Games Of 2013: Grand Theft Auto V

Video games. It seems like we spend way more time talking about them than playing them. How did this happen? When? A large part of the whole ‘being passionate about games’ thing is the stupid product lust – the ‘hype train’. You can’t escape it. You can’t fight it. You know it makes zero sense, but you hop on board regardless. ALL ABOARD.

Next stop – mild disappointment?

Who knows, who can tell? All this week I’m going to take a quick look at the games I’m most excited about in 2013. Feel free to get talking about the hype trains you’re currently aboard!

Today? It's Grand Theft Auto V.

————— 2012's most interesting games were indie games. Or, at the very least, downloadable games that appeared on digital services. Journey, Trials HD, Fez, Dear Esther. When I look back upon 2012, these are the games I will remember.

But like a giant herd of plodding Brachiosaurs, howling at the death dealing asteroid hurtling towards them, 2013 may well be remembered as the year when boxed AAA titles made a last desperate gasp at relevancy. It may end up being the year where they proved their importance, or a willingness to innovate. BioShock Infinite and The Last Guardian will hopefully lead that charge but, in terms of scope and ambition, Grand Theft Auto V may end up obliterating them all.

The only evidence I have for this is Red Dead Redemption, a game I still argue is the greatest video game of the last five or so years. I loved GTA IV, but the leap between that game and RDD was astronomical. If we do the simple mathematics, I'm expecting a similar leap between RDD and Grand Theft Auto V.

Obviously it doesn't quite work like that. But what I'm expecting from Grand Theft Auto V is a game with the scale of its predecessors, combined with mechanics that iron out all the minor issues I had with GTA IV: control issues, mainly. I think you could also argue this may be Rockstar's last game on this generation of consoles. I'm hoping for a magnum opus on the level of a San Andreas.

Grand Theft Auto thoroughly dominated the last generation of consoles, but that was the decade of the open world game. This generation has been more about focused, story driven shooters — you can argue till the proverbial cows come home whether that's a positive thing or not (my view: it's not) but my point is this — Grand Theft Auto will most likely never be the zeitgeist capturing behemoth it was in its early days, but it can still be a game to end all games. It can still be fantastic, it can still be water cooler fodder for the masses. It can still be Grand Theft Auto.


    i have high hopes for this game, i preordered GTAIV when that came out and was amazingly dissapoint with the game, only played 30min of it, but from everything iv seen thus far, it looks pretty good

      You crazy dude? Man, I loved almost everything about GTA4. Story, characters, driving, shooting. Though mechanics have aged a little now, but after playing through Max Payne 3, im sure GTA5's combat will kickass!

        Me too, I never understood the hate for GTA IV.
        Awesome game.

    I'm really looking forward to GTA V! I just hope it's not as serious as GTA 4 was. I miss the crazy fun of GTA Vice City and San Andreas.

    I haven't really been too excited about a GTA game since Vice City. I found San Andreas a huge disappointment. GTA IV was definitely an improvement, but not a game I've ever felt like going back to since I finished it, and was probably sick of it a fair while before then. I may or may not end up getting this one depending on what the reviews are like and what else is around to play at the time.

    Also, I don't think this generation has been any less about open world games than the previous generation. Stuff like Assassin's Creed, Burnout Paradise, NFS: Most Wanted, Red Dead Redemption, Just Cause, Oblivion, Fallout 3, Skyrim etc etc etc. Open world has probably been a bigger thing this generation than last.

    As fun as GTA games are, I bet the storyline will be:

    New guy(s) in town
    New guy(s) makes friend
    New guy(s) does missions
    New guy(s) gets betrayed by new friend
    New guy(s) goes on revenge rampage.

    "...Red Dead Redemption, a game I still argue is the greatest video game of the last five or so years..."


    Thank you!

