Since its first release in 1997, Grand Theft Auto has been a heavyweight hitter in the world of gaming. The series is known for its engaging plot lines, addictive gameplay and, of course, a good dose of graphic violence. The latest version, GTA V, will soon be with us, so before you sell Xbox 360 or your PS3 to make way for the new generation of consoles, get ready for one last criminal heist on your current machine.
Michael is a retired gangster. He currently resides in his plush home in Los Santos, GTA’s lavish portrayal of a grotesque, swollen Los Angeles. The ex-bank robber now lives with his shopaholic wife and two spoilt kids, including heir to the throne, his hapless son, James. However, despite having made it out of the criminal underworld alive, Michael is ready to pack in his quiet life of sipping cocktails by the pool and return to the unforgiving environment that gave him his riches.
This all sounds like a pretty routine GTA premise, and the gameplay in GTA V is pretty much what you might expect from the series too; with dark humour and impressive attention to detail accompanying the set of missions that you have to complete.
However, below the surface of this seemingly straightforward facade, lies a game that brings with it a new set of elements to the GTA series. Whereas before, the player controlled just one character, for instance Niko Bellic in GTA IV and Tommy Vercetti in Vice City, in the latest installment, there are three separate characters (Michael, the main protagonist, Franklin, the son Michael wishes he had, and Trevor, an alcoholic, drug addicted gangster with a unique code of morals and no money) all of which can be controlled individually.
The games allows free interchange of these three characters, both during general play and during missions. The player also has the option to stick with one or the other, allowing the computer’s highly developed AI to direct those not in use.
The game revolves around the relationship between these three characters, and GTA V includes fewer less loose ends and hangers on than in GTA IV.
The game also features a huge number of mini games, which tend to bring the three main protagonists together. If, for instance, you want to play a game of tennis on Michael’s personal court, you pull out your phone and call up Franklin for a quick hit.
As well as plot dynamics, three playable characters also allows full exploration of the massive in-game environment. Created by developers Rockstar North, the current map is the biggest yet to feature in the GTA series, with miles of roads and endless interactive objects that you can pick up and play with, or shoot.
Music has always played second fiddle to the actual gameplay in GTA, however, it remains a huge part of the series and GTA V features an interactive score, as seen on Red Dead Redemption, while also keeping the option to use the radio.
Despite the modern looking metropolis of Los Santos, the actual era in which GTA V is set has yet to be announced, however, what is for certain is that the highly anticipated title will be on the shelves sometime in the second quarter of 2013.