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Grand Theft Auto V

Grand Theft Auto V

Grand Theft Auto V

Grand Theft Auto V is an open world, action-adventure video game developed by Rockstar North and published by Rockstar Games. It was released on 17 September 2013 for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 consoles. It is the fifteenth title in the Grand Theft Auto series, and the first main entry since Grand Theft Auto IV in 2008. As one of the last titles to be released for the seventh generation of video game consoles, Grand Theft Auto V was highly anticipated preceding its release.

Grand Theft Auto V is played from a third-person perspective in an open world environment, allowing the player to interact with the game world at their leisure. The game is set within the fictional state of San Andreas, based on Southern California, and affords the player the ability to freely roam the world's countryside and the fictional city of Los Santos, based on Los Angeles. The single-player story is told through three player-controlled protagonists whom the player switches between, and it follows their efforts to plan and execute six large heists to accrue wealth for themselves. An online multiplayer mode is included with the game, allowing up to 16 players to engage in both co-operative and competitive gameplay in a re-creation of the single-player setting.

The developers envisioned Grand Theft Auto V as a spiritual successor to many of their previous projects, such as Red Dead Redemption and Max Payne 3. Development began shortly following the release of Grand Theft Auto IV, with a focus on innovating the core structure of the gameplay by giving the player control of three protagonists. Upon its release, the game was acclaimed by many reviewers who praised its story missions, presentation, and open-ended gameplay. Its depiction of violent themes, including Trevor's psychopathy and use of torture, and treatment of women polarised commentators. A commercial success, Grand Theft Auto V broke industry sales records by earning US $800 million in the first 24 hours of its release, and US $1 billion within its first three days, making it the fastest selling entertainment product in history.

Grand Theft Auto V Plot

Nine years after a botched robbery in Ludendorff, North Yankton that left two of his accomplices dead and forced a third into hiding, former bank robber Michael Townley is living under witness protection with his family in Los Santos, San Andreas, adopting the pseudonym Michael De Santa. Franklin Clinton, who works as a repo man for a car dealership alongside his best friend Lamar Davis, is asked to reclaim a car from Michael's twenty year old son, Jimmy, who is overdue on his loan payment. Correctly deducing that his son is about to become a victim of credit fraud, Michael confronts Franklin and orders him to crash the car through the dealership. Franklin is fired, but he and Michael become friends. When Michael discovers his wife Amanda in bed with her tennis coach, he and Franklin chase the man to a mansion, which Michael destroys out of anger. However, the mansion belongs to Mexican drug lord Martin Madrazo, who demands compensation. They acquiesce, paying their debt with Madrazo using money earned from a jewellery shop heist with assistance from Michael's friend, Lester Crest. Trevor Philips, the only other survivor of the Ludendorff robbery, hears about the heist and, realising that the perpetrator could be none other than Michael himself, reunites with his former partner after tracking him down to Los Santos.

The personal lives of the protagonists begin to spiral out of control. Trevor's unexpected reappearance triggers reckless and erratic behaviour from Michael, which prompts his family to leave. Michael's attempts to make something of himself bring him into conflict with Devin Weston, a self-made billionaire venture capitalist and corporate raider who develops a grudge against him and vows revenge. Franklin is disturbed by the way Lamar falls under the influence of Harold "Stretch" Joseph, a gangster who defected to a rival gang in prison and who repeatedly attempts to kill Lamar to prove himself to his new brethren. Trevor's efforts to consolidate his control over the methamphetamine market in Blaine County see him waging war against the San Andreas chapter of The Lost outlaw motorcycle club, a number of Latin American street gangs, rival meth dealers, government-sponsored mercenaries and a Triad led by Wei Chang, one of the most senior figures in the Chinese criminal underworld.

Michael is forced by FIB agents Dave Norton and Steve Haines to perform a series of operations with Franklin and Trevor with the objective of undermining a rival agency, the IAA. Under Haines' direction, they attack an armoured convoy carrying funds intended for the IAA and raid a bank containing the payroll for all of the corrupt police and public officials in Los Santos, but Michael and Trevor are forced to temporarily hide in Blaine County after they perform a job for Madrazo and demanding compensation, Trevor kidnaps his wife. As Haines comes under increasing scrutiny for his methods, he forces them to infiltrate the FIB headquarters and erase any evidence being used against him from their servers. Michael takes the opportunity to wipe any data on his own activities in the process, destroying Haines' leverage over him. After Trevor returns Madrazo's wife, the trio start making plans for their most daring feat ever: raiding the gold bullion reserve from the Union Depository.

