In Grand Theft Auto V on the PlayStation 4, players can freely switch between the interconnected lives of Michael, Trevor and Franklin as they embark on a series of heists across Los Santos and Blaine County in the biggest, deepest and richest open world experience yet.
'Grand Theft Auto V' on the PlayStation 4 is an open world video game developed by Rockstar North and published by Rockstar Games.
'Grand Theft Auto' is a series that transcends just about everything that we think we know about video games and the industry surrounding it, the series has become an icon and an emblem of the modern gamer. The popularity of the series, both in a pop cultural sense and in a video game sense, has challenged the very perception of what it is to be a video game player in the modern age. So when 'Grand Theft Auto V' made its way over to the current generation of consoles, PS4 and XB1, we had to take a look. We booted up our PS4 and shoved in what was sure to be a classic experience that was not for the faint of heart.
So what's all the hubbub about?
'Grand Theft Auto V' sets to do what it has never done in its life, and that is pretty epic in and of itself. Instead of following one pseudo degenerate players are given free reign over three different characters with very different thoughts on how things should get done. The set up for their coming together is absolutely wonderful and much of the story hits so on the mark that we found ourselves grinning as it unfolded before us, like some sort of blockbuster film written only for us.
The game starts with Michael Townley trying to live peacefully in witness protection. Townley is no regular guy though. In fact, he is a guy that tried to rob a bank in Ludendorff, North Yankton. Surviving the robbery and getting on to a normal life are two entirely different things for Townley though. His life turns upside down when he finds his wife in bed with her loathsome tennis coach. In a fit of rage Michael chases the tennis coach to a mansion and ends up destroying it in anger. The mansion ends up belonging to the girlfriend of a Mexican drug lord by the name of Martin Madrazo. Uh oh.
Michael is forced to try and figure out a way to pay back the drug kingpin 'or else'. So he gets a man by the name of Franklin Clinton to help him perform a jewelery heist. Old friend and co-bank robber Trevor Philips hears of the heist, realizes it is Michael's handiwork, and he soon tracks down Michael in Los Santos. From there things quickly spiral out of control in the way that only Rockstar could deliver to us. One thing is for certain; life is certainly going to get more exciting for Michael, Franklin, and Trevor.
That story, in a nutshell, will send players scrambling all over Los Angeles as they try to do what gangsters do best: make money and make chaos. The tale forces the three men to leap increasingly deeper into madness and that madness is fueled by their insane talent at stealing from people and businesses. It is this talent, we soon find out, that also makes them so valuable and easily hated by the other gangsters in the area.
As we alluded to above, players can switch between any of the three characters at any time that they are not in a mission. When you decide to change characters you see the camera pull out to a satellite view of Los Santos before shooting back down to Earth and falling into the feet of your new criminal.
Everything is changed, but still the same.
When of the coolest features of the PS4 version of 'GTA V' is the ability to step into first person mode. While we know that this mode won't be for everyone, it was a welcome addition to us. We love literally going into the head of our character and immersing ourselves into what he sees. The change from 3rd person to 1st person is a little drastic at first, but it loosens up and works well after a little bit of playing.
In order for Rockstar to make the 1st person mode work they had to add over 3,000 new animations to the game. This is no light bit of work but the effort truly pays off. We get to see all of the animations you would expect (reloading, hitting, picking up things) as well as some that add depth to the game (Michael punching his steering wheel, Franklin clinching his fists).
'GTA V' looks gorgeous on the PlayStation 4 outside of the new animations. The game is gloriously ran in 1080p and it looks borderline revelatory on our big screen television. You'll notice that all of the textures in the game have been dressed up and it'll feel like you're playing a remake of the 360 version of 'V' rather than a port. This shows the lengths that the team went to to make this port more than a cash grab.
Engage in this world.
The most important aspect of any 'GTA' game has always been how vibrant the world is. With Rockstar putting a strangle hold on the sandbox, open world game we would expect Los Santos to be equally vibrant. it is. The city expands before you and the personality of the crazy town soon permeates every frame and interaction. You'll find famous landmarks from Los Angeles (the real life version of Los Santos) and you'll be able to find yourself in some pretty beautiful areas. Looking over the city from the neighboring highway is gorgeous when the sun is rising, or setting, and there are more than a few moments you'll want to capture with screenshots.
How does it stack up?
If there is a defining game for our current generation of gamers, 'GTA V' on the PS4 has to be in contention. Rockstar went above and beyond the call of duty to make this port a truly new experience. We found ourselves playing with bated breath as we felt like we were experiencing Los Santos for the first time. The game looks gorgeous, plays well, and adds enough new pizazz to keep even old hands interested.