    All previous GTA games, I've had no feelings whatsoever towards the protagonist, and I've not cared one bit what happened to them. Quite frankly, they were just the sack of meat and bones whom would conduct all manner of mayhem I requested of them. In every GTA game, I played through the story long enough to unlock all of the locations, then I stopped. Always.
    In RDR, the character was actually *likeable*!!! I actually cared what happened to him and was compelled to see his story through to completion. Yeah, he had a troubled past, but all in all he was actually a guy just wanting to live a life with his family. You actually could play the game as a nice guy. Walking down the street, instead of just swearing at everyone, you would tip your hat and say good-day.
    It also had much more emotional weight behind it. The moment towards the end when John rides off with Abagail after talking to Bonnie at her ranch, and the camera shows the look on her face as she waves goodbye and walks inside.... wow..... you really did feel the ache in her heart for John. It was an amazing moment which I've not felt before in gaming.
    Then, in Undead Nightmare [of all places], riding around the landscape and coming across a woman, grieving over the loss of her husband, weeping as she puts a bullet into his head [followed by her own]. Big stuff.....

    All in all, RDR felt like a much more mature open-world game. More mature characters, more mature story, more mature gameplay, more mature world around you.
    I still want GTA5 to have its crazy carnage and WTFBBQ moments, but in regards to story and the "feel" of the world, I hope that they bring some of the higher-brow stuff into it also.

      Couldn't possibly agreed more. As fun as GTA games are, the stories it tells aren't that compelling. GTAIV was somewhat a good start, and though personally i found that Niko was a likeable character,it was trying to be too much at once, comedic one minute, depressing the next. That and it was also very predictable on how it was all going to end, sure they had that one "twist" Where either Roman or Patricks sister gets killed depending on your choices, but in the long run its not that big of an impact and it ends as most stock standard gangsta stories do and the story adds nothing except opening op more areas as you mentioned.

      RDR on the other hand, was and still is amazing! The story was truly intense and All the characters and events that happens are pulled off magnificently, but i have yet to find a better protagonist in video games, one that truly captured me and i'm sure many others, than John Marsden. He was the perfect balance between what the game wants him to be and what the player wants him to be, and its pulled of so well. Want to be a gentlemen? Keep your honor up. Rather be a menace? Then your honor goes down, but it never contradicts the story, that he is an outlaw who is trying to mend his ways to get his family back. I almost teared up when "Compass" started playing, it was a sense of euphoria that i have never experienced or even imagined to experience in video games. I went and bought the entire soundtrack afterwards (The music in RDR is brilliant too) Many times i go back to the game just to explore and ride around/cause mayhem/bring my honor back up and then wreck it.

      Will GTA5 be as good as RDR? We can only wait and see. For one thing i would like the consequences of going on a random murderous rampage to be much more punishing, and make it so that you too have a bounty on your head and bounty hunters/police will hunt you down on random occasions like in RDR. Oh and none of that "radar" crap in GTA, in RDR it made sense because they were on horses, but that would not work with modern technology, least i don't think so.

      Oh and i think an "ipod dock" feature in some cars that plays music right off your ipod while your driving would be great too. They had a rudimentary feature in San Andreas where it plays right off your hard drive as its own radio station, but I was disappointing that they never brought it back in IV (yes you can just play off the music player, but i want to listen to doom metal only when im driving, not all the time)

    I thought GTA 4 was the worst one. Gta vice city was teh best....
    Look as long as the story is good and the main character can pronounce his own name properly ill be happy...
    Belic should be pronouced belich right if hes russian... amirite.... pretty sure im right.

      Not more of this 'Vice City was the best' bullshit! lol!

      Last edited 13/03/13 3:38 pm

        Yes more... It was teh best!

          There's no accounting for taste I suppose. :p Tommy and crew were fantastic, but I hated the town, there was no variety (terrain) and you couldn't swim and if you weren't that big a fan of the 80s, then that was a problem too. SA was where it was at for me!

      It's more likely that the name is Serbo-Croatian, and this plays into his past as a soldier in a conflict. While most Serbo-Croatian names are likely to end in ch (English) / č (Croatian) / ц (Serbian), they do have names and a character for a hard k sound.

      In fact, that they use a c to identify this makes me think he's Croatian, because a Serbian would be more likely to use k I guess.

