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Grand Theft Auto V Review – Grand Ambitions

With Grand Theft Auto V, Rockstar Games presents us an ambient playground, filled with profound detail, hilarious satire, and ambitious scope. Rockstar Games egresses the gloomy, yet memorable Liberty City seen in Grand Theft Auto IV, and returns us the fictional western state of San Andreas – based off Southern California, respectively. San Andreas was previously seen in 2004’s Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. The open-world map of San Andreas includes the city of Los Santos and its surrounding hills, countryside, mountains, and beaches – all exquisitely modeled in geographic detail.  Grand Theft Auto V’s map is larger than the worlds of Grand Theft Auto IV, Red Dead Redemption, and Grand Theft Auto San Andreas combined. The sprawling sun soaked city of Los Santos; the locale players will most likely indulge in predominantly, is bustling with satirical culture, attention to the littlest details, and active NPC status – all waiting to be discovered by the player.

If you thought Grand Theft Auto IV’s Niko Bellic was a handful, wait until you play its sequel. In Grand Theft Auto V, you play as not one, but three very different, yet satisfyingly compelling protagonists. Family man Michael De Santa, a retired bank robber dwelling off past glories in witness protection, while dealing with midlife crisis turmoils. Franklin Clinton, the archetypal gangbanger residing in southern Los Santos, with ambitions stipulating towards high life success, mirroring the respect of his gang and best friend. Last, but definitely not least- Trevor Phillips, the nefariously hilarious psychopath that perfectly pertains to the free roaming fun of any Grand Theft Auto game – f*cking sh*t up!


It’s no surprise when Rockstar brings innovation to the table. With Grand Theft Auto V’s three protagonists, you can simultaneously switch between the three in a flick of a button. This not only works in missions (whenever any of the protagonists are together), but also in the open world whenever the player is outside of a mission. Yep, that means you can switch between any of the three protagonists anytime you want, and barge in to what they’re doing. Lets say you’re playing as Trevor, that means Michael and Franklin have active AI status – you can literally find them up to their own business around the state of San Andreas. I myself switched to Trevor in his underwear, waking up in the beach next to several corpses. This is just one of GTA V’s plethora of random character switching instances.

Grand Theft Auto V’s plot; evidently, displays a profound aspect in dynamic storytelling and core mission structure. The campaign length of Grand Theft Auto V might be curtailed in comparison to its predecessors; however, mission structure is at its forefront apex in GTA V. With a convergent checkpoint system, players finally will not have to be worrisome towards restarting a mission from scratch upon failing. Grand Theft Auto V’s plot, exceptionally written by Dan Houser and Rupert Humphries, accommodates a sharp narrative, with comically uproarious satirical humor, stereotyping American culture. Missions now include dynamic musical score, fostering any zealous or dynamic tendencies constructed in a mission.

The story of GTA V focuses on Michael being forced back into the audacious game of performing heists, when needing to pay off an infuriated Mexican cartel leader, and being blackmailed by corrupt and mutual federal agents. Franklin, inspired by Michael’s tales of past glories, accompanies him in these heists in pursuit of prosperous earnings. An agitated Trevor Phillips is later sunk in the pool of bad guys after gaining cognition of Michaels existence, when believing Michael was dead for nearly a decade. It’s up to the three to settle the score and tie up loose ends. Players can expect memorable action packed missions presented in Grand Theft Auto V’s campaign.

For the most part, everything that can be done in previous Grand Theft Auto installments can be done in GTA V, but in a more polished and amusing fashion. Grand Theft Auto V displays no rudimentary elements of gameplay. Its gameplay is extremely versatile – you’ll never feel to do the same exact thing more than once. Everything has profound explication implemented, whether you’re flying a fighter jet underneath a bridge, or performing a drive-by on a dune buggy, all while ramping off a cliff. Furthermore, GTA V’s shooting, driving, and covering mechanics have been noticeably enhanced. Shooting feels more tightly toned, with a run & gunning system implemented, along with high-degree aiming, while taking cover includes quick, yet polished procedural transitions. Vehicles, no longer handling like boats, are easy to regulate much to the players convenience. New gameplay elements introduced to Grand Theft Auto V are character special abilities. Michael, similar to Max Payne’s bullet time, can activate a slow-motion ability when on foot – this is best used during gunfights upon utilization of firearms. Franklin can drive vehicles in slow-motion, similar to Midnight Club’s zone mode – this is best used in races, stunts, or police chases. Lastly, Trevor can activate a rage mode, where he is invincible for a short duration and all his attacks inflict twice the damage – this is best utilized when in a firefight, or when simply messing around.


Mini-games have always been indulging side content in the series. Many mini-games previously seen in previous Grand Theft Auto titles have been removed; however, as Rockstar promised, there are now more fully-fledged mini-games to play. Mini-games include a convivial 9-hole game of golf, tennis, triathlons, flight school, darts, making it rain (if you know what I mean), drinking, and much more. Trevor – exclusively, can go hunting in the northern woods of San Andreas. Animals such as domestic dogs, birds, coyotes, deer, cougars, and even great white sharks can be found around the world. Franklin himself owns a Rottweiler named Chop, whom you can play and train with, via using Rockstar’s companion app iFruit instated on iOS and Android devices. Protagonists can perform several mini-games together through hanging out by giving each other a phone call. Furthermore, Dynamic encounters returning from Rockstar’s Red Dead Redemption appear in GTA V as well. Players can choose to completely ignore dynamic instances, or proceed to check them out. There are over fifty dynamic encounters, and several unravel into full on side-missions.