After returning to Los Santos, Michael makes amends with his family and they start living together again. Trevor, however, discovers that a former accomplice of them was killed during the Ludendorff heist and is not in prison as he was led to believe, but was buried at the grave that was meant for Michael instead. Trevor feels betrayed by Michael, which causes friction within the group and threatens to undermine their plans for the Union Depository. When Michael and Norton are caught in a Mexican stand-off between the FIB, IAA and private security firm Merryweather, Trevor aids in their escape claiming that only he has the right of killing Michael. Despite not forgiving Michael, Trevor agrees to part ways with him after they perform the Union Depository heist as planned.

The trio carry out the Union Depository heist, which is a success, but Franklin ends up being pressured by Haines to kill Trevor and by Weston to kill Michael. Franklin has three options: to kill Trevor, kill Michael, or let them live and face their enemies. Should Franklin kill either Michael or Trevor, he ceases contact with the survivor and returns to his old life. Alternatively, if he kills neither, the trio joins forces to withstand an onslaught from the FIB and Merryweather before going on to kill Haines, Stretch, Wei and Weston. With all their enemies disposed, the three agree to cease working together, but remain friends.

Grand Theft Auto V Gameplay

Grand Theft Auto V is an action-adventure video game played from a third-person perspective in an open world environment. The player uses melee attacks, firearms and explosives to fight enemies, and can run, jump, swim, or use vehicles to navigate the game's world. In combat, auto aim and a cover system can be used as assistance against enemies. If the player's health is low, it will gradually regenerate to its half-way point. A perpetual objective for the player is to complete missions to progress through the story, but much like other open world games, these missions can be completed at the player's leisure. If the player commits illegal acts while playing, the game's law enforcement agencies may respond, which is represented by a "Wanted" meter in the head-up display (HUD). On the meter, stars are displayed to indicate the player's current "Wanted" level; for example, at the maximum five-star "Wanted" level the efforts by law enforcement to incapacitate the player become very aggressive. Should the player escape the immediate area in which they are wanted, law enforcement officers will search for the player. At this point, the line of sight of officers displays on the mini-map; when line of sight is broken and the player is hidden, the "Wanted" meter enters a cooldown mode and eventually recedes.

The single-player mode of Grand Theft Auto V is played through three player-controlled protagonists: Michael, Trevor, and Franklin, criminals whose stories interconnect as they complete missions. While interacting with the game world, the player may switch between them at will, by means of a directional compass on the HUD. Franklin corresponds to the north point, Michael to the west, Trevor to the east, and the player's multiplayer avatar to the south. During missions, the game may switch the player's character automatically as necessary in order to complete certain objectives. A character's avatar will flash red if they are in danger and need assistance either manually or through covering fire from another, and flash white if that character has a strategic advantage or position which may aid the player's success in the mission. Though the player completes missions as any of the three protagonists, the more difficult heist missions may require aid from AI-controlled accomplices who have unique skill sets such as computer hacking or driving, and they will take a cut from the mission's cash reward upon completion. If an accomplice survives a successful heist, they may be re-used in later missions with improvements to their unique skills. Employing different strategies toward the completion of a heist mission is also encouraged by the game; for example, in a holdup mission the player may subdue civilians with an agent if stealth is favoured, or storm the venue with guns drawn.

Each character has a set of eight skills, which are numerical representations of their ability in certain areas, such as shooting and driving. While the player improves the skills of each character as they play, there is a skill assigned to each character that they have expertise in by default, such as Trevor's skill as a pilot. In addition, the eighth "special" skill determines the effectiveness in performing an ability that is unique to each respective character. Michael will enter bullet time in combat, Franklin will slow down time while driving, and Trevor will deal twice as much damage to enemies while taking half as much in combat. There is a meter on each character's HUD which depletes when an ability is being used and gradually regenerates over time when the ability is not being used.

