Rockstar Games has done incredibly well with their Grand Theft Auto series, it was critically reviewed and denounced as an “evil” game on its release back in 1996 for the PC, yet they managed to still sell 8 million copies when Vice City came out. Like other violent games that changed the way people looked at video games, Grand Theft Auto has been the scapegoat for numerous bad dealings in human interactions since it was released and will most likely continue to catch the same amount of spotlight regarding it’s generally violent nature and the ability to do anything you want as a player. There has always been, and will always be some sort of spotlight on Grand Theft Auto as being one of the coolest free roam, open world games to ever be released, but also one of the most controversial games that continues to stay on the shelves today.
Grand Theft Auto 5 is very close to us, scheduled to be released on the 17th of September, Rockstar Games released the official trailer yesterday. From the looks of the trailer, Instead of going with your typical GTA, Rockstar has elected to offer three protagonists to play as instead of one. These changes will not only rock the foundations of the series by spreading the focus between main characters Franklin, Trevor, & Michael, it also changes the way the story progresses. No longer do you have to continue on with the excruciating story of one character, you may instead switch to one of the other members of “The Crew” and play through them instead.
This really brings about a new way to play GTA, and also allows plenty of adaptation from the player’s perspective. That being said, could Grand Theft Auto get any more controversial compared to the previous games that have been released? In the official release trailer and the trailers before it, you get a heavy vibe of each characters past coming back to haunt them, and a sense of redemption or atonement for lost time, previous mistakes and recreating the bond between a crew of bank robbers & heist execution. The trailers and explanations give the game a very story heavy feel to it, unlike the previous GTA games where the story felt very transparent and rushed, this gives GTA 5 a very story driven feel to it. But will this change how the game works?
There was never anything more satisfying in Grand Theft Auto than entering every cheat code possible and walking around town with your unrealistic RPG physics blowing up the elderly and police force alike while they are two feet from you. The free roam aspect of Grand Theft Auto was what gave it its name in the first place and made it such a good game, let’s face it, people like a power fantasy. I couldn’t imagine a single person not loving the freedom to be able to do whatever they feel, whenever they feel, and Grand Theft Auto has always offers that. But will a more story driven game downplay the free roam?
Of course you’ll still be able to wander the streets and blow up unsuspecting citizens, get into chases with police cars and try to outrun them after you’ve just taken a jump in a Banshee and smashed through a helicopter, but what happens when the story is better? With Grand Theft Auto 5 looking to promise a bigger, more enticing story, it strikes fear that the free roam may not be the coolest part. That doesn’t sound like a completely terrible thing to be honest, in fact I myself expect to be overwhelmed by the amount of option and choice in the game, and I can only hope it will exceed those of its predecessors, but I don’t want the free roam to be less than average.
One of my biggest problems with other sandbox games was just that, an incredible option to travel wherever you would like and do whatever you would like, but the story somehow just kept intercepting every time. I can only hope that GTA 5 won’t suffer the same problems, GTA: San Andreas suffered from these same problems, the amount of time you could spend just driving the countryside was incredible, but as you progressed through the game it was designed to push you farther along the stories path. After a certain point in the game you got a phone call almost every hour with the main character being told about some dope being delivered, thus trying to push you onto a quick side quest earning you a bit of extra money, but was still related to a main story mission you did hours and hours ago. With three playable characters now, it just opens up more opportunity for your character to be hounded with hundreds of requests to drive here and do this, drive back and do that.
With the focus seeming to be on the three characters being previously engaged in a crew of some kind, traversing the city and trying to pull off heists and robberies, it seems they are back at it. But with the hundreds of options available to you at any time in the GTA series, how far will the story push these heists? I can only imagine there will be an overwhelming amount of missions available to all three characters at any given time, and it will take an extremely long time to try to complete them all, but will they all be the same general thing over and over? Bank heists and executing jobs from a helicopter, racing through the streets with a package on your motorcycle while being pursued by the police, driving through the country on 4-wheelers and escaping a job you just pulled sound like great and exciting fun, but how long until it just becomes another side mission linked to a previous main story mission you did a few hours ago?
Rockstar is never new to innovating what goes on in their games, they know how to keep it exciting and full of hilarious comedy. Their characters are always very vibrant in whatever role they play, and most seem to take it to the extreme every single time. Back that up with one of the best voice acting casts I’ve ever seen in a game, GTA 5 has potential to be yet another game that actually delivers. I only hope that the trio of men haunted by their pasts have something more up their sleeve than earning a ton of money and driving cool cars with a few dirty innuendos thrown in here and there, but that’s up to Rockstar to deliver on the 17th.
What about you? Do you think that GTA 5 will deliver an exceptional amount of fresh and exciting gameplay, or will the story get old and stale after a few hours? Do you think the game will deliver an incredible story but maintain the amazing free roam aspect that it’s known for? Post your comments Below, or jump in on the discussion on the forums.