Jake Pelenis // Arts Columnist
The gaming industry’s favorite megalomania simulator is back with it’s latest edition, and it is oh so good. Grand Theft Auto V is less of a step forward for the series but more of a refinement of its past strengths. The game is a dazzling swan song for the current generation of video game consoles and I highly suggest that you play it immediately. Polished to a mirror sheen, it has a magnitude beyond what any open world game has dared to attempt, and it sports one of the most brilliant and hysterical scripts to be featured in a video game.
The big new feature touted for GTA V is the addition of having three main protagonists that the player can switch between on the fly. There’s Michael, a retired bank robber who spends most of his time by his pool sipping mimosas and wondering why his son won’t stop smoking pot and playing video games. On the other side of the socio-economic ladder is Franklin, a gangbanger trying to rise above petty theft and tow truck driving. Lastly there is the despicable Trevor, a speed addicted mad- man with a penchant for public nudity and drug sales.
The storyline of GTA V centers around these characters trying to keep their heads above water in Los Santos, a deeply satirized version of Los Angeles. The main missions are tent-poled by several heists that lift the gameplay to exhilarating heights. An early example of this is a heist your crew pulls off by disguising themselves as exterminators and pumping knock-out gas into the ventilation system of a jewelry store. Multiple missions prior to the heist task you with preparing for it by stealing an exterminator van or picking the key members of your crew. The preparation missions make the end result extremely satisfying. I did find the main storyline to lull a bit at certain points and it seemed to not really know where it was going, but the brilliant dialogue and enthralling characters kept me compelled the whole way through.
The most impressive aspect of GTA V is the game world itself. It is the most awe inspiring and diverse sand box I have seen in a game to date. The view of cresting over a mountain in the Blaine County countryside and seeing a sprawling vista of lakes and small towns still has not lost its sense of astonishment even after spending over twenty hours with the game. From the slums of South Los Santos to the glamorous mansions in the Vinewood Hills, the city feels as glitzy and terrifying as its real life counterpart. Rockstar Games popularized the open world genre of video games but now it has reached perfection. This will come less as a surprise and more as a confirmation but, Grand Theft Auto V is a masterpiece. If you can handle its crass nature and abundant violence, do not pass up the chance to experience this game.