Thursday, September 12, 2013

Grand Theft Auto V: The Five Reasons Why We're Beyond Ready

It's been four years coming now, and Grand Theft Auto V is less than a week away from launching. The marketing blitz has begun, and our hype is at an all time high, probably like many of our readers out there. Grand Theft Auto V is one of the most expensive games ever made, and with all of the trailers, screens, and interviews posted, we can understand why. We've compiled a short list of the five (or V) main reasons (there's plenty more small ones) of why we're more than ready to insert a copy of Grand Theft Auto V into our PlayStation 3's and Xbox 360's. After you've read over our reasons, why not write up some of your own in the comments section?

- Three protagonists, three perspectives

For the first time in Grand Theft Auto series history, players will have three unique characters to play as through the story mode-- Michael, Trevor and Franklin. These characters can be freely switched between. A character's portrait will begin flashing red if they become in danger, while a flashing white character portrait will indicate that the character is in a tactically sound location.

In addition to this, each character can learn and upgrade one of eight skills. Regular play through the story mode means these skills will increase in usefulness as the game goes on normally. Each character also possesses his own special skill, such as Michael's ability to enter bullet time mode in a gunfight, Trevor's halved damage taken and double damage dished out, and Franklin's ability to slow down time while driving, making dangerous turns with traffic all the safer.

What we're looking forward most to with regard to this three protagonist system is how each criminal characters' story will intertwine with the others. This will make for an interwoven tale that is sure to be exciting and interesting. Given Rockstar's terrific ability to come up with a compelling script, we're pretty confident that Grand Theft Auto V's addition of three main characters will not disappoint us.

- Insanely large map

One of the first things that popped into our minds when details of Grand Theft Auto V emerged was "what is the map like? What is the map like?" A great or poor open world setting can make a game sink or swim. It can be the difference between an interesting world with plenty of things to see and do, and a boring world that is no fun at all to traverse.

The map for Los Santos and surrounding areas of Grand Theft Auto V has been revealed, and it's absolutely massive. It makes the already expansive map of the original GTA: San Andreas look like a community park in comparison. According to the developers, GTA V's map is gigantic enough that it can fit the game worlds of GTA: San Andreas, Grand Theft Auto IV, and Red Dead Redemption combined inside its boundaries.

The thing that excites us most is that we know that Rockstar are masters at creating maps that are a blast to explore. There will be no question that Grand Theft Auto V's world won't just be large, but it will be dense with activities to do, unique landmarks and buildings to see, and real estate to cover. We can just imagine driving down a desert highway in a convertible with the sun setting in the west, making our way from Los Santos to Blaine County.

- Grand Theft Auto Online

While this portion of Grand Theft Auto V will not be available until October 1, Grand Theft Auto Online has Rockstar promising continued support throughout its lifespan. But, what is Grand Theft Auto Online? Obviously the online part of the title divulges some information there. This significant piece of Grand Theft Auto V will allow up to sixteen individuals to explore the world, participating in things like races (which the player can create their own racing paths for), an "innocent" round of golf, and commit crimes in the form of a bank heist, for example.

Meanwhile, there are plenty of competitive offerings available for online players. By teaming up with others and forming groups called "crews", players can take on other crews in deathmatches. The points earned in these matches will make said crews go up on the online leaderboards.

It's absolutely fascinating that for sixty dollars we're getting two unique experiences-- a full fledged campaign and an online component that will look like it will easily blow GTA IV's efforts out of the proverbial water.

- Fixing issues that Grand Theft Auto IV faced

Grand Theft Auto IV was a good game, but we believe it does not deserve to be anywhere near the top of the list of best games of all time, such as it is seen on Metacritic (which shouldn't be given as much weight as it is, but that's a subject for another day). It had a fair amount of problems that hindered our enjoyment of the game.

One such issue was the feel of each car driven in the game. The controls felt way too heavy and didn't lend themselves well to the gameplay. Getting around Liberty City, albeit how small it is in comparison to GTA V's world, was an annoyance because of this. Even the developers admitted the controls felt almost boat-like in their heaviness. GTA V fixes this, creating controls and a feel for each vehicle that gives each ride a more arcade racer-esque feel to them.

Another important fix comes with gunfights. Instead of being forced into standing still when firing any weapon, players can now blindly shoot from the hip. Weapon accuracy understandably goes south when you do this, but it's lovely to have this option. That's not all for the changes to the gunplay. GTA IV's hard locked aiming has been totally removed. This is great news, as the shooting in GTA IV made it so there was little in the way of skill required. You didn't have to put forth much effort into finding your targets, as the game would basically do it for you.

These changes are most certainly welcomed ones that have us eagerly anticipating trying them out for ourselves.

- Colossal customization

Customization is something that is very important to us in our open-world games. We love piddling around and fixing our characters to our every possible whim. Grand Theft Auto V goes beyond character customization (which is still present) by offering upgrade-able weaponry and cars. Every girl loves a sharp dressed man, and with the amount of clothing options in GTA V, you'll be able to dress as much of a player or a hater as you'd like.

With the weaponry, ammunition returns, but that's not the only thing different in this installment of Grand Theft Auto. Now you can add attachments to your guns, such as ones that increase the amount of ammo you can carry per clip, ones that increase accuracy by giving you better grips, and even aesthetic alterations for scopes and suppressors.

Going even crazier with the amount of customization, the developers have included over 1,000 custom modifications available for cars. These include brakes, body kits, paint jobs, horns, tires, armor, and much more. Custom cars can be uploaded to Rockstar's Social Club so players can share their creations with the public at large.

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