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Grand Theft Auto V: Resetting the standard


(Note: This is just my opinion, solely based on my experiences with video games. Just acknowledge the fact that me even mentioning certain titles in comparison with GTA V, speaks in high volumes about these games individually.)
With Grand Theft Auto V a few weeks away from it's release date. I decided to give my thoughts on what I think it's impact will have on the future of open world titles. Seeing that Rockstar is the originators of the open world genre. It only seems right that they design the new template. (Even after referencing to "it's impact on the future of open world titles" seems like I'm short changing it & I haven't even played it yet).

Now after 12 years since the release of Grand Theft Auto III, we've seen an abundance of games made for the open world genre. Whether you enjoy first or third person, there's an open world for you. Even role-playing games have implemented the open world feature. Am I saying that future games will have to use the same strands of DNA? No, but they should pay close attention to details & take notes.

Take Watch Dogs for example. My anticipation for this game has flat-lined, It's a game I can wait to buy used or on sale. On the other hand, my anticipation for GTA V, is me requesting for vacation time at work & when asked "Where are you taking your vacation?" I'd reply "Los Santos & Blaine County", as if these were places that actually existed.

I only say that about Watch Dogs in comparison with GTA V. So please don't take offense. (Remember this is about why GTA V has created the blueprint for the future of open world titles.)

I'm not saying that Watch Dogs isn't an innovating game. More so, I'm asking, besides hacking (which has various applications within the world & is the main feature of the game), doing the story missions, escaping from the police, and acting out Minority Report. What else are you left with to do? Especially in a world where the entire environment is based within a city.

Now some may reply "What else do you need to do?". As if what it offers already isn't enough. That's the problem with video games, we get just that..enough.

When have you ever gotten something to drink, poured it & waited for the glass to be overfilling and said to yourself "That's enough" (If you don't understand the analogy, I'll use it by it's definition). Webster defines it as adequate for the want or need; sufficient for the purpose or to. Which is the current state of gaming. We get enough to hold us off while we wait to get ransacked by dlc.

Not with GTA V, This game is bursting out of the seams with content. The world is the size of San Andreas, GTA IV, & Red Dead Redemption combined. It's utterly ridiculous. Not only do we have this gargantuas map to play within, but we'll be able to explore further then just by land or air. We can search the depths of the sea, as opposed to the alternative of traveling across by boat, swimming, or an untimely death. All of which you can still do.

This is a feature I've never seen used so elegantly. Unlike Far Cry 3, which lacked in exploration & depth. GTA V's watery depths look absolutely stunning. We'll be able to navigate through these treacherous waters via scuba-diving or submarine. There's sunken ship wreaks to search & sharks to fend off, but who knows what else we might encounter or discover beneath the ocean floor. There could be a giant squid or lost cities, but we're left with speculations. It stays true to the theme of the oceans, it'll remain a mystery...until it's release date.

I don't know about you, but I'm tired of open world games where the only change in the environment is the weather. So tired of worlds based solely in cities or desert plains. No matter where you travel, there isn't much change in-between the scenery. It all looks dull & boring, leaving you with a blank expression or just ignoring it. While Red Dead Redemption was landscaped beautifully, it lacked much to do within it's beauty but admire it.

GTA V isn't only gorgeous, but it's enticing. Your not going to rely on catching a cab to get around as much as I did with GTA IV (believe me, I always used a taxi, unless I absolutely had to drive). You're going want to travel, whether it's by foot, bike, scuba diving, driving, flying, or soaring. This is an open world that your going to search every inch of it & savor ever moment in it. During your exploration, you also have many activities you can interact with during your free time in-between missions.

There's nothing worse then exploring an open world that has minimal things to do within them besides the old search for hidden items routine. While I'm sure, GTA V will still offer this, there is a great deal of more gratifying situations to take interest in.

First, lets start with the missions. Which are based upon different types of heists, in which you get to plan and choose how to execute them . As many noticed in the gameplay video, there's a heist where a truck rams into another truck, toppling it & destroying some scenery in the process. That heist is based on a robbery from the movie Heat. Which is something I don't think any game has ever attempted to pull off since Kane & Lynch: Dead Men (A not-so-great game heavily influenced by Heat).

It's not only their thievery of Heat, that I make comparisons between the two. It's because you can commit robberies in both! Never have I felt more like I was embodying an criminal persona then with GTA V. In past titles, I've felt more like a gun for hire who transforms into a deranged sociopath at the drop of a dime. Most of us have that Dr.Jekyll & Mr.Hyde syndrome.

