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Friday, December 9, 2022

Video Games

Review: Grand Theft Auto 5 breaks day one records

GTA 2 - Izmail Glosson

Making over $1.2 million in sales on the first day of being released, Grand Theft Auto 5 has grabbed the attention of players worldwide. | Izmail Glosson/The Daily Cougar

Known for its gang-related violence, drug-smuggling exchanges, cop getaways and downright dirty antics, the “Grand Theft Auto” series has not only become a title that gamers choose to channel their inner criminality, but has also become a pinnacle in how far recreational gaming has reached — beyond the limits of Pac-Man and Super Mario.

Unlike many open-world games that aim to create a revolutionary experience, Rockstar Games’ “Grand Theft Auto V” pushes the parameters of the sandbox formula once more. The game also creates a novel-like storyline filled with mischievous intent based in a vibrant city resembling Southern California with a countryside. The city, known as Los Santos, serves as a chaotic paradise that easily merits a ribbon for top vacation spot.

Each piece of detailed structure in the scenery is worth checking out for the first few hours of the game. After booting up the game and getting past the first few missions, players should get in a car and drive around. Focusing on the mini-map for directional leeway is easy, but players will miss the art that is Los Santos — so rob a plane and go flying.

GTA V is probably one of the most beautiful games of our generation.

Throughout the journey, players take on the roles of the three main protagonists. Michael Townley — last name turned De Santa after being placed under witness protection following a heist in North Yankton — has everything he could have ever dreamed of with the exception of a regularly functioning family. Invariably, his wife has an affair, his son plays video games all day or his daughter makes a lewdly desperate attempt at getting into the entertainment business.

Franklin Clinton, who lives in the rougher parts of Los Santos, is a gangbanger and drug dealer trying to work his way out of the ghetto and away from his aunt and friend Lamar Davis. Although he makes an effort to stray away from his comfort zone by trying out newer jobs with Townley, his roots always find a way to pull him back in.

Trevor Philips is a psychopath who thrives on his own outbursts and violent rampages. Fresh from the countryside of Sandy Shores, he is the epitome of unpredictability, insanity and derangement. While running his own drug business, Trevor Philips Enterprises, and killing without a care in the world, he has a soft spot for Townley and his two kids.

All three of these characters are critical to the gameplay as players progress through the main story mode. Rushing into a military base to steal a chopper and executing a jewelry heist in broad daylight may seem like hefty tasks to do alone, but Rockstar Games deserves applause for including the character switch system. This tool can be extremely helpful during missions in which the three characters have to work together. When the crew isn’t together at the same time, switching between different characters heightens the aesthetic.

Los Santos’ city map and the number of side missions and special events seem endless and overwhelming at first, but settling into the world of GTA V will be like snuggling into a new king-sized mattress, bed sheets and comforter. Everything feels serene and organic — from burning rubber in street races around the city and scuba diving underwater for treasure to parachuting out of a plane and delving into explosive gunfights with the city police.

Clinton’s expertise is for driving, Philips is an insane pilot and Townley shines when he’s running and swimming. Though their skill levels in these particular activities are already high at the start of the game, players can improve others where they’re lacking, which maximizes each character’s performance during certain missions.

While it’s easy to peg this game as perfect, the honeymoon effect seems to wear off once you’re deep into the game. The writers of the game certainly have succeeded in compiling an incredible storyline. However, GTA V’s writing seems to grow a bit stale towards the end, especially as Townley and Clinton become overshadowed by Philips. The presence of the former two goes from being an enjoyable to a bearable experience, and the latter, who has almost nothing remarkable to say while with the other two characters, turns out to be very dull.

In the past few decades, there have been very few titles that push the limits of gaming systems in order to create fascinating, three-dimensional graphics while featuring a free-for-all experience full of destruction and mayhem. The developers at Rockstar Games can easily lay claim to composing a game that stands as a milestone of how innovative and in-depth video games as a whole have become. Overall, “Grand Theft Auto V” is a stellar experience that no gamer should miss out on.

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