independent

Friday 31 October 2014

GTA offering is the pinnacle of modern gaming

Published 24/09/2013 | 05:30

THIS week's game is a perfect example of what can happen when you grant video game makers the resources and time to completely fulfil their creative vision.

Grand Theft Auto 5 truly steps far and beyond the call of duty, to the point where I seriously can't think of many - if any - other games where such minute levels of detail have been so vastly covered.

Grand Theft Auto V's plot operates just on the boundaries of the plausible. While it may be very wacky, and basically a satirical assasination of American society, it isn't totally off-the-radar crazy like Saints Row's latest offering.

The well-written and acted interplay between the three protagonists provides the biggest laughs and most affecting moments in the game, and the way that their relationships with one another developed gave the narrative its power. They feel like people - albeit completely dysfunctional people.

The actual act of switching between them also provides a window into their individual lives and habits, fleshing out their personalities in a way that feels natural and novel. Pick a character and the camera zooms out over the San Andreas map, closing back in on wherever they happen to be.

Michael might be at home watching TV when you drop in on him, or speeding along the motorway blasting '80s hits, or having a cigarette at the golf club; Franklin might be walking out of a strip club, munching a bag of snacks at home, or arguing with his ex-girlfriend; there's a good chance that Trevor could be passed out half naked on a beach surrounded by dead bodies or, on one memorable occasion, drunk in a stolen police helicopter.

It's the heists - multi-stage, huge-scale events that serve as the story's climactic peaks - that show Grand Theft Auto V at its most ambitious and accomplished. Usually there's a choice between a more involved, stealthier option that will (hopefully) attract less heat, and an all-out option that will be less tense but more explosively chaotic - and what crew to take along with you on the job.

All of GTA V's missions are replayable at any time, letting you relive favourite moments or try out another approach. They also have optional objectives in the vein of Assassin's Creed's synchronisation challenges, but crucially, these are invisible the first time you play a mission, and so they don't distract you from doing things your own way.

Their literally aren't enough hours in the day to fully describe this game, and how great it is. This is literally the pinnacle of modern gaming, and the standard that every game developer should now aspire to. Grand Theft Auto 5 has reached levels of near-perfection - you need this game.

Enniscorthy Guardian

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