      I don't know either of their languages but I've been to the former Yugoslavia and I can read a little Russian, which either makes the Serbian alphabet very confusing or easy to understand.

        I might've been wrong on the Serbian character for 'ch'. In the Russian alphabet that is the character for 'ts' and the ћ character which I found on the other side of the keyboard seems to be the analog of the Russian / Ukrainian ч, which is their 'ch'.

      Well Niko says in the game he is not Russian. You never truly find out in the storyline where he is from other than he and Roman reminisce about 'The Old Country' a few times. According to Rockstar it was left blank for us the player to decide, but I dunno. He's probably Croatian, Serbian or maybe even Ukrainian. But I do recall early on in the game he specifically states to someone (Brucie I think?) that he is not Russian.

    I've played all the GTA's and San Andreas was my favourite. If not for the sheer ability to pop bunny hops on BMX's and get shredded at the gym!

    GTA IV was alright, but lacked the fun element I thought San Andreas nailed. High hopes for GTA V, I really want it to be released alongside the new Xbox, but that's just me being selfish :)

    Whilst GTA IV was an massive evolutionary leap from San Andreas visually (the first HD GTA for example), the gameplay was almost as big a regressive leap backwards with the lack of gameplay features and side missions. There was simply SO MUCH to do in SA, so much to explore, and more importantly, money meant something! I could earn dough and buy significant things. GTA IV really felt lacking, even a bit soulless, especially when compared to the characters of SA, too. I hope they don't ignore these aspects in the production of the new SA. And I really hope they add some nods to Grove Street and/or CJ's place in the new one. I know they've given all the characters from the GTA III era the arse and I think this was a HUGE mistake on their part! Niko just wasn't as compelling a Tommy or CJ and most of the side characters were just a bunch of trashy assholes! (Aside from Luis and Tony. They were the only interesting characters to me). But I'd love to see some GTA:SA easter eggs, just for old times' sake. I spent much of my late twenties in SA! :p

    Last edited 13/03/13 3:43 pm

    I am really hoping Rock* have learned from GTAIV and now know how to get the tone right and give us the sidequests/gameplay mechanics/customisation that we all missed from SA. It doesn’t need to be as crazy as SR3, SA was just about right.

    The only evidence I have for this is Red Dead Redemption, a game I still argue is the greatest video game of the last five or so years


      I enjoy how Mark specifically says its his opinion and you still manage to disagree.

      Do you disagree its his opinion?

      Oh and RDR is definitely one of the best games in recent years, if not all time.

    I loved GTA:SA. The sheer openness was amazing, and I could (and did spend) hours just driving around, finding little alleyways and locations to explore. GTA:IV was a little disappointing for me. The missions were pretty good, and I loved that you could go bowling and, in the addon packs, skydive off massive buildings, but the city felt tiny, not on the massive scale that SA was. And now that GTA:V promises to be bigger than RDD (a game I haven't played yet, but really should based on what I've seen in the comments here) and GTA:SA, I'm really stoked.

    What would make this game a good deal better, is third party addon support, like Garry's Mod and indeed anything else from the Steam Workshop.

    I hope they keep cheats in as well...ones that spawn crazy stuff, tanks, helicopter gunships etc.

      My favourite from VC, was spawning golf carts for a good 30 seconds [they would stack up like oreos!], then punching in the "explode all vehicles" cheat about a dozen times in quick succession......
      Come back 30 seconds later, it's raining golf carts! :-D [my 16 year old self was easily amused :p ]

        Standing on top of a skyscraper and spawning golf carts to the top? Yes please.

    all of the fun i had in 4 was in multiplayer.
    I didn't finish the single player (Ive not finished a single GTA game) I got bored with it and didn't find most of the missions that much fun.
    But driving and flying around liberty city with 3 other friends just aimlessly being idiots, jumping helicopters with bikes was great fun.

    GTA has always suffered in its actually structured bits.

    But like everyone else here i FREAKING LOVED RDR.

    I have no faith that GTA 5 will be any better. bigger doesn't mean better, it means generally less interesting per square km

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