GTA 5 Review

Unless you play it for yourself, it's near impossible to grasp how big GTA 5 is. It's not just the world. It's the gargantuan story, the sheer amount of missions and the variety introduced with them, the activities to take part in, or the secrets waiting to be unveiled. It's a highlight of the generation.

How Rockstar managed to achieve this on current technology is baffling. Regardless of what your opinion is in regards to the franchise, no-one can question 5's technical merit. It's the open world game we've all come to know and love, just polished and improved to a much higher standard.

Clearly looking at the highs and lows of past iterations, Rockstar has brought back elements some felt were missing from 4 and mixed them near-perfectly with those that have always stood the test of time.

The reintroduction of skill bars, boosted by your in-game actions, is one such example. Combat and driving have always split opinion, but these attributes improve as your chosen character participates in them, further mitigating old concerns. Shooting and racing are much improved at their core. The same can be said for the special abilities. Slightly jarring at first, the more they're embraced the better, and more entertaining, they become. There's a noticeable evolution throughout, and a constant sense of progression.

A similar process is mirrored in the three main characters themselves. On some level Michael (Tommy Vercetti), Franklin (CJ) and Trevor (Claude) represent iconic figures from yesteryear, but by the end of their 30 hour plus story* the differences are night and day. Each is conceived and executed far better than their older counterparts, possessing the ability to make you love and hate them depending on where the always unpredictable narrative heads. Having the trio intertwine during missions is just the clichéd icing on the cake.

Both 'the best of' and the best offering in the entire series, GTA 5 easily lives up to the hype. The ultimate swansong for this console cycle, but also a game that'll cast a long shadow over the next one too.

*Time mentioned represents the structured narrative only.

Version tested: Xbox 360. Game played for 37 hours.

10 / 10

  • It's beautiful to look at
  • Missions constantly surprise
  • Characters are excellent
  • The world is gargantuan yet packed full of content

Click above for enlarged Grand Theft Auto 5 Screenshots

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User Comments

Karlius's Avatar

Karlius@ Xyphien

Not true I ran a red light in front of a cop last night and got a 1* wanted level however I have also turned right on a red (Which is permissible in USA) in front of a cop and no wanted level I thought that fantastic. I did a 180 handbrake into another car in front of a COP and again got a 1* wanted level so not a hoax.
Posted 11:27 on 20 September 2013
RFMarcy's Avatar


Rockstar Are going to start having to offer out refunds me and over 15 of my friends keep having our GTA freeze all the time
Posted 09:26 on 20 September 2013
Xyphien's Avatar


It is by far the best GTA ever made, though the cop system was very disappointing compared to what I was hearing. I heard they would be a lot stricter, if you ran red lights, ect. in front of cops you'd get a wanted level, but it was a hoax sadly :(
Posted 02:25 on 19 September 2013
catichapati's Avatar


But is it better than Red Dead?
Posted 19:31 on 17 September 2013
Bloodstorm's Avatar

Bloodstorm@ SimonMiller

I was one of the very few people who was for the No Russian scene, it set up whatshisface as the bad guy perfectly, it showed you just how far he'd go to achieve his goal even if it means massacring innocents.

This scene, i'll really need to play for myself, i know what roughly happens but unlike some people, i won't make an assumption before i see it (if you ignore my DMC attitude months and months back).
Posted 18:58 on 17 September 2013
Batmamerc's Avatar


Damn how bad is this scene, is it bad like one of them beheading videos them fudge wits put on Facebook or is it bad in a sense of no Russian off of cod? If its the latter then I'm presuming its just another case of gamers been too sensitive again, I remember when none gaming critics use to try and ban games for such things, but now gaming critics and upper class gamers seem to be doing that for them, in a 18 rated game I'm not surprised to see nudity violence gore drugs swearing etc, everything that made GTA famous in the beginning, without the controversy of yester year I don't think video games would be where they are today, games like GTA V would be censored to something more like the Simpsons games, cod wouldn't exist for pointless violence reasons and you can forget games like heavy rain. We need controversy in games only then will we ever be able to truly compare video games to movies. If it is equivalent to the horrible Facebook videos then I take all that back cos they give me nightmares.
Posted 18:53 on 17 September 2013
MJTH's Avatar

MJTH@ SimonMiller

It all depends on whether a person feel the scene added to the overall experience, because it made them feel emotions that you don't usually get when playing a video game. Or whether said scene detracted from a persons experience, because no matter how much this scene pushes the medium forward in terms of mature theme, it was still horrendous and still made them feel awkward.

Neither side is right or wrong in this case. In fact, there are probably many different shades of grey between the two. Any who marks the up, down or doesn't change there views on the game as a whole are justified in their opinions. What is important in the end, is not the scene itself, but whether we are able to discuss maturely in the future (when there is no fear of spoilers).
Posted 07:24 on 17 September 2013


Great review Simon! No spoilers, simple and well written. One of the many reasons I come to your website. Also I know this is a UK website so im going to say im envious of all you people and your time zone. I'm in Vancouver, Canada and I wont see the game till later on....However, cheers to good gaming
Posted 00:57 on 17 September 2013
MrHEWBO's Avatar


so im going to go buy this at midnight now...
Posted 22:31 on 16 September 2013
SimonMiller's Avatar

SimonMiller@ MJTH

I referenced that scene very by the by in my article on the characters - I didn't think it fair to spoil it.

At the time I did feel very uncomfortable playing it, and there is an argument to be had there, but I don't think it's reason enough to mark the game down a point. It's within character/context, even if it is very controversial.

Ultimately, if games are to be taken on the same level as books/films - which they definitely should be - then they have to be treated as such. I've seen plenty of critically acclaimed movies that get great reviews despite some horrendous scenes.

Just my two cents, anyway. That people are having the debate is great all around.
Posted 22:07 on 16 September 2013
MJTH's Avatar

MJTH@ Bloodstorm

Not everywhere gave it a ten, eurogamer game it a 9, and most of the commenters seemed pretty tame.

I think those who give this game a 9 are justified as many reviewers have all said that there is a certain controversial scene/ bit of gameplay mid way through the game that left them disgusted and disgruntled. Which when you consider the gore in most games nowadays, this is saying something.

Apparently also, the escapist gave this game a 7, but I've personally not trusted them in years, after horror stories of how they've treated contributors in the past.
Posted 21:21 on 16 September 2013
Bloodstorm's Avatar


Perfect scores every where except Gamespot

Can you guess what the reviewer was subjected to?

Hint- Nothing good.
Posted 20:18 on 16 September 2013
essex1212's Avatar

essex1212@ pblive

I like the new format.

Good stuff Videogamer :)
Posted 19:12 on 16 September 2013
essex1212's Avatar

essex1212@ Neon-Soldier32

If you are still not sold then this in game commercial might make up your mind.

YouTube Video
Posted 19:04 on 16 September 2013
FantasyMeister's Avatar

FantasyMeister@ Batmamerc

I still love GTA 4 too :)
Posted 18:06 on 16 September 2013

Game Stats

Grand Theft Auto 5
Out of 10
Grand Theft Auto 5
  • It's beautiful to look at
  • Missions constantly surprise
  • Characters are excellent
  • The world is gargantuan yet packed full of content
Agree? Disagree? Get Involved!
Release Date: 18/11/2014
Platforms: Xbox 360 , PS4 , Xbox One , PS3 , PC
Developer: Rockstar
Publisher: Rockstar
Genre: Action
Rating: PEGI 18+
Site Rank: 5
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