Review: Grand Theft Auto V (PS4)
Define the games in 2014 and it will likely include the word ‘remastered’ somewhere in that definition. Love it or hate it, publishers made lots of money via the re-release concept and now Rockstar have jumped on the bandwagon to rake in their fair share of the loot that’s still on offer. Something tells me they’ll be mugging all the other remastered games to increase their fortunes.
I’m new to GTA V
A retired bank robber, an up-and-coming gansta in da hood and a complete redneck psychopath walks into a bar. It’s really a complete joke, but somehow Grand Theft Auto V makes it work. The event kicks off when a bank robbery, that takes place in the past, goes horribly wrong. Thereafter, to avoid any spoilers for you, everything turns south. Michael, the man with the brains, is now retired and living with his family. Franklin, the stereotypical African American boy from the hood, has aspirations to make it big (and is the new guy on the team) and then there’s Trevor. He’s the star of the show. He cares for very little but himself and is not scared to speak his mind. Whether he’s using his mouth or fists to tell you, you’ll get the message. He’s violent, mental, scary and a complete deranged lunatic. You can’t help but love him.
Their playground? The city and surrounding areas of Los Santos, which is quite honestly in reality Los Angeles and surrounding areas. If you’ve ever been to Los Angeles you’ll notice that it resembles the various landmarks of the city. The living breathing city of this virtual world is a recipe that’s seen many attempts by copycats, but Rockstar owns a recipe that works. Around each corner you’ll find an activity. Pedestrians bitching, road rage from drivers, people being mugged, gun shootouts and various other events that you can take part in, or choose to ignore.
You can play golf or tennis, take part in triathlons, parachute, base jump, play darts, go to the movies, watch TV, take part in yoga lessons, visit a barber shop to get a new hair style or facial hair, buy new clothes and shoes, ink yourself at a tattoo parlour, play arcade games, go diving undersea, take part in racing events or take your buddies to a strip club. That’s just the tip of the iceberg. There’s so much to do in Grand Theft Auto V that you will most likely never get to experience everything that is on offer. I found that the main missions will include small bits of tutorial right up to the very last mission as there’s always something new to learn.
Whenever it comes to a GTA game it’s a given that much of your time will be spent in some form of vehicle. You’ll have a range of cars to choose from, but you’ll also get to pilot various planes and helicopters, and you can take to water on a jet ski and boats. Bikes return and so do bicycles. Infiltrate the military base and you’ll have even more vehicles of destruction at your disposal. It’s also here that your cellphone comes into play. In fact, your mobile phone is as important in the game as it would be in your every day life.
Pushing up on your D-Pad brings up your phone menu. Here you can check your emails, messages and your joblist. Obviously you can also use it to get in touch with your contacts, but there’s more to it. It’s a smartphone with ‘GTA-world’ internet access. As with the internet in the real world you can get lost online within minutes and will likely do quite a bit of reading as it’s littered with typical GTA toilet humour. Each page has something out of the ordinary that generally stereotypes everything and will bring a big smile to your face. I had my wife literally laughing out loud after reading some of the nonsense the writers got up to. You can also use it to buy shares in the stockmarket or buy and have vehicles delivered to you. This is very handy when you’re on your way to cause havoc with your huge arsenal of weapons. Visit the good ol’ Ammu-Nation shop and you’ll have access to any weapon your heart desires. Machine guns, pistols, shotguns, sticky bombs, knifes, armour – you name it. If you can think it up then you can likely make your dream of world destruction come true.
This all ultimately leads to you and your team planning heists. You’re tasked in choosing a team, which, depending on their stats, will take a percentage share of the money stolen. You have to be careful. You don’t want to give too much away, but you also need to make sure all runs smoothly. You’ll always be provided with an option A and B (generally one being all out guns blazing and the other being stealthy), so if you played it before you’ll get to play the other way around this time. The Heists can get rather chaotic, as you might imagine, but it’s an action-packed fun experience right up to the moment you’ve escaped the law.
I’ve played it, so what’s new in this remastered version?
The first thing you’ll notice are the improved graphics. Everything is crisp and looks more detailed. It’s not quite up there with some games that’s been built up from the ground purely for the PS4, but it’s looking a damn sight better. Press the big touchpad on the PS4 controller and it will change views. The big new addition to this version is the first-person viewpoint. I found that I played around with it for a while and enjoyed it for some gunplay action every once in a while, but generally changed back to the classic third-person point of view. Driving in first-person also felt a little twichy, which annoyed me within a few minutes. I was hoping that I could play the game on-foot in first-person and then have the camera automatically swap back to third-person when jumping into a vehicle, but that was sadly not that case. Also, something that really bugged me was that the wipers on your vehicle does not work when it’s raining cats and dogs. Your windscreen is crystal clear, while the rest of the city is drenched in water. Not a big deal, but for a game that concentrates on all the finer details they definitely overlooked that. Another use for the touchpad will have you swiping up or down (mid-game) to change radio stations, or left or right to change your weapons on the fly.
As soon as you do something to obstruct the law, and the cops are on the lookout for your dangerous ass, then the lightbar on the front of your PS4 controller will flash blue and red, indicating that you’re being hunted by the police. There are some other gimmicky uses of the lightbar. When playing as Michael it turns light blue, as Franklin it’s light green and as Trevor it’s bright yellow. The real winning addition to this remastered version comes in the form of the built-in speaker on the PS4 controller. Whenever anyone phones you you’ll hear the discussion coming through on the speaker. When your character replies it blares out of your television speakers. It sounds simple, but the effect is pretty awesome.
The good news for online players is that you can transfer your old character to the current generation system, so you don’t lose any of your stats and money. Another great addition is that the multiplayer chaos has been ramped up by allowing up to 30 players to take part in an online game. As you can imagine it’s complete havoc. More so, you can bank $500,000 in-game for online and $500,000 for campaign missions via an included code that comes packaged when you buy the game. If you’re new to GTA V this will give you the kickstart you need.
GTA V is a great remastered game and is definitely a game that should be experienced by all gamers. If you missed out on the original last year and hoped for an improved version this is a must buy game. I’d still recommend it to players who experienced it all before, but only to the die-hard GTA fans. Rockstar deserves a High-Five.