money. Franklin is in shock and awe when he discovers the deal is being made with the guy they were trying to kidnap a few mission ago. Naturally, the gang is ambushed by ballas, prompting Stretch to execute the dude. The three of them make their way through the warehouse, and out on to the street where a helicopter full of SWAT team members, and hundreds of cops.
The Defining Moment: This was the supreme defining moment for the game itself; marking its rise from simply good to monumentally brilliant. It was also the first time I had ever ventured into the outskirts; while trying to loose the dogged police force. Destroying my car in the middle of an awkward river in the desert, and trying to escape the dozens of police officers who had long since circled me, was truly remarkable, and left a lasting impression for what is now a masterpiece. The rain glossing the ground, and the superb lighting highlighting the towering helicopter above as the gang exits the warehouse is a moment that, in all of my future years of gaming, will forever remain fresh in my mind.
Well, there you have it; the best moments of such a remarkably incredible game. Share below your favorite moments in GTA V, and for those of who have read this without having first played the campaign, you have missed out on one hell of an adventure.
My tastes in games breach all genres, though my fortes are platformers and first-person shooters. My favorite game series is probably Super Mario, specifically the 3D games. I also love Rayman, Hitman, Bioshock, Half-Life/Portal, Uncharted, and Grand Theft Auto. As for my favorite game, it's hard to say: I love Portal 2, Shadow of the Colossus, Half-Life 2, Bioshock, Resident Evil 4, Super Mario Galaxy 2, Rayman Legends, Hitman 2: Silent Assassin, Grand Theft Auto IV, L.A. Noire, Fallout 3, Journey, and Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence all so damn much.
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