fair & honest

                                           Grand Theft Auto 5 - PS3

After being completely disappointed with the last title in the series I'm happy to report GTA 5 has done much to improve on its predecessor while offering tons of new content as well.

After a short prologue to introduce a few of the main characters the game opens in sunny Los Santos with Franklin and his friend Lamar as they "repossess" a few sports cars for their boss. After a quick race and a few more missions Franklin meets up with Michael, the second protagonist of the game who changes his life forever when the two decide to work together on a heist.

Later on the third and final protagonist, Trevor, is introduced in a memorable scene that quickly establishes him as the most psychotic of the trio. He and Michael have some unfinished business from their past to work out but in the meantime he helps his old friend on his heists with Franklin. It would take pages to explain all the different plot threads and story from that point on so I'll just stop there and cut to the gameplay.

Two major improvements I'm happy to see are checkpoints and (limited) regenerating health. They may not sound like much, but these small changes have made the longer missions much less frustrating and manageable compared to the mess that was GTA 4. The missions themselves can still be annoying at certain points though not nearly to the extent that they ruin the game or make it feel like the computer is cheating at every turn. There are still some tough missions but 90% of them are balanced enough that a few tries is all you'll need to pass them.

Vehicles still suffer from some sloppy controls (helicopters stand out) and cars are not as smooth as I'd like yet still feel like they have been improved from GTA 4 so I won't complain too much about that. Some of my favorite new features are the online mode and improved customization.

There are several clothing shops that offer different outfits to the three protagonists as well as barber shops that can give them haircuts. In online mode especially are several options for character creation that I think now rivals Saints Row, though many of the nicer clothes and haircuts are locked until your online avatar levels up.


GTA 5 also introduces the option to play as a female character, though only in GTA online due to the established protagonists of the main game all being men. If you want to do a co-op sandbox game with your wife or girlfriend Saints Row IV is probably still your best bet, though GTA 5 isn't bad once you both get some levels under your belt. This brings me to my last major point: sexism. How are men treated compared to women?

The answer is... pretty good actually. Unlike the last game GTA 5 isn't afraid to take potshots at women as well as men and even introduces a minor feminist character (Franklin's aunt) who is portrayed in a completely negative light. There are still plenty of male stereotypes to be found but plenty of female ones as well now.

The game is still pretty offensive, but much more equally so. All in all, its a massive improvement over the parade of misandry that was GTA 4 and deserves credit for its improvements. If the Saints Row series is too wacky for you this game won't disappoint with its more balanced realism and is an excellent addition to your sandbox game collection. While I do feel the game is still a bit overrated I have to point out it isn't nearly as bad as some reviews would have you think either. Definitely give it a try or you'll really be missing out.
                               - Reviewed by MidnightUndead

Rating: M (Blood and gore, intense violence, mature humor, nudity, strong language, strong sexual content, use of drugs and alcohol)