Many people are saying that Grand Theft Auto V is the best game in the juggernaut series and quite frankly this is not faint praise. From the ambition and scope, to the much improved moment to moment gameplay, chances are Grand Theft Auto V has something for fans of the series and even those burned by Grand Theft Auto IV. That said, there are also areas that even after 14 games they still haven’t improved on, which is baffling.
Keeping with the theme of five, I’ve listed 3 things Grand Theft Auto V gets right and 2 things it still gets wrong.
First the rights:
1. Quick saving – I can not express how useful this new feature finally is. No more having to rely solely on autosaves for long stretches between crib visits, this feature’s value is immeasurable. Resuming your game from a quick save leaves your chosen character exactly where you left him in between missions.
2. Character switching – I’ll be honest, when I first heard about this I wasn’t sure how this would work with my OCD to see everything the game has to offer in terms of branching paths. The beauty of it is that there aren’t branching paths. Switching to the next character after a time will only show you the tail end of a moment in the character’s life. For example, you will catch up with Franklin as he’s leaving a corner store, or a strip club. Or Michael on one of his many visits to the beach. And the best yet, finding Trevor in some sort of compromising position; be it waking up under an overpass wearing nothing but his tighty whities, or in the middle of a three star police chase while yelling psychotic apologies out the window. And that’s just between missions.
3. Dynamic Side Missions – This feature was lifted from Rockstar’s previous open-world effort, Red Dead Redemption but taken to an impressive extreme. Sure some are relatively rote, like stopping a robbery and returning the money, or getting lured into an ambush, but with missions like rescuing a mobster’s daughter and receiving a huge cash reward for it, to saving a construction worker from certain death, there is a LOT of variety, making driving around and exploring the city even more interesting than ever before.
Now the perplexing things GTA V still gets wrong:
1. No GPS – There is nothing more frustrating that racing to a mission set waypoint and blowing past a turn because you have to keep your eye on the road and not on the minimap, which is still the only place you can get directions from. Even if you’re not in a mission, what’s the point of building this great city if you force the player to look away from it constantly following the way to a waypoint? What’s even more vexing is that last year’s Sleeping Dogs had a great implementation of GPS and navigation by placing translucent directions on the road showing the player the direction in which to turn. And on top of that, GTA V does do this but only during races. Rockstar North could have easily doubled up on this featuring making it available during regular gameplay.
2. No restart checkpoint/mission option – You know there are moments in which you will inevitably fail the mission at hand and unfortunately you have to watch this play out. Or for the OCD suffering folks like myself in which you want to get a gold medal and it isn’t possible due to some mistake and, again, you’re forced to watch it play out. It would be a huge benefit to simply bring up the menu and select “restart checkpoint” which so many games have now. At this point the best option is to blow yourself up, provided you have the proper equipment to do so. And even then you still have to wait for your death animation to play out.
Sure those last two may seem like I’m picking nits in an otherwise fantastic game, but think of how much better the experience would be overall if those features were added into the game for the player to use should they want to.
I could definitely add two thousand plus words on the game (I have to save something for my review!) but these are my favourite new additions and vexing omissions in Grand Theft Auto V. Do you have any yourself? Sound off in the comments below.