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Videogame Reviews GTAV logo

Published on September 20th, 2013 | by Michaela Buckley


Grand Theft Auto V

1.57 million copies sold. On the first day of release. In the UK only. There aren’t words to describe the popularity of GTA, only numbers.

What can I say that hasn’t already been said by others? What’s there to talk about when everyone is out there playing it right now? Well for a start I am probably one of the only gamers in the world that spends such vast amounts of time on the medium with nigh zero experience with the Grand Theft Auto franchise.

Like previous installments GTA V is an open world mission-based game, with a fairly linear storyline weaved throughout. The main characters are typically involved with crime and usually start out as a petty criminal working your way up the hierarchy to become a notorious gangster, this one however features three protagonists, each with their own special trait which comes in handy during gameplay.

The game starts off showing Michael during his last heist before he retired, he has a family and effectively settles down before he meets a young bloke called Franklin who is from the ghetto and wants to go legit. The third character is Trevor who was with Michael during the final heist that allegedly claims his life.
Once the story progresses and each character becomes playable, you are able to switch between them, with some of the missions being exclusive to certain characters.

The game is set in Los Santos and is much larger than any previous GTA, it’s set in the modern era, unlike other GTAs and the world is based on Los Angeles, sunny, with lots of varying areas, like rich houses, valleys, desert-like vistas and ghettos.

GTAV SharkThe main new attraction to the game is pulling off heists. They can be executed in different ways and you are able to choose how you want to approach it. After that you then pick what people you want to take part, basing your choices on their skills and how much cut they want to take, which is proportional. After every heist the characters the come back from it will gain experience and become better but will never take a bigger cut, however if you take people who aren’t good enough they can be killed or worse, ruin your heist.
It’s all about weighing up your options.

After you’re finished planning the heist, you then have to get started on it by first collecting the materials you’re going to need to pull it off. After that, you are then briefed and do the heist how you planned it.  There’s a certain amount of your choosing, some amount in your skill while actually doing the heist and lastly there is an element of luck.
After you do the heist, the successful winnings are divided between the crooks.

There’s not much to say about this game.  There’s so many miles of road, city-block and dust valleys. There’s so many characters, cars, clothes, guns and even properties. But it’s all the same as the little I played of GTA Vice City, except instead of coming back to the reassuring modern era after lampooning the 80’s, I’ve no place to turn when GTA rips into the social media and violent videogames like itself. It has nothing to replace everything it sneers at.


As I played the game, I didn’t feel anything outwardly wrong, but after turning it off, my brain switches back on and asks the rest of me if I missed it. I didn’t. But I am glad it’s back. Back to try and make sense of the weird unease that I am left with when I play this game.
That there is something hidden beneath a thin veil of cool music, fast-talking djs, sassy gangsters and shiny cars.
I’m worried that there isn’t anything there at all.

I am left with the same feeling I get when I finish watching American Psycho. That nothing matters at all. That the most macabre thing about the whole experience is the feeling of nothingness it leaves behind, giving me a knock-on effect of worry and sadness.
Everything looks so real, I didn’t even think about how incredible it is that I can see so far into the distance, because it all felt so lifelike. But it’s not. Not quite.
You know the uncanny valley? This game has it, but not with people, but with the world. The world is eerily realistic. And it feels so fake.

I don’t know if this game was ever meant for me, but I do like it. I’m just not sure how I am meant to be feeling. I’m not sure if the developers planned things to be the way they turned out. It feels too unintentional.
I hope they one day make a game that can reach the headlines the way GTA does, but this time I want the headline to say something positive, something that is able to translate what is great about videogames to the unaknowledging public.

I just don’t think GTA will be that game.

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