Players previously complaining on Grand Theft Auto IV’s lack of player customization can expect the opposite in the newest installment. There are several clothing stores, barbershops, and tattoo fronts located around the bodacious locales of Los Santos, and San Andrea’s small towns. Michael, Franklin, and Trevor can all be customized with a colossal quantity of clothing, haircuts, and tattoos, among other various accessories. Further customization can be applied on vehicles. You can upgrade the performance of your personal vehicle and customize it meticulously. In GTA V, players can spend well earned expenses on properties with advantageous revenue to garner, vehicles from the internet (or street) to customize, player customization, and many more little trinkets.This alleviates the futility of a huge wallet with nothing to spend on, a previous issue in Grand Theft Auto IV. The cellphone returns as well, but this time the player has access to an in-game camera and internet (here comes the abundance of selfies). A real time and fully working in-game stock market is included as well for the player to regulate.


Players signed up with a Rockstar Social account can upload and monitor personal stats, in-game pictures, and favorite music derived from the diverse selection of songs from GTA V’s radio. To alleviate long distance traveling around the map, players can quickly fast travel in a taxi much to the players convergence.

Grand Theft Auto IV was the first true next generation title I played on the Xbox 360. In 2008, GTA IV was simply ahead of its time with its imposing technology. Fortunately, NaturalMotion’s Euphoria engine returns, rendering dynamic motion synthesis and presenting exceptional physics with procedurally rendered AI animations; furthermore, Bullet Library Physics renders simple dynamic physics, while also procedurally generating exceptional crash effects dynamically cropped on vehicles upon collision. It’s nice to see Rockstar sufficiently utilizing their impressive technology, while being greatly optimizable of the Playstation 3’s and Xbox 360’s power.

Through great explication, Rockstar nailed the atmosphere of Grand Theft Auto V, thanks to the exceptional lighting, attentive detail, and geography presented in the state of San Andreas. Mountains and hills in the distance look great, and city streets are bustling with life. Every light source you see is actually parent to a model. Walking around the ghetto of Southern Los Santos can derive a completely different tone than that of walking around VineWood hills in Northern Los Santos. Animations, lighting, character models – everything, has been greatly improved on, or fostered in GTA V in competitive comparison to previous GTA titles. This is Rockstar’s best looking game aesthetically. The ambient lighting renders great reflective depth in the environment, and sound effects pertain to the immersion. You can simply stand in a city street, and hear NPC’s chatter on their phones, drivers listening to their radios, the footsteps of joggers running, dogs barking, engines regulating, vehicles bustling, and much more. This is just in the city alone – expect to hear different audio effects in a small town or on the top of a mountain, compared to downtown Los Santos. Rockstar nailed the look of Grand Theft Auto V’s environment, that is exceptionally rendered by Rockstar’s own intellectual engine called RAGE. Grand Theft Auto V, without a doubt, is one of the most detailed and immersive video games I have ever played, yet indulged in.


For a game containing such a huge world with so much activity transpiring, it’s astonishing to see so few glitches. Throughout my first play-through of the game, I only witnessed two minor bugs. Rockstar, as promised, delivered an exceptionally optimized game for the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3. It’s seldom for frame rate drops to occur. The only issue I can complain with GTA V, is the brute and persistent force the police performs abate toward the player during a wanted level. With great accuracy and driving AI, it’s best to stay the hell away from the Los Santos Police Department, or at best- circumvent them!

It’s impressively conventional on Rockstar’s part to develop an ambitious game that works. A game with recognizable innovations. Lets hope gamers, casual or not, can appreciate Rockstar’s profound work and artistry displayed in Grand Theft Auto V. Not many games attain a place on the noteworthy shelf of masterpieces. It’s safe to say Grand Theft Auto V won’t be collecting any dust soon, and is only further proving why Rockstar are one of the greatest developers.

Our Rating
Bottom Line

It’s impressively conventional on Rockstar’s part to develop an ambitious game that works. A game with recognizable innovations. Lets hope gamers, casual or not, can appreciate Rockstar’s profound work and artistry displayed in Grand Theft Auto V. Not many games attain a place on the noteworthy shelf of masterpieces.

Our Rating
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About The Author
Avid gamer, student, motor enthusiast and all around nerd! Also the managing editor around here.
  • Dave4321

    Very good review. My only complaint is that I would have liked some arrows on the road (like in the races) instead of having to look at the mini map all the time.

  • BombTheNation

    Good review man!

    • Dave__Archer

      Thanks, my brother wrote it. I need to step up my review game up.

      • BombTheNation

        He’s a good writer! It wouldn’t hurt to see some more reviews on the site 🙂

        • Dave__Archer

          Planning on posting more reviews on the site, love sharing my opinion on games with people. Actually writing one right now.

          • BombTheNation

            Sounds great! What’s it about if you don’t mind me asking?

          • Dave__Archer

            Pokemon X and Y, after that going to try and get reviews done a lot faster. Lot’s of great games coming out.

          • BombTheNation

            Not really a Pokemon fan but it still should be an interesting read. Looking forward to it!