Grand Theft Auto V is the best game in the long running GTA series. That is without question, the biggest compliment I can give the game. It features phenomenal acting and voice work, a wide variety of missions, engaging heists, and three playable characters with distinct and memorable personalities.

It surpasses even Grand Theft Auto: Vice City in terms of fun and sometimes over the top activities to partake in. It features a more detailed world than Grand Theft Auto IV ever did. It is, without question, the best open world title of this current generation of games, surpassing even the recently released Saints Row IV.

Having achieved 100% in-game progress after doing this, that, and everything else this game has to offer I can say that GTA 5 is more than worth the price of admission. You knew this all already. You've read the reviews and have more than likely played the game for yourself, and may very well have come to the same conclusions that I have.

The game is great despite some of the less than excellent writing. Sure, the writing in the GTA series was never top notch and it's unfortunate that this trend seems to continue in GTA 5. It's not terrible, as there are moments of comedy and brilliance, but on the whole it's really nothing to write home about. The most notable offender is the various radio stations, especially the talk radio. Series staples of Lazlow and Fernando Martinez have certainly lost a lot of their charm since Grand Theft Auto III and Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. Perhaps the one exception here is Danny McBride serving as a host for one of the game's many radio stations, though his on-radio time is far too limited for my liking. But the big question here is, who really uses the radio in this day and age? A portable MP3 player for each character would have been a much better inclusion.

The game continues to be great despite the absolutely amazing ability for the police to pinpoint your location mere moments after you commit a crime. Silencers in this game are next to worthless, only really serving to limit the effective range of your equipped weapon. You can have full stealth and a silencer, out in the middle of nowhere with no witnesses around, but you will still earn a wanted level if you kill an NPC.

I would bestow upon it the false claim that it was "remarkable" if it weren't so damn frustrating. Their clairvoyant like abilities continues on well into a chase. Despite what their field of vision cones seem to indicate, you are never truly out of their sight. Duck into an alley after losing them and they will converge on your location despite not really having any possible way of knowing that you went that way. The police are also insanely trigger happy in this game, perhaps more so than in any other GTA to date. In spite of this, it is nice to see that the police AI will try some real-life maneuvers such as the pit maneuver to spin you out or they will try to box your car in to slow you down.


The game continues to be great even when some of the missions between heists are just tedious filler leading up to heists. It's neither enjoyable nor fun when part of the preparation work involves retrieving a necessary vehicle and stashing it somewhere. I understand it's done to pull the player into the mission prep-work and make them feel as though they're really a part of this trio, but after the first couple of times it just became busy work.

Even though the game contains the largest environment of any GTA, it still feels like there should have been more content and areas with actual substance. There are plenty of mountain ranges and countryside where there just isn't much to do or go exploring in. There is a casino and racetrack that would have been great for gambling or for a heist, but it's mainly just there for show right now. It's one thing to have such a large environment but there is very little incentive to go to some of these areas. Despite this, the game is still great.

The game continues to be great even though money is again of little use in this game. Yes, there are properties to buy but the returns are so low that earning enough for some of the pricier locations will take you a very long time unless you're keen on cheesing the stock market system found in the game. Even then, what's the point? When you have that much cash you already have more than enough to always be fully stocked up on weapons, ammo, cars, planes, clothes and body armor. Perhaps it would have been more interesting if some of these properties were new houses that you could move into or furnish to your liking but that system does not exist in single player.

And yes, even despite the awkward aiming and gun switching mechanics, the game is still great. Selecting a weapon on foot feels easy enough with a radial menu, selecting a weapon while in a vehicle needs to go right back to the drawing board. One button cycles through your available weapons while in a car while another both aims and fires. I sure hope you're a fantastic shot without an aiming reticle because your character will start to fire a second after your reticle pops up while driving. This is absolutely terrible. Really, it's just downright annoying. There really doesn't seem to be any reason why they couldn't either have a separate button for aiming and another for firing in the car, or why I couldn't just hold the weapon switch button down and manually select my weapon that way a la the on-foot weapon switching mechanic. Even while on foot, the aiming in this game comes in two flavors. The overly simplistic auto-aim mechanic that allows you to snap from enemy to enemy without much effort or the sloppy free aim mode that I could not get to feel right even after adjusting the sensitivity. The real knee slapper here is the fact that it still feels better than the aiming in GTA 4 and previous titles, though it would undoubtedly feel amazing with mouse aiming.


I have noticed that there was quite the controversy concerning claims of misogyny in this game. I saw people upset over scenes of graphic torture in this game. I'm not even going to touch upon those. In a game where you can murder people left and right or blow up vehicles like it was nothing, it seems (to me at least) to be incredibly odd to pick those things that are "controversial" about this or any Grand Theft Auto title. The men in this game are just as messed up as the female characters are. The torture scenes in this game are no worse than walking down the street shooting at civilians and law enforcement. As such, I feel as though those aspects of the game are a non-issue here.

Despite all of these very apparent shortcomings, the game continues to be great. The driving has been much improved and feels like a very happy medium between the more "realistic" approach in GTA 4 and the more arcade like experience in the last generation of GTA titles. The exceptions here are the air vehicles that like to shake around in air turbulence far too much, even with a perfect flying skill. The game world, despite its emptiness in some areas, is still full of many small details and looks absolutely gorgeous, especially for a current generation title.

For better or worse, Grand Theft Auto V is the culmination of everything Rockstar has learned and refined with their previous titles. This includes the older GTA games, Max Payne 3, and even Red Dead Redemption. If you can look past the faults, there is still no better open world experience out there right now. Bring on the DLC. Bring on the often rumored PC version. Bring them both on because in spite of my complaints, I am more than ready to sink another 60+ hours into the world of San Andreas.

Final Score
Gameplay: 8/10
Audio: 8/10
Visuals: 8.5/10
Value: 10/10

Overall: 8.5/10

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(Grand Theft Auto V for the Xbox 360 was provided to Total Gaming Network for review purposes from Rockstar Games. It is also available on the PlayStation 3 and is rated M for Mature.)

Please note that the second part for Grand Theft Auto Online, and the main reason for the delay of this review, is coming later this week.