Grand Theft Auto V is worthy of its success
Grand Theft Auto V (Rockstar Games; PS3, Xbox 360; rated mature)
Before I even had a chance to play this game it was already a blockbuster, generating $1 billion in sales in its first three days according to its publisher, the fastest entertainment property to gross so much, it was claimed. Grand Theft Auto V is worthy of its success.
GTA V is as sprawling, dark, and energetic as the city Los Santos is based on. In the Grand Theft Auto universe, Los Santos is analogous to Los Angeles in the same way Liberty City is to New York. The game’s satire is deeply rooted in these cities. Through the characters who inhabit them, the GTA series deconstructs and dissects the myth of the American dream.
In GTA IV, it was Niko Bellic’s dangerous immigrant. With GTA V, you play as three different characters—Franklin, Michael, and Trevor—each a criminal in pursuit of his own sort of success.
The big new thing here is that you can alternate between the three characters almost at will. They each have a special ability, so you can use Franklin on driving missions and Trevor when you need to do some extra damage. Even while roaming the environment—this is the biggest world of any GTA game and is fully available at the beginning—you can switch. The game’s artificial intelligence takes control of the other two characters, so when you drop into Michael you could find him in the middle of a tennis match or arguing with his kids.
The more complex narrative—Rockstar is a singular storyteller—is supplemented with new combat and driving systems that make GTA V altogether more fun and responsive. You still have to endure the endless mission list in order to progress through the story.
But the number of activities you can do in Los Santos and Blaine County is astounding. You can customize characters, weapons, and vehicles. You can fly planes, play the stock market, and lobby for the legalization of marijuana. GTA V is the most comprehensive and expansive open-world game yet. No wonder it’s setting sales records.