When GTA IV released in 2008, it was impossible not to get swept up in the hype. IGN posted a ten-page review that I considered “masturbatory.” I personally hadn’t enjoyed a GTA since the conversion to 3D; for some reason, I didn’t seem to be able to play them for more than about half an hour without getting a massive headache. Everyone was excited about the open-world multiplayer, including my brother, who went so far as to give me $60 to go pick it up, and I’d be lying if I said the trailers didn’t have me excited. A week later, however, a friend owned that copy, I owned Burnout Paradise, and I owed my brother $60.
Now the kicker: When Grand Theft Auto V releases next week, I’m buying FOUR copies of it, as an early Christmas gift to that brother, my girlfriend, and my best friend. It would make sense then that if anyone was going to spread the GTA V hype to you nerds, it would be yours truly. Below are my five biggest reasons why this next installment will hopefully not equal a net loss of $240 on my end.
Rockstar Games has put the story front-and-center this time, with almost every trailer focusing on Michael, Franklin, and Trevor. Apparently, good storytelling is nothing new to the series, or at least that’s what people tell me. I played enough of IV to see the potential, and have heard that the two expansion packs tell great tales. I think Rockstar has a particularly great thing going with the three-character approach, though, as it gives them the chance to look at the city from separate, albeit connected angles.
Ask any devoted GTA player what the best game in the series is, and they’re likely to say “San Andreas,” despite it being nearly a decade old. Dig a little deeper, and their reasoning is nearly always the procedural skill trees for different stats. The more you drove, ran, shot, fought, and lived in GTA: SA, the more that was reflected in your character. I have a few friends who discount IV almost entirely due this feature’s removal. Thankfully, skills make a return in V, with several base attributes and several special traits and abilities unique to each of the three characters.
Hand me an open-world, city-based game where I don’t have access to multiple radio stations playing hours worth of content, and I’m going to hand it right back. For instance, I love Forza Horizon, but there are only three in-game radio stations, and I swear each station can’t have a track list of more than ten songs. GTA V tackles the issue with fifteen stations and 240 licensed tracks. To top it off, this installment is the first to feature an original score, which will coincide with certain story and mission developments.
Red Dead Redemption
Over the past two weeks, our posse has rediscovered the joys of roaming the wilds from Tall Trees to Perdido, clearing out gang strongholds, hunting legendary bears, and occasionally stopping to pick a wild herb or two. When Red Dead was initially released, you heard a lot about “Grand Theft Horse;” in my group, we now talk about next week’s release as “Red Dead Auto.” Rockstar themselves have continually pointed to RDR as a source of inspiration for changes in GTA V; here’s hoping they’re not just spitting into the wind.
Seriously, just look at this shit.
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