Hark - a mighty hooting of trumpets, a stamping of cymbals. Grand Theft Auto 5 is coming, surging from the sunny waters of the east Pacific like Godzilla wearing a continent for a hat. The game hits shelves in a little under a week - that's 17th September 2013 - and I thought it was high time we posed you a Certain Question. In the unlikely event that we acquire a copy of GTA 5 and compose some sort of textual "review" of it, broken up into paragraphs and screen captures, accompanied by a numerical representation of our findings that might be termed a "score"... What would you like us to focus on?
Original story continues - To recap, GTA 5 is the tale of ex-con Michael, now living a life of luxury care of a witness protection programme, the former helicopter pilot and all-round nutcase Trevor, and Franklin, who's perhaps the most identifiable of the protagonists, a street kid with stellar driving skills, dreaming of glamour and riches. Michael and Trevor used to be partners in crime, and Franklin falls in with the pair after bumping into Michael during a hustle.
For reasons we've yet to uncover, the trio then embark on a series of heists, beginning with the abduction of an armoured car, and later extending to the pinching of a full-blown cargo plane. These missions - which feature light strategy elements, and see you switching between characters on the fly - are the core of an experience that's apparently grander and busier with things to do than any Rockstar project to date.
The setting is a spectacular satire of Los Angeles, characterised by radiant office blocks, suave cars and vacuous lifestyle gurus on the one hand, and by boarded-up shopfronts and genital piercings on the other. There are the usual GTA diversions - pile-ups, fistfights with the police, hasty changes of clothing/paintjob. And then there are Los Santos-specific amusements, such as the ability to buy medical marijuana, parachute over the mountains or play the stock market. It's a big, big game. You can even walk the dog.
And that's before you get to the multiplayer, which stars a customisable avatar, and allows up to 16 players to rampage around Los Santos - carrying out co-op robberies or creating their own competitive mode types, nicking one another's cars (pro tip: get some insurance), and spectating on the antics of other players via in-game TV sets. While included with the main game, the multiplayer doesn't go live till 1st October, supposedly because Rockstar wants to give players time to polish off the storyline. As a consequence, it's likely that we'll treat it to a separate review.
Read more care of the links below, watch the trailers dabbed willy-nilly up and down this page, and let us know which particular feature, mechanic, vehicle, weapon, bird, blimp, drugstore or haircut seems most in need of inspection. Anything we can't address in the review itself, we'll tackle in a follow-up Q&A.
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