GTA V feels more criminal because you now have 3 characters with different personalities. Giving you the option to change how you play by picking who to play with. I've already casted my line-up. Starring as Dr.Jekyll, Micheal, terrorizing as Mr.Hyde, Trevor, leaving Franklin as mix of both. Even police chases are going to feel more intense. With swat members shooting at you while hanging off the side of a SUV & the only thing to look forward to is the road blocks ahead of you. It's going feel like's there's a nation wide manhunt for you. Especially at night when helicopters can spotlight you.

Outside of the missions, you can still commit stick-ups. I've only witnessed 2 different robberies, one being a liquor store & the other an armored truck. Banks might also be a possibility or a least be a mission, but I hope there are other options.

With the armored truck, it looks like your going to need something to block it from moving & some type of explosive placed on the back doors. Rather then steal the truck, blow it to smithereens (leaving only the money intact), & collect.

I'm more intrigued about the liquor store, while the information is unavailable at this moment. There's a black & white picture at the bottom of the Visit Los Santos & Blaine County page, that reads "24-Hour Convenience Stores". The screen shown is the inside of a 7-Eleven or gas station type store, but from the eye of security camera. Which leaves me wondering if you can steal the security tape after sticking it up & watch the tape at home.

Honestly, one of the biggest draws to GTA V isn't the customization options, but the amount of customization & options provided. You can customize your weapons, pimp out your ride,  purchase clothing, get inked up, equip Chop with different dog collars, & select different styles of parachutes. That's only whats been shared.

Having customization & options is a must in today's world of gaming. The reason being, is that ultimately it leads to different gaming experiences. Who wants to play the same game? if it only concludes sharing the same experience.

Not many current games even offer customization, let alone a variety. Although there is a game that comes to mind involving variety. That game being San Andreas (some of you might of predicted I'd reference Saints Row, the bizarro open world of GTA).

With Saints Row IV showing signs of being taken serious as a contender. I trust that  GTA V will prove that it's still the supreme reigning champ, receiving a rating no lower then 10 (came to this conclusion after reading Mr.Sterling's review of Saints Row IV).

Unfortunately, I chose to trace it back to it's origin though. Which for me, was San Andreas. It's because of this game that I was so disappointed in GTA IV. You could fluctuate your weight between crackhead thin, bulging mass of fat, or a heavy steroids user. The amount of clothing you could purchase was preposterous. Unlike in GTA IV, where you had two or three looks to choose from. Even vehicles could be customized and equipped with nitrous and/or hydraulics. It also included airplanes, jet-packs, skydiving, monster trucks, & great 90's tunes.

Rockstar has always managed to put together an impeccable soundtrack with all of it's titles. Even though I feel that it gets overlooked. What doesn't ever go unnoticed, is it's engaging storytelling. You can't name a title by them that didn't have an alluring storyline. Go ahead, I'll wait.

Which is more of a guarantee that Rockstar won't be making any mistakes in those two categorizes when it comes to GTA V.

Also making it's re-appearance since San Andreas, is gang banging, although no details have lead me to believe that you can choose what set to bang. It appears we'll be donning the color of the almighty dollar while representing Groove Street again. While our gang rivals remain to be those Grimice stained Ballas.

No other gangs have been confirmed to my knowledge, but I'm sure their will be. Gang Wars is something I'd like to see return too. Which I believe it will, but have no evidence to prove it.

Now if you didn't know what else there was to do in this game. I'll name a few without having to go into much detail. We'll have golf, tennis, arm-wrestling, hunting, sky-diving, base jumping, racing, & water sports. I could be wrong on that last one but I don't consider jet skiing a water sport. We'll also be able to purchase stocks, buy or sell properties, go sight seeing, and take trips by airlines to fast travel.

We might be able to work out & do yoga also, but those are just my speculations. With more information on it's way, it's hard to tell what else there is to expect. Now I've already pre-ordered the special edition but also plan on purchasing the season pass.

You can aspect to see a few characters from past GTA titles causing mayhem in GTA V, but they will only appear & be playable online

After witnessing the online gameplay video. I'm happy to confess that I believe this will be the best online experience that any game has to offer. Unfortunately, it won't be accessible until October 1st. Which might frustrate some people, but not me. This allows me to really indulge in the single player experience & not have the compulsion to jump straight online. Which would have been the more likely outcome, had the online feature been accessible the day of release.

Not only can you customize your online character, but it looks like everything you can do in single player will be available online too! Not only that, but being able to create our own death-matches & build race tracks for land, air, or sea. Are signs that we won't be getting frivolous dlc content. Say good-bye to map packs & paying for content that was already available to you in single player but you have to purchase the dlc to access it online.

While some people may claim that GTA V is the greatest GTA title. That statement doesn't truly express it's greatness. It's bigger then just another series in a franchise, it's the evolution of the open world genre & maybe even gaming.
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About Hound Of Hadesone of us since 5:56 PM on 11.09.2010