The game is presented as an open world; it is a large, open map which can be freely roamed when the player is not partaking in missions. Composed of the open countryside area San Andreas and the fictional city of Los Santos, the world is comparatively larger in area than earlier entries in the series. The player can utilise a variety of vehicles to explore the game world, and to accommodate for the size of the map, the game introduces vehicle types that were absent in its predecessor Grand Theft Auto IV, such as fixed-wing aircraft. While free roaming the game world, the player can engage in context-specific activities; for example, the player is given a scuba set to explore the underwater sections of the world, or a parachute to partake in BASE jumping. Each character is equipped with a smartphone which can be used to contact friends, engage in activities, and access an in-game Internet. The Internet can be used to purchase properties such as homes and businesses and access a stock market that allows the player to be a stakeholder in businesses; each character can earn income by purchasing businesses and selling shares. The player can purchase upgrades for the weapons and vehicles in each character's arsenal, and customise their appearance by purchasing outfits, haircuts, tattoos, and jewellery.

Developed in tandem with the single-player mode, the online multiplayer mode Grand Theft Auto Online was conceived as a separate experience, which would be played in a continually evolving world. In it, up to 16 players are given free roam over a re-creation of the single-player setting; the plot is set two months prior to the events of single-player. Within the world, players enter lobbies to complete jobs, which are story-driven competitive and cooperative modes. The Content Creator toolset allows players to create their own parameters for custom jobs; examples include creating tracks for races and specifying spawn points for weapons in deathmatches. Players can band together in crews, which are organised teams of players who complete jobs together. Crews from the multiplayer mode of Max Payne 3 can carry over to Grand Theft Auto Online, since the Rockstar Games Social Club connects the multiplayer experiences together. A player can be a member of up to five crews or create their own, and success in multiplayer matches earns the player experience points for their crew, allowing them to progress in online leaderboards.

Reception
Grand Theft Auto V was released to critical acclaim; reviewers cited the game's multiple lead character formula, presentation and open world gameplay as its strengths. According to review aggregating website Metacritic, the game received an average review score of 97/100 for both consoles, and according to GameRankings, the game received an average review score of 97.01% and 96.20% for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, respectively. GameRankings rates its as the second-best PlayStation 3 and third-best Xbox 360 game of all time. It is also currently the fifth-highest rated game on Metacritic, tying with multiple other games, and behind only The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 2, SoulCalibur and Grand Theft Auto IV.

Acclaim was directed towards the character switching element for broadening the scope of action sequences and allowing the player to explore the game world more freely. Matt Bertz of Game Informer found that with multiple characters available for play during many of the missions, the pace of shootouts increased by keeping the player "in the thick of the action". Tom Bramwell of Eurogamer noted the character switching allowed the player to be more tactical in their approach to shootouts by setting up the characters in different strategical outposts, resulting in "far fewer standard shooting galleries" than previous Grand Theft Auto games. Keza MacDonald of IGN reflected Bramwell's opinion, explaining that giving the player multiple characters prevented missions from being "formulaic" by affording the player choice over how they approach action sequences. The staff at Edge further directed praise towards the character switching for allowing the player to progress through the game without long drives to mission start points, eliminating travel times by taking control of a character closer to the start point. Jeff Bakalar at CNET noted that the character switching element removed favouritism for one particular character by encouraging the player to engage with all three.

Reviewers directed praise toward the heist missions for underpinning the story and serving as the most memorable gameplay sequences. Bramwell praised the heist missions for their sense of scope, opining that "each heist has a blockbuster set-piece feel to it". Carolyn Petit of GameSpot agreed with Bramwell, noting the 1995 film Heat as a stylistic influence on the heist's set pieces, "in which the slow build up to the crimes makes the payoff in the action-packed scenes more intense". Jeff Gerstmann of Giant Bomb regarded the heist missions as a welcome deviation from typical Grand Theft Auto mission structure, praising the game for giving freedom to the player in their approach for each heist. Reviews praised the customisation afforded the player on each heist mission. Xav de Matos of Joystiq found that the player must be methodical when planning their approach and crew members, praising the game for encouraging creativity with each mission. Edge praised a curve in difficulty of the heist missions as the game progressed, pointing out that the player must take more time planning the later-stage heists. Chris Plante of Polygon praised the cinematic nature of the heists' action sequences as a result of the character switching ability, concluding the ability is "akin to film editing, with the player serving as editor, switching rapidly to the most interesting perspective for any moment".

