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Game rating: Grand Theft Auto V

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Game rating: Grand Theft Auto V
« on: January 24, 2016, 10:38:04 PM »
 

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Grand Theft Auto V

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Story line10What's new? R* always created their story lines following one guy, the main character. Usually a person with a someone dark background and usually starting the game being broke, or at least being in some sort of trouble.
This time we have three main characters. Michael, Trevor and Franklin. Michael isn't exactly broke. He has become rich and has successfully retired from his criminal background, living the life of a mindless celebrity in Vinewood. He isn't a mindless celebrity though, and that is what probably brings him in the 'some sort of trouble' we were expacting :-()
Trevor is trouble. Whatever he does, the way he does it makes trouble appear. And he has a background. Criminal background, yes. We could compare him with Nico Belic I suppose, although he lacks the control that Nico has. What he lacks on control he makes good with his ruthlessness and his temper.
Franklin is the embodiment of the ghetto youth trying to make it out of the slumbs. He's pretty much like CJ, although Franklin is more on his own. His bands with relatives and family aren't so strong and he's willing to litterally leave all that is pushing him down aside and get out alone.
Combine these three and you have what all men in the western hemisphere somehow can relate to. probably. Because when you start playing GTA V, you play with all three of them. Not all together of course, one at a time. That's new.

In this game we see something that R* has been developing already in a few earlier titles; true cinematic gameplay. Both Max Payne 3, GTA IV and LA Noire are games where you really have the idea of being part of a movie. Combining that with an open world environment is quite a challenge. Movies are scripted, while open world games give the most freedom possible to the player. So how to design a game where both scripted parts guide the player through the main story line and still have enough of that freedom of acting that we expect from an open world game?
I think the idea of creating a story line that unfolds following three characters is a good approach of this combi. It gives the player a more complete control over the story, being more part of it. Being able to switch between the different characters adds to that. Part of the story is being told by the main characters while the player is actually active on the job. Like the moment where you drive towards Los Santos being Trevor. He tells a major part of his history with Michael to his companion with the face piercings while driving.

I think the story that's being told by the three characters is one of the best I've come across in video games. The characters are complete and real. I remember how the voice actors were literally becoming stars on first release on Xbox and PS3. They are real people and the feel like real people in the game. The way the story of these three is combined together in this blistering adventure is genious. I could 'read' this game as a novell. Trevor is one of the best characters I've ever come across. He made me explore the dirtiest parts of my mind, how good it is to torture someone, completely dominate a helpless soul. I can feel his rage when he goes on a rampage and man does it feel good to just do what you think in these moments 8)

The open world we're playing in is so great, it would be a shame if I only described that in the graphics section. The world feels like it's alive. Everything you see happening is real and entertaining. And the characters are responding to all the happenings just accordingly. I remember the laughs I had when Trevor screams "10 points" when he hits a deer with his truck :laugh:
This world is so lively compared to other open world games. I was discussing this with a friend recently, he mentioned games like the Crew and TDU 2 being more clinical. They are too perfect, everything is too sharp or clean or empty. Especially The Crew is good comparing because they designed LA too, with the pier and the little Venice-like hood. They did a good job and in fact both games look much alike in that part of town, but it doesn't live.
The open world of San Andreas is the result of over 12 years of development creating a living city. in 2001, when GTA III was reseased, we saw R*'s first attempt into creating a living city where one could freely move and act in, with a responding environment. Ever since they expanded their horizons.

Last I'd like to mention the enormous amount of side quests, random events and mysterious easter eggs that has been added to this game. The usual for those who know open world games, but very good in the way they occur. And every random event shows you a bit of an NPC's life. Like the bride you pick up who finally made up her mind and decided not to mary him. And the funny fact that, being Trevor, you can take here to the Altruist cult who will eat her. Instead of bringing here home >:D
There's a huge movement on many gamer webpages of people trying to solve the riddles around the UFO's in the game. All the clues they found, until now noone knows exactly if and how the riddle will ever be solved. The riddle of the Mount Chiliad mystery with the mysterious map at the cable car station as the main lead. Will there be a jetpack hidden in Fort Zancudo? Or is it all just pointing to nothing?


