Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Grand Theft Auto V (Preview III)

September 17, 2013 (Release Date)
PS3, Xbox 360

Developed by Rockstar North

Published by Rockstar Games

Rockstar will both put this generation to bed and breathe new life into it in one week's time with Grand Theft Auto V.

A week from right now I better be playing Grand Theft Auto V. I fear what will have happened in my life if I'm not. Far and away my most anticipated game of the year, Grand Theft Auto V is the swan song for this console generation, not just for Rockstar Games, but for the systems themselves. From all I've read, heard and seen this game is a massive endeavor and will be pushing the envelope in all the ways that the series has become known for. In terms of technology, in terms of content, and in terms of sheer amount of gameplay.

This marks the third preview I've done for the game. I've previously covered the innovative three main character system that the single player game throws at our feet and discussed how it's (unsurprisingly) the biggest entry in the series to date. What more can be said to increase our collective anticipation? Last week IGN posted exclusive Grand Theft Auto V content every single day beginning with "World's First Hands-On With Grand Theft Auto V," words by Luke Reilly and a video conversation between IGN UK's Alex Simmons and Daniel Krupa. Taking from IGN scoops and other recent sources around the web I will now share what has me more psyched than ever for the most expensive video game of all-time - not that that has anything to do with it, but clearly it does.

In several ways GTA V is an ultimate Rockstar Games experience, almost a greatest hits collection for them. Not only is it building upon each previous entry in the tentpole franchise, their other games are showing their influence. Everything from the racing of Midnight Club to the mechanics lifted from Rockstar Table Tennis. Even the surrounding country side is what part of Red Dead's territory would look like today. For more on this checkout Luke Reilly's "Grand Theft Auto V: The Sum of All Peers" over on IGN.

I could mention how the game world is reportedly 49 square miles, the actual map of which is believed to have leaked online (above). What's more, the entire map is available to players right from the beginning with a cloud over unexplored territory similar to modern Bethesda games. There's 17 radio stations in the game, 2 of which are talk radio. All this in addition to some 20 hours of original soundtrack, a first for a GTA game. There's more cars and weapons than any previous entry as well. Cops now have a "cone of vision," a much more realistic AI than the radius system we saw in GTA IV and Red Dead Redemption, which was already a vast improvement over what came before.

It appears that you can switch between the three characters (Michael, Franklin and Trevor) on certain missions (heists I'm assuming) and at anytime during non-mission play. Apparently each of the three have a special ability (i.e Franklin has a bonus when it come to vehicle handling) which I won't lie, irks me a little. Giving "game-y" abilities to characters in an otherwise realistic game tends to pull me out of the experience. Such was/is the case with The Last of Us where you have a sensory talent that allows you to see through wall. On a merrier note, gone are the hidden packages and here (though not necessarily in lieu of) are radio announcements leading you to certain side-missions and the like.

Let's see, you can play full tennis and golf, participate in running and bicycles races (and of course a number of automobile races too), commander every type of vehicle imaginable including some type of submersible now, go to the movie theater, play the stock market, invest in real estate, the list goes on and on. And on. And I've yet to even make mention of Grand Theft Auto Online, a recent announcement that is replacing the game's multiplayer and is it's standalone experience. Fear not, it comes as a downloadable feature for all who buy Grand Theft Auto V, available on October 1st. More on Grand Theft Auto Online in its own upcoming preview.

For a lot more information I recommend checking out "Grand Theft Auto V: Your Questions Answered," a video with Daniel Krupa and Alex Simmons. 

I leave you with the official gameplay video they released in July, but because I haven't done a post since before that it's time now.

Words by J.S. Lewis

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