GTA V Review: Six Hours Of Sandbox Perfection [PART TWO]

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GTA V is good. Damn good. (Image: Rockstar) Rockstar

This is Part II of my GTA V review. You can read Part I to get my initial thoughts on the game.

After six hours in GTA V I found myself reviewing the previous games in the franchise, mentally, while I went on random repo missions, footraces and planned my first major heist. Because GTA V really feels like the perfect GTA game, a game that blends everything that was done right in the previous entries without feeling repetitive or worn out.

For starters, as I found my characters progressing in their skill sets (a la GTA: San Andreas) I noticed the improvement in their gameplay. Cars felt just a little more responsive and guns seemed to be just a little more accurate. Even though my progress is minimal at best the fact that even incremental changes are noticeable speaks to the quality of the balance found in the game's design. Shooting is (so far) fast and fair and a few random physical challenges have upped my stamina stats. The ability to trade health for stamina in high pressure situations is fantastic, and adds a degree of intensity as you sprint towards finish lines while watching your red health bar slowly diminish.

Beyond the game play, though, I'm also beginning to notice the strength of the writing in GTA V. Just about every interaction and word of dialogue is clever and funny, and the number of parodies occurring within the game is high. A drug-induced alien shootout is a nice jab at Saint's Row IV, and there's never a dull moment when Lazlo is on the air. It's entirely possible to spend five or ten minutes sitting stationary in a car enjoying the radio in GTA V.

The mature content is also much more prevalent in GTA V than in any of the other games. In addition to the frequent drug use there is a hefty dose of the N-word and lots of titties. While all of these things are appropriate within the context of the game they still create some cringe-worthy moments in real life when a non-gamer is in the room. But if GTA V is making the girlfriends, husbands, roommates and parents of the world uncomfortable then it's doing it's job.

The only "problems" with the game so far are that its openness sometimes gets in the way of locating waypoints. All it takes is one wrong turn on a mission to slip off a retaining wall and find yourself two stories underneath your intended target. Then plenty of footpounding follows as you sprint against walls and surfaces looking for a route to scramble back up. But these errors are, admittedly, my fault while I play so I can't completely fault the developers. Just be sure to look before you leap or you'll find yourself on the wrong end of a checkpoint save.

Believe me, I'm trying pretty hard to find some flaws in the game, to locate things that could be better. But so far, GTa V is delivering the flawless sandbox experience I'd hoped for.




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