Graphics10The graphics are extremely good. I'm running the game on high settings (not the highest, but close) and not even on 4K, which is an option. The world bewitches me completely. Sometimes I'm just flying around in a helicopter admiring the views. It's almost like watching HD nature documentaries. Some examples; the way water behaves. The waves in the ocean are extremely realistic. The way they bounce against the rocks, the light house... marvellous. In this game I saw good straming water for the first time. I was impressed already with the straming water in FC3, but there you could still see that it was moving textures on bulbs of landscape. The whole floating aspect, and being caught by the streaming was way too artificial. Here in San Andreas it is a true feeling of being inside a river. There are parts where you can't swim against the stream, and there are parts where you just slowly float to the left or right when you try to cross it. Waterfalls look brilliant. The glancing of the light on it makes it complete. Never seen water that good. The atmosphere is also really beautiful. Sunsets, fog, mist and rain; it all adds to the immersion.
The people in this game are so real; there's tons of different NPC's and they all act their own little life. The detail in this world is extreme. Like Fragger commented; every single balcony, no matter how far away from where 99.9% of the players are usually moving, is fully worked out. With plants, pots, even ash trays, everything.
Many buildings are accessible, and even these who aren't will give you the impression that the inside is real.
Yesterday I was at Vespucci Beach and I was admiring a piece of ribbon that was hanging on one side of a baywatch tower. It was moving in the wind. Constantly drawing different patterns in the sky. I was obsessed by it. I really couldn't find a rhythm or repetitiveness. How a single piece of plastic, so unimportant, still behaves so complex and enchanting.... that says it all.

Sound10I've always liked the sound in GTA games. All the radio stations you can choose from, with loads of different music to select... funny DJ's, self radio that allows you to upload your own music and play it as if it was on the radio, with accompanying commecials... lovely. The game sound is very rich. Wherever you are you hear sounds that correspond the place. You hear birds in the woods, you hear people of different sorts in the different parts of town. I think there's not a game with so many NPC lines, and NPC's in such a variety with all their own lines, discussions, conversations. And they are so funny. It keeps cracking me up how the Vagos keep saying "Mendoza, Medoza's been fucking hit!!" Poor Mendoza. He, along with Charly from Merrywheather and Cleatis from the O'Neills brothers are GTA's Kenny McCormick. The sound in this game is really doing its part in making this world so lively and immersive. Being struck by a thunderstorm out in the open, close to Alemo Sea, really scares the s#!t out of me. And again, the detail. Almost every car in this game, and there are hundreds, has its own engine sound. Every terrain got a different sound when you plant your feet on it. From sandy beaches to rainy concrete roads, from grassy mountain flanks to the swamp. It all sounds different. Recently R* added the ability to walk around bare feet. That sound is also quite remarkable.
The only downside I can come up with is the mission sound. Usually, when not listening to the radio (or whn you're not in a car) the game will play mission sound. It's to add to the excitement. I don't complain, but after many times it's getting a bit boring. You can choose to put ingame music off though ,and then it won't bother you anymore. But the radio stations will also be muted then.

Game play9,9There is no other game that delivers such a diverse range of gameplay options. You can swim, dive, walk, drive, climb, fly, shoot, play golf, tennis or darts. The sky is the limit. Fly up to 10000 feet and dive down on a parachute, land on a boat, cruise along a creek, equip scuba gear and explore the depths of the ocean... anything is possible. And it is all very well worked out. And for the first time you can do it all in first person!!! Of course, real shooter games have a better design for firefights. And this isn't Wii Sports either. But generally speaking, all these different gameplay modes give you a solid experience. I like the driving and flying a lot. I've never played any flight sims, but I bet R* comes close to such gameplay and it definitely is well integrated in the rest of the gameplay.
Everything is accessible. From trailer trucks to army helicopters who can lift literally any vehicle. It's so cool to lift a car with someone in it, and drop it on the highest building in town so he can drive off and make a huge dive onto the streets. I just let him drop into the ocean :-()
The main story can be a bit scripted sometimes. For those who love to find their own way of doing things it may be a bit limited, and yes there are timed events. I personally don't care for that. I do enjoy the story a lot and the way cutscenes and gameplay follow up is fine.
There's actually no bugs in the enormous amount of commands and trigger points. Even ladders w@&k flawless. In earlier GTA games I found it a bit annoying that the movement of the main character was sometimes limiting the way you move. Like when you have to climb a ladder while facing onthe wrong direction. The game will have you move in a circle to get your character to turn, getting you too far away from the ladder to trigger the climbing. Stuff like that. But in this edition it all works a lot smoother.
The only thing that doesn't w@&k perfectly is stealth. In some missions it really seems to w@&k well, but in most missions the first kill will just alert every freaking bad guy around and start looking for you. No matter you move stealthily or use silencers or knives. Well, there's gotta be something that's not working out well :-D
 
