It won’t have escaped anyone’s attention that Grand Theft Auto V came out last month, and I don’t suppose I need to start this review explaining what it is and what platforms it’s available for.
Instead, I’ll just get straight into discussing the merits of the game.
Note: Bear in mind that I haven’t touched the online part of GTA V so it wouldn’t be fair of me to pass judgement on that.
Grand Theft Auto V Review
Thoughts: Not As Complete As Rockstar Would Have You Believe
I adored Red Dead Redemption; it’s almost unique in that it’s a game I actually wanted to 100%. Long after the main story mode – which was hugely enjoyable – was over, I was spending hours on end roaming the desert plains looking for certain types of flowers, or hunting in the forest for that one last bear I had to kill.
It was just superb.
Now today, I finished the storyline mode on GTA V, and I have to tell you, I couldn’t be less fussed about 100%ing it if I tried.
And that’s because GTA V just isn’t as good as Red Dead Redemption.
Now don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the polished main story up to a point, and I found myself keen to finish it, in spite of my annoyances with some of the characters (i.e. Trevor, who I’d gotten sick of after about 5 minutes). But once that storyline was over, what was there left to do? Buying up properties? Doing a few more Strangers & Freaks missions where you have to blindly search for aliens or tow parked cars? Side quests involving awkwardly controlled helicopters? Wandering around trying to get a 5 star wanted level rating?
None of that really appealed.
And that’s because some of the extra stuff is crap.
I mean, who wants to trawl the sea looking for submarine parts or radioactive substances? I might if the control scheme for the underwater stuff was even half way decent, but it wasn’t. And speaking of controls, the helicopters and planes – like i said above – were just a nightmare to control. The only challenging part of the game at all was trying to work through some of the more fidgety controls.
But there are more problems.
It tries to add depth by having extra curricular stuff to do like meeting friends for drinks, but that doesn’t achieve anything.
It adds characters contacts into your phone like the woman who is obsessed with fitness but those contacts never answer. So what’s the point?
It has barber shops all over town but they only offer 2 or 3 different styles.
It has clothes shops to buy more gear but the characters just revert to wearing what the game wants them to wear.
It has a host of radio stations that only offer about 10 songs each. Let’s just say I got very tired of hearing Radio Gaga very quickly.
It puts stuff like tennis in the game which – hyperbolically – some suggested was as good as Virtua Tennis, but the gameplay was so basic and easy to control that I didn’t see the point of ever playing it again after my first go.
And that sums it up. As enjoyable as the storyline mode was, it wasn’t that special – certainly not to an extent that justified the hype – and the extra stuff just felt like window dressing to me. If you’re going to add something to a game, make it worth playing. Much of that stuff just wasn’t worth playing.
So I didn’t.
Grand Theft Auto V Review: Final Thoughts
Ultimately, people will love this game regardless, and I did enjoy it to an extent, but it seems to be a case of style over substance. Mind you, what isn’t these days?
Sometimes the controls felt clunky, other times what appeared to be cool additions to the game just didn’t stand up to scrutiny, and most crucially of all, it lacked a serious challenge and much of the added stuff just wasn’t fun.
So three cheers for the presentation and the attempt to make a video game seem like a proper story, but a hearty boo from the gamer in me looking for a challenge.
I’ve got try the new Saints Row game, because I reckon it’ll be more fun.
Time will tell.
But GTA? It’s nowhere near as good as the hype suggests.
And yet it’s the best-selling game of all time.
A triumph of marketing over quality.,