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The Gaming Review - Grand Theft Auto V

Release Date: 
Game Platform: 
Xbox, PS3
Star Rating: 
10 out of 10

The biggest game of 2013 has finally arrived.

The Pitch: Voted “Game most likely to lose you your job, your scholarship, or your loved ones,” Rockstar is about to drop a bomb on the world of video games by punching out the scope and depth of its flagship franchise in unprecedented ways. GTAV is back, and it’s here to steal your car—and, more likely, your life.

What It Really Is: GTAV is the most perfect example we’ve ever seen of what a video game should be. In their latest re-creation of the pseudo-Californian San Andreas, Rockstar hasn’t just offered up a world where crime is possible and the villain can win; they’ve created a world where you can’t put the controller down, because it’s fun and because you simply need to know what’s next. San Andreas is packed full of stuff you want to do. This is light years beyond bowling with cousin Roman. This is races and hunting and parachuting and scuba diving and more exploration into the world and its mysteries than you would expect of even a Tomb Raider game. Gigantic map and huge list of activities aside, the driving force in GTAV is the trident of a plot that weaves together the lives of the three main characters – Michael, Franklin, and Trevor – and thrusts you into that story, with twists and turns and epic choices, at breakneck speed. You won’t be earning your spurs by riding bicycles for an hour. No, in GTAV you’ll have two six-shooters locked and loaded from the get-go. Most shocking is how the game keeps up that pacing throughout, thanks to the three-pronged blitzkrieg. Don’t want to sit through the menial bullshit of Michael’s home life? Switch to Franklin and hit the streets to start hustling. Don’t want to watch Franklin’s crazy aunt/roommate and her women’s self-help group? Switch to Trevor and break some bad up in the mountains. The new addition of character-switching gives you the out you wished you had any time you “accidentally” drove off a bridge and wound up swimming in the middle of nowhere without a vehicle to deliver you from boredom. It also looks slick as hell, masking the loading time of the switch by zooming out and then back in via surveillance satellite, distracting you from the load, contextualizing the characters’ spatial relationships, and, most importantly, lending an incredibly cinematic quality to the game by making on-the-fly switches feel like highly-choreographed jump cuts in a movie. And that’s why we love GTAV so much; this is not just a game about three criminals pulling jobs for profit. This is a story, one about survival, and about flipping off a society that no longer bothers hiding its contempt for - or its abuse of - its citizens. That contempt for authority, that subversion of culture, has flowed through the veins of GTA since its inception more than a decade ago, but we’ve never seen it crafted with this level of finesse before. If there was ever a case to be made for a game winning an Oscar, GTAV is it. Ready-Made Press Blurb:Grand Theft Auto V? More like Grand Theft Auto V out of V!”

Fun Fact: Knowing it’s got a phenomenon on its hands, Rockstar approached things a little differently in the lead up to GTAV’s release by methodically and minimally sharing news about the game. The internet obliged by picking through every scrap of detail with painstaking detective work. Of all the things the unofficial investigation revealed, the world quickly honed in on a “shed” at the top of a mountain, creating a craze about the first place you’ll visit once you join the ranks of other San Andreasians. And, again, Rockstar obliged. We’re not saying what’s in the shed but we will say this: It’s not nothing.

Collector’s Edition: You may be hard-pressed to actually get your hands on one without a pre-order, but the GTAV Collector’s Edition comes with the game, collectible art book, oversized blueprint map of San Andreas, plus plenty of in-game goodies from weapons to tattoos to challenges that you wouldn’t be able to access otherwise.

Who It’s For: If you’ve ever enjoyed a Scorsese movie, you should play GTAV. If you’ve ever enjoyed a Michael Bay movie, you should play GTAV. If you were ever outraged over illegal, government-sanctioned surveillance or the waterboarding of terror-suspects, you should play GTAV. If you’ve ever wanted to drive a Bugatti or shoot a bazooka or hunt deer with a sniper rifle or watch a CGI stripper gyrate or take a submarine to explore a sunken wreck, you should play GTAV. If you want to experience a modern masterpiece, plain and simple, add GTAV to your collection.


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