Replay value10I have 1500 hours of gameplay already, and I haven't even played my second playthrough. I completed the game (SP) 100% plus I did most of the side missions that don't count for 100% completion. I replayed many story and side missions in order to get gold medals (requires certain accomplishments, like a minimum amount of headshots or accuracy, a time limit, no vehicle damage or more missions specific goals) and then I started playing GTA Online. GTA Online can be seen as a game of its own. The only thing GTA Online and GTA V (SP) have in common is the open world. The gameplay and progress is completely different. I am so hooked on GTA Online with its heists, co-op missions, free roam events and all the stuff you can buy and own, from clothing to cars to penthouses to expensive super yachts, that until now I haven't had the time to go back into SP and do a second playthrough. I will though. All the exciting moments I lived through with Michael, Trevor and Franklin were so entertaining that I really have to go through it again. :-D
So, 1500 hours of gameplay, spread over 9 months without having touched a single other game... I call that replay value. Speaking of value; the Online world keeps being upgraded with new missions, new stuff you can buy, new events and all for free. Ubishit would've charged me for at least twice the money I paid for the main title to get all these updates. And they all w@&k flawless. The amount of bugs is really small and R* support is friendly and effective. They keep caring for their customers and do the possible to solve bugs.
1500 hours and counting. Sometimes I wonder if there will ever be another game that can pull me off this title. I am now rank 383 in online. The max rank is 8000. To reach that, without cheating, it requires probably 8 years of gameplay. Or even more. We'll see :angel:

Final thoughts
Rockstar created gamer heaven. From now on, this is the standard. Other games will be weighted with this being the top of what can be reached. I wanted to give 5 times a 10, but I have to be realistic. The gameplay can still be done better. The first person integration isn't perfect and the stealth isn't working well.
But who cares if you look at everything else this game has to offer. GTA Online is a true second life. The amount of things that can be done are endless. Hundreds of missions, a huge variety of competitive game modes, heists, freemode events.... GTA Online is what interactive multiplayer gaming should be. No more no less.
The story, with its three unique personalities, plays like a novel. It is exciting, challenging and funny. And it even makes you think sometimes. These three gangsters lure you into a world where it's hard not to loose yourself. You're hooked before you know it ;)



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Re: Game rating: Grand Theft Auto V
« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2016, 12:43:12 AM »
 

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+1 :-X :)

I've racked up more than 3,000 hours playing this game (most of which is GTA V online) and I made over a billion dollars per SP character with the stock market which I love -- best game ever, so far. ^-^

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Re: Game rating: Grand Theft Auto V
« Reply #2 on: January 25, 2016, 12:46:10 PM »
 

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I've been playing GTA since Vice City came out back in 2001-2002. It is a spin off of GTA III which I haven't played even though I have it on my steam library. Over 13 years ago the game was ground breaking for it's amazing mechanics and revolutionary gameplay. The ammount of details were incredibly high for the time (radio stations with different styles, urban scenes and easter eggs... you name it) and you were never bored while into the world they created. Rockstar's GTA is truly a reference against which all games should be measured.  :-X

I am still trying to finish the many games I've purchased and never saw the credits roll before I start buying new games and GTA V is on the top of my list. I am even more curious because I loved playing GTA San Andreas which takes place in the same city but with 2004 graphics. I can't wait to roam the streets again and wreck some havock GTA style  >:D
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Re: Game rating: Grand Theft Auto V
« Reply #3 on: January 25, 2016, 02:36:43 PM »
 

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Excellent review Binnatics, well done buddy :-X Whew, you really covered things there! Totally agree with your assessment, except for the fact that I'm not super crazy about the main missions, but that's just my own personal foible, don't let it detract from your cool review :-() As you know I'm still fairly new to it. I got off to a bit of a shaky start with it due to my rocky relationship with the story missions but I do keep getting drawn back into it, and I think I am actually coming to love it. Whole afternoons and evenings are disappearing on me, it's some of the best fun I've ever had with a game. And it's funny, I laugh a lot with this, sometimes in a bit of a sick way but stuff it - it's funny >:D The freedom of action is wonderful and the game world is so alive and vibrant, it's in a class of its own. And how many other games let you ride on a roller coaster? 8)

@ JRD, GTA V is the first one of the franchise I've ever played, except for a brief dalliance with a GTA IV spin-off which I wasn't keen on (Lost And Damned, a biker tale thingy which I didn't like the weird film-grained look of). I'm willing to bet that if you enjoyed the GTA games, you will love GTA V. When I bought it, the guy in the shop, who's opinions I've come to respect, said that GTA V is the game that Rockstar always wanted to make. I think he's probably right - it's like everything they've done in the past has been leading up to this.

