There’s always something to do, even if you ignore the missions, and much of the game’s activities help you improve your character’s skills – increasing your strength playing sports makes tennis a much more attractive proposition. The quality of things like the sport mini games is as incredible as that of the rest of the game; I’ve had as much fun with the golf and tennis in GTA as I have in dedicated games portraying those sports.
There’s more than just mini games on offer here though, with a rare depth being added by the game’s fully functional stock markets. Investing in a company, then figuring out who their competitors are and figuring out where and how to sabotage them may be a somewhat time consuming task but a rewarding one too.
If that kind of financial shenanigan doesn’t sound like your sort of thing then never fear because there’s plenty more to do. Whether you want to do some street racing, parachuting, deer hunting or even just taking taxi fares, GTA V has you covered. I didn’t even list full extent of the side activities that are available!
The amazing world Rockstar has created is transformed into something truly special by the attention to detail and density of content that has been packed in. The difference to gameplay is negligible, but the ability to switch your headlights between standard and full beam on most vehicles is a nice touch that makes the vehicles feel all the more lifelike. There are many such little touches which barely make a difference in how the game plays but make all the difference to your grounding in the gameworld.
One of my favourite little touches is in the shooting range, where there are various challenged to overcome (and discounts in gun stores if you complete them all); here you can see your score from the last attempt. While most games would probably present this information in a simple table, perhaps going so far as to tell you exactly how many hits you scored on each zone of the target, in GTA V you get the table but also the target itself showing you the exact points your rounds hit – this doesn’t really matter at all but it makes the range seem more like the real thing.
The most incredible work, however, has surely been done on the entertainment media in the game with many radio and television stations, films and even a great number of internet sites for you to enjoy. The radio is the easiest to appreciate given almost every vehicle has one but the TV and film offerings are of great quality too, with most being highly satirical parodies of modern entertainment. This sense of parody continues with the internet, with social media site ‘LifeInvader’ being the one which perhaps brought the biggest smile to my face, though there are many other amusing websites to look at as well.
Not Enough Food Vendors
In GTA V your health regenerates to halfway if it falls below that point, with the only ways to increase it back above that being to eat something or find a medical kit. While it was never too much of an issue there aren’t all that many places where you can grab a snack, and increasing the density of them could only help make San Andreas feel more alive.
GTA V is not an ugly game, not by a long shot, and the graphical quality that Rockstar have managed to achieve on the aging console hardware is impressive. That said, occasionally there is noticeable level of detail swapping on objects & buildings, and the textures aren’t always as crisp as I’d like – especially on distant objects and terrain. While it wouldn’t improve the gameplay I would be very happy to see a PC and/or next gen console release of the game with improved graphics.
Grand Theft Auto V is the pinnacle of this console generation and a gold standard which is going to be incredibly difficult to beat. Hopefully GTA Online when it releases in October will live up to the standard of the single player component but even if not, GTA V is the best game I have ever played and very much worth your time and money.
[Editor’s Note: Grand Theft Auto V was reviewed on the Xbox 360 platform. The game was provided to us by the publisher for review purposes.]Grand Theft Auto V Review,