Reviewers praised the scale of the open world, complimenting its realisation of Los Angeles as authentic and exceeding Grand Theft Auto IV's world. Bramwell and Jim Sterling of Destructoid praised the game for streamlining the geography of Los Angeles into a diverse and well-designed city space. Brandon Jones of GameTrailers noted the effort put in by the developers to create an open world reminiscent of Los Angeles and Californian culture, through its "interesting patchwork of Los Angeles landmarks" and the interactions the player has with contextually appropriate NPCs throughout the game. Edge identified the graphical fidelity as a factor that helped make the world enjoyable to play in, singling out the lighting and absence of load screens as strengths. Luke Albiges of Play further complimented the draw distances, as well as the weather and lighting systems. Mikel Reparez of Official Xbox Magazine noted the contrasting atmospheres between Liberty City and Los Santos, offering praise for the game's departure from Grand Theft Auto IV's "grey and gritty" Liberty City; Joel Gregory of PlayStation Official Magazine also noted the contrast, concluding Los Santos is "far more appealing". MacDonald praised the openness of the world and found exploring it enjoyable, while also praising Los Santos as a step up from Liberty City. Many praised the game and its world as a satire of contemporary American culture.

The refinements made to the game's mechanics, such as shooting and driving, were singled out by critics as making the game accessible and fun. Many favoured the responsiveness of land-based vehicles in Grand Theft Auto V over previous entries, noting that they were easier to control. "Cars have a proper sense of weight, while retaining the agility necessary for navigating through traffic at high speeds", Bertz explained. The tighter shooting mechanics were also received positively by most critics. MacDonald praised the auto-aim and cover systems; Sterling, however, felt that in spite of the improvements, "the auto-targeting system is twitchy and unreliable, while cover mechanics still come off as dated and unwieldy". Edge opined that many refinements were influenced by previous Rockstar-developed games; for example, the vehicles handle similarly to those in Midnight Club: Los Angeles. Tom Hoggins of The Telegraph noted mission checkpoints as a long overdue inclusion; MacDonald felt that "at long last, Rockstar has finally slain one of its most persistent demons, mission checkpointing".

The story and characters, particularly Trevor, polarised reviewers. Hollander Cooper of GamesRadar felt that in previous Grand Theft Auto games, inconsistencies in character development were brought out by a single lead protagonist whose moral complex was muddled, but that the contrasting personalities of the lead protagonists in Grand Theft Auto V allowed for a tighter and more engaging story. MacDonald praised the story for revolving around three lead characters who developed in complexity over the course of the game, creating "excellent pacing and great variety in the storyline". Edge agreed with her, noting each character juxtaposed the other by their background and personalities, singling out Trevor as the stand-out, which they owed to his volatile personality. Like Edge, Petit considered Trevor "a truly horrible, terrifying, psychotic human being—and a terrific character". Bramwell, however, felt that Trevor undermined the other characters because he was a "shallow and unconvincing" sensationalised anti-hero, and that "his antics derail the narrative" and overshadowed the character development of Michael and Franklin. de Matos found all three characters unlikable to the extent that they had an alienating effect on the story, noting that "though each character has a valid motivation for his journey, it's difficult to want them to succeed". He also felt that the ambivalence between Michael and Trevor was a tired device by the story's conclusion as it became a "seemingly endless cycle" of conflict between them, whereas Franklin was the only character "that achieve any meaningful growth". Greg Tito of The Escapist felt the characters suffered from a lack of likeability by acting out of greed, with no sense of morality to "pull along in supporting them".

Overall, Grand Theft Auto V was praised in several reviews as one of the best games of the seventh generation era, and was applauded as a great closing title before the emergence of the eighth generation era. It was hailed by MacDonald as a "landmark" and "one of the very best video games ever made", while PlayStation Universe's Kyle Prahl called Grand Theft Auto V a "masterpiece" and "one of the greatest games ever made". XGN's Sebastiaan Quekel named the game "the magnum opus of the current generation", while Gregory considered it the "finest game of the generation". Reparaz and Cooper called Grand Theft Auto V "one of the most impressive games" and "one of the most exciting games" of its generation, respectively. Identifying Grand Theft Auto V as a "near-perfect gaming experience", Gameplanet's James Cullinane touted it as a game that was "defining a generation", and believed it to be "the last word on this generation of gaming". Prahl complimented the game as a "stunning triumph" that "gives this console generation the send-off it deserves". Reparaz labelled it "a great last hurrah before we step up to the next ", with Gregory opining that the game would "make next-gen look bad for a long time to come". Simon Miller of VideoGamer.com concluded Grand Theft Auto V is "the ultimate swansong for this console cycle", and further added that it would "cast a long shadow over the next too". Plante observed that the game would be "a bridge between games' present and the future", before declaring it "the closure of this generation, and the benchmark for the next".


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