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
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User Comments

doublewhiskey's Avatar

doublewhiskey

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

MrHEWBO

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

Bloodstorm

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
Batmamerc's Avatar

Batmamerc

10 out of 10 is that all!!! Lol doesn't surprise and I'm so relieved, I seem to be the only person left alive that loved GTA 4 and still does so if its better than that I know I'm gonna have to cancel my xbone pre order. P.s I like the 300 character count limit for reviews, I was worried you were going to give in to ppl but you haven't and it worked, I got what I needed to know, now ill read the rest when I get more time.
Posted 17:49 on 16 September 2013
AdesteFideles's Avatar

AdesteFideles

Glad to hear that it's a 30-hour game; GTA4 dragged on so much I never finished it.
Posted 17:41 on 16 September 2013
Garviel's Avatar

Garviel

Is it really? GTA 4 had the same critic hype going for it, 10/10 EVERYWHERE.. But when i got it i hardly felt it even deserved to go above 9 and i know tons of people who got bored with it half way through..

That doesn't seem like the mark of a 10/10 game... So the question is, are you absolutely SURE you aren't overhyping this?
Posted 16:48 on 16 September 2013
DancingRhino's Avatar

DancingRhino

Woohoo.
Posted 16:15 on 16 September 2013
tvr77's Avatar

tvr77@ Neon-Soldier32

Not sure the two can be compared, i obviously have not played GTA V yet but i'm sure there will be a lot more fun to be had with it. At the end of the day i think it will come down to personal preference with games such as these TLOU and GTA V are just two very different breeds and equally great.
Posted 16:14 on 16 September 2013
Neon-Soldier32's Avatar

Neon-Soldier32

What's the worst thing about GTA V?

Kudos with this 300 word review, I thought that the format for this game would be abysmal, but you seem to have pulled it off, well done!

Edit: Oh, and is it better than The Last of Us?
Posted 16:02 on 16 September 2013
tvr77's Avatar

tvr77

10/10 I think i always expected as much but its great to see it confirmed.
I seriously can't wait till morning, i'm off to game for 8am back home for half past and then i'm spending all day with this beast, oh and plenty of strong coffee.
Posted 16:01 on 16 September 2013

Game Stats

Grand Theft Auto 5
10
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: 1
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