I've never seen a game with such an amazingly rich and detailed environment. Binn covered it extremely well above, but I'd like to add a couple of things (hope you don't mind Binn ^-^). I haven't been able to get over it - it's about as complete a gaming world as I've ever seen, from the weeds growing up through the cracks in the sidewalks in the seedy end of town to the manicured elegance of the mansions in the hills. Everything is detailed and textured. EVERYTHING. And everything has an almost photographic look to it, especially with the fantastic atmospheric effects in the game. I haven't seen such cool weather effects since FC2, you can almost feel it. Binn mentioned the thunderstorms, there aren't that many but boy, they're realistic. A good clap of thunder can make you jump. I even saw a big fork of lightning once, it looked incredible. I've driven through scattered patches of low-lying fog on the freeway at night, and there was something that really blew me away - the moon shows phases! Never seen that outside of astronomy software.

The main city of GTA V is basically a scaled down Los Angeles (Los Santos in the game), complete with LA's most famous landmarks but with different names, like Vespucci Beach (in place of Venice Beach), The Oriental Theater (Grauman's Chinese Theater), the Vinewood Bowl open-air theater (Hollywood Bowl) a giant VINEWOOD sign in the hills overlooking it all (in place of the famous HOLLYWOOD sign), and a Walk of Fame (no names on the stars though). The overall layout of CBD, industrial areas and suburbia roughly parallels that of LA. But then there is the countryside north of Los Santos as well which is just as richly detailed as the city and contains a number of smaller towns and communities in addition to wilderness areas (some with hiking and bike trails) plus many places of interest. The city and its metropolitan area make up roughly one-sixth of the total game area, and the entire thing is accessible right from the beginning (you listening, Ubisoft?). No unlocking of places is required. You could easily spend months exploring it all, especially the city.

If or when you do get the game, the physical disk version has one big advantage over a download - it comes with a printed double-sided map, which I've found quite useful. One side shows the entire game area, the other shows the city in detail with all major street names shown. Both sides are complete with legends and scales. It's high quality and it's a good size, 53cm x 68cm (21in x 27in).
 

Re: Game rating: Grand Theft Auto V
« Reply #4 on: January 25, 2016, 04:41:09 PM »
 

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Wow, BinZ - excellent review!  +1 for the fine detailed report  :-X
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Re: Game rating: Grand Theft Auto V
« Reply #5 on: January 25, 2016, 05:55:37 PM »
 

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Wow, thanx guys for the nice replies. It was a game rating I've been pushing forward for a long time; I knew it would be hard to make a game rating of a game that perfect. I was afraid I'd give the maximum score, but finally decided that was what it had to be. Well, I had to agree on a decimal drop at gameplay, but still.

...Binn covered it extremely well above, but I'd like to add a couple of things (hope you don't mind Binn ^-^)

Of course I don't mind. Despite the text I've written I still felt like failing in a proper description of it all. Thank you for adding it :)

I also realised that GTA Online probably will need a rating of its own, but that's another story.  ;)
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Re: Game rating: Grand Theft Auto V
« Reply #6 on: January 25, 2016, 07:14:06 PM »
 

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Bugger me, I forgot to give you a back slap Binn +1
 

Re: Game rating: Grand Theft Auto V
« Reply #7 on: January 25, 2016, 10:31:24 PM »
 

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Ah, thank you Fragger! :)

And I forgot to mention some cool features that aren't to be forgotten when rating the game. R* also did a wonderful job on the Movie Editor. Really cool feature that adds a lot of additional fun and even provides some room for creativity with the game.
And what to think of the creator in Online? Create your own race? Or deathmatch? Really cool, some of the custom "last team standing' matches are really good :-X :)
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Re: Game rating: Grand Theft Auto V
« Reply #8 on: January 26, 2016, 12:52:25 AM »
 

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nice follow-ups, gents  :)

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Re: Game rating: Grand Theft Auto V
« Reply #9 on: January 26, 2016, 11:39:57 AM »
 

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Back in 2004 (and there goes 12 years!) GTA San Andreas featured three major cities: Los Santos - as you know, it's a R* version of Los Angeles with it's landmarks and beaches, San Fierro, which was designed to be the game version of San Francisco and Las Venturas, after Las Vegas with The Strip and all. Apart from that they also made the countryside with it's share of small towns and even the equivalent of the Hoover Dam. One thing though, at the beginning of the game you could not go outside Los Santos limits (risking a five star wanted level out of the blue) but as the story progressed, all cities became open to you.

Mission flow has always been one key point to developers. The story plot and all it's side missions bring you into the game like no other game series I know about. Vice City was based in Scar Face where you play as Tony Montana (named Tommy Vercetti in the game) with all music, cars and ambience from the 80's... simply amazing.

These guys at Rockstar are living the dream. Even with all deadlines and budgets they have to deal with as in any other compny, the final product is far more interesting thatn any company can produce.
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