Our Audio Review of Grand Theft Auto 5 is here: Grand Theft Auto 5: Reading the Text.
Title: Grand Theft Auto 5
Developer: Rockstar Games
Time Played: Approximately 45 Hours
We Did Receive a Review Copy of this Game.
Story Depth: 10/Superb
The story of Grand Theft Auto 5 is incredibly human and tragic. The engagement with age, family, ambition, psychosis, and friendship is, especially for this medium, shockingly frank. Michael, who is the pivot point for the whole game, also engages in myriad human conflicts far beyond the simple “I want to be the good guy, but I’m doing bad things” trope we have seen in GTA stories of the past.
World Immersion: 10/Superb
Rockstar continues to give us worlds that feel incredibly alive and dense. Every part of GTA 5’s extensive landscape has ample flesh on its bones. From numerous eateries (not just the couple standard fast-food places) to hikers in the mountains, to small towns sprinkled across the desert, the world is packed. The radio, random events, and the street dialog all help to make this one of the most realized worlds in gaming.
Player Freedom: 9/Excellent
To open up side missions and even different weapons in the Ammunation stores, you need to progress down a central story line. It is a linear path with a few choices sprinkled in along the way. Where player freedom really shines, however, is during the heist missions where you can choose how to do the missions and who to bring with you. But, while there’s a ton to do at most times, GTA doesn’t offer the kind of freedom that best in class RPG’s, like Skyrim, do.
Direct Religious Reference: 5/Average
Actual religion gets only a mention in the game at the very beginning, as I mention in the audio review. But the cults of Epsilom and the Children of the Mountain are both somewhat prominent in the game world. While these are pokes at religion, they are clearly pokes at cultish movements. One could see the figure of Fabien as a similar poke at yogic practices, but he’s more likely simply a poke at the stereotypical male-yoga teacher.
Theology Score: 8.5/Well Above Average/Excellent
Rockstar has put together an incredible package of things to do in GTA 5, most of which are really fun. However, the planning of heists, and the cooperative combat missions stand out from the rest. Moving between characters while taking on overwhelming odds only gets more engaging and enjoyable as the game goes on. If there is a is that these high points are not more plentiful.
Perhaps in six months we will look back at this game and wish it were in higher definition. But for now, it is one of the best looking experiences you can have on a console. While other games have appeared somewhat lackluster in comparison with their PC brethren of late, Grand Theft Auto 5 looks simply stunning. Draw distances and some pop-in and hair effects, the only real drawbacks, are easily overlooked. For such a massive scope, and dense world, it is really a breathtaking achievement on our current hardware.
The voice acting, the radio stations, the classic hip-hop, and the report of weapons all make this an amazing sounding game. There’s not much more that can be said beyond praising very highly the whole voice cast of the game, and giving special mention to Danny Tamberelli and Steven Ogg for their roles as Jimmy and Trevor respectively.
Control: 8/Well Above Average
Control is still the one slight weak point that GTA 5 has. Cars are still a bit too floaty and skittish. They lack the kind of weight that would make them fly off of mountain roads a bit less. This is rarely a serious problem, but some missions do require the kind of precision that only Franklin’s special power can offer. Combat is vastly improved over the previous games, and only in close combat did it seem to seriously stumble.
Gaming Score: 9.5/Excellent/Superb