Reflection is good. It’s nice to look back on was has been and, remember the great achievements of times gone past. I’d like to think that’s why Game of the Year awards are so popular, not just so we can screech at each other about supposedly wrong opinions – something that’s sadly all to common in the world of video games. We’ve admittedly left our Top Ten Games of 2013 list a little later than most but, we did so that we might better experience all of last years big titles, in the hopes we don’t leave any great experiences unrepresented. 2013 was a fantastic year that saw some truly staggering games hit as the last generation systems gave way to the next. Grand Theft Auto steals position #2.
Grand Theft Auto IV – Playstation 3, Xbox 360
Was there any doubt Grand Theft Auto V would be on this list? Rockstar’s first numbered entry in five years in the open world crime drama series exceeded all expectations earlier this year when it became the fastest selling entertainment property ever. It’s rare that a game with such an immense amount of anticipation behind it meets all expectations and, Grand Theft Auto V is no exception to the rule. But some people are never happy, the fact it lived up to most peoples incredibly high expectations is an achievement in itself. Go in level headed and you’ll be rewarded with a huge open map, diverse amount of things to do and, a surprisingly good online experience. It’s story and, characters are better than any previous entry, but that’s not important Grand Theft Auto V just understands it’s all about having fun.
Players can expect the same attributes they’d normally expect but, each is better than they’ve ever been. The map is larger and more diverse than ever encompassing bustling streets, scorching deserts, towering mountains, claustrophobic forests, deep underwater sections and, all of the skies above it. The size and range of environment on offer is nothing short of amazing – it may well be the best sand box ever built. I could easily spend hours just driving around the city of Los Santos listening to citizens who almost never repeat dialogue and, that city is only one quarter of the whole map. It’s a testament to what can be done when a talented developer is given heaps of cash and, the time to create what they want.
Utilizing a new idea Grand Theft Auto V has players take the role of three disparate protagonists rather than being stuck playing as one lovable psycho – each of them can be changed between on the fly. Each brings their unique perspective to the grim twisted vision of modern day America that Rockstar expertly paints. Franklin is a gangster who loathes the life style, he wants to make something of himself rather than pulling of petty crimes with other hapless gang members. Michael is retired con-man whose anger problems and, useless parenting skills make him a joke in his own family. Finally there’s Trevor, Michaels old running mate and, an absolute monster – unhinged and, dangerous Trevor is the perfect representation of what a GTA protagonist might be like in real life. Somehow each are incredibly likeable, even if Trevor’s actions occasionally churn the stomach.
Together the team plan a series of increasingly dangerous heists for their own separate reasons. These heists are Grand Theft Auto V’s undoubted high points. They introduce choice and freedom not regularly associated with the long running series. Players can choose how to approach, for example, a bank robbery. Whose going to be your getaway driver, what vehicles will they use, break in through the front or sneak in the back? The choices are varied, it’s just sad there aren’t too many heists actually in game. Even so normal missions are more refined that the normal GTA fluff. Sure they still play second fiddle to mucking about but, at least this time there genuinely enjoyable – combined with more likeable characters the story mode is easily the series high point.
Truth is, most of you have already played Grand Theft Auto V. I’m hopeful that most of you would agree it’s a marvellous game. Rockstar provides a typically fantastic single player experience but, the best bit of Grand Theft Auto V is the same as it’s older brothers. Grand Theft Auto is still king of the sand box, there’s so much to do, see and enjoy. You could wander around the expanse for hundreds of hours and not see it all. Add in that driving mechanics are glorious, shooting is more refined than any other and, the amount of vehicles on offer borders on insane then you’ve got a game that’ll keep you busy forever. Grand Theft Auto V surprisingly lives up to the hype.