Grand Theft Auto V is the latest installment of the popular Rockstar North franchise, and for the first time in its illustrious history features not only one but three playable characters to utilize in this latest outing. So there is already something revolutionary that will keep the dedicated fans happily playing for hours.
The storyline is set in the fictionally named Los Santos which is a faithfully recreated version of real world Los Angeles. With poverty stricken concrete jungles such as South Central, that is filled with dilapidated housing and pawn shops, as well as the troublesome street gang culture that usually comes with the territory.
While Vinewood in stark contrast is the home and hang out of the rich and famous, with streets that are aligned with expensive looking restaurants, boutiques and cinemas that cater for the rich and famous. Towards the north are the wealthy hilltops where you will find the luxury homes of the Santos elite.
Travelling beyond Vinewood you will come across the sprawling desert littered with industry and oil pumps. You will also find the hills and valleys surrounding Mount Chiliad, with little hick towns and sprawling forests of trees that attract the obligatory hoard of hillbillies out hunting the local wildlife with their trusty rifles.
On the southern reaches of Los Santos is the beachfront area where bikini clad babes and muscle bound iron men are inhabitants, who like nothing better than to sunbathe and indulge in the various water sports, running and cycling activities. This is where you will also find the huge and busy Los Santos International airport, with various planes and jets taking off from the two main runways.
Surrounding this vast island of activity is the sprawling oceans and rivers for you to explore with the various sea worthy vehicles. And for the first time you can dive beneath the waves and explore the hidden depths, swimming through shipwrecks finding sunken treasure while trying to avoid the man-eating sharks that stalk the deep.
Taking the time to explore the vast landscape and oceans (which are unlocked from the beginning) will uncover the game map as you progress. And doing so can have some major benefits for any of the characters you control while doing so. Engaging in activities like playing tennis, swimming, cycling, or even a visit to the local shooting range will improve your strength, stamina and aiming abilities.
All this however merely acts as a backdrop to what the game storyline is truly about. Namely the three main characters that are Franklin a young black guy who resides from the hood of South Central born into poverty looking to work his way out; Michael a boozing old bank robber who faked his death, so he could retire to the high life with his estranged wife and two not so adorable children; and Franklin the angry but lovable sociopath who likes banging hookers and hanging around in his underpants.
Switching between each of the characters by pressing down on the game controller you can start to engage in the various main story and side missions available. The in game heists that promised a lot are merely two options offered up by tech-head Lester of going in with a well thought out plan, or going in loud with guns a blazing. Planned missions do however offer up some interesting side missions to collect the various vehicles, disguises and weapons needed for the job.
There are literally loads of vehicles and weapons for you to customize to help with completing the various missions and you even have the latest smart phone with internet access at your disposal, if you need to purchase vehicles or take a look at the daily share prices. With the main storyline and side missions introducing you to the multitude of strange and wonderful characters that reside in the city of Los Santos, you are sure to be entertained by the immersive game play for months.
Another first is the inclusion of Grand Theft Auto online which at the beginning had a lot of teething troubles thanks to the server overload. Online play can be rather fun especially if you have several friends who own the game, where you can create gangs to terrorize other gangs of players or do heists and rob stores.
Overall Grand Theft Auto V is both technically and visually stunning, and Rockstar North have yet again raised the bar with the standards set for this genre of video games. Fans of the Grand Theft Auto series and those yet to discover its inner delights, will be tantalized and thrilled by the dark and humored filled world of Los Santos.