Game Review: 'GTA V' triples the intensity

Updated: Tuesday, September 17 2013, 02:20 PM MDT
Game Review:

By: DERRIK J. LANG, AP Entertainment Writer
LOS ANGELES (AP) — I had such a fun weekend.

After seeing a movie, I went down to the beach to ride the roller coaster on the pier and go jet skiing in the ocean. Afterward, I got a haircut and bought a new suit, and then I returned home to unwind with some fresh juice and a yoga session in my backyard. Later, I met up with one of my friends for drinks at a downtown watering hole.

I live in Los Angeles, but I didn't do any of that stuff there. Nah, it all happened over the past 48 hours while visiting Los Santos, the virtual seaside metropolis cunningly depicted in "Grand Theft Auto V" (Rockstar Games, for the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, $59.99). Oh, did I mention I also committed dozens of felonies?

For the most part, it's illegal business as usual in the latest edition of "Grand Theft Auto." There are vehicles to swipe, schemes to plan and banks to rob. Unlike previous installments in the wildly successful — and violent — M-rated series, "GTAV" centers not just on one but three criminal protagonists: former partners Michael and Trevor, and their new protege, Franklin.

Nearly a decade after their last heist went terribly wrong, middle-aged Michael is living comfortably bored in witness protection in a ritzy Los Santos mansion, while the unhinged Trevor is dealing meth and smuggling guns on the outskirts of town in Blaine County. Meanwhile, Franklin is hustling on the streets as a repo man for an unsavory car dealership owner.

The three men and their double- and triple-crossing ventures are ingeniously interwoven in both the narrative and gameplay of "GTA V," which allows players to almost seamlessly switch among Michael, Trevor and Franklin throughout the proceedings. With the tap of a few buttons, "GTA V" briskly sweeps across Los Santos from one anti-hero to another.

During missions involving all three dudes, the flip-flopping is key to avoid getting wasted by the Los Santo Police. For instance, one particularly high-pressured holdup of an armored car involves swapping between Michael and Franklin blasting at waves of cops on the ground, and Trevor picking them off with a sniper rifle from a rooftop.

It's not so much a gimmick as it is a flawless innovation on the established "GTA" formula.

Besides the usual felonious shenanigans, there are leisurely diversions spread across Los Santos, including customizing rides, investing in the stock market, racing jet skis, watching TV, surfing spoof sites online, playing tennis and patronizing strip clubs.

With an obsessive attention to detail, the city of Los Santos — last visited in 2004's "GTA: San Andreas" — and its outlying areas feel more alive than any virtual world I've ever visited. Rockstar Games has masterfully crafted a stunning make-believe take on modern Southern California that rivals the dragon-infested realm from "The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim."

However, this Los Santos is not a perfect clone of L.A.

The urban areas don't feel quite dense enough when compared with Liberty City from 2008's "GTA IV." And the rendition of Beverly Hills is basically across the street from downtown. Also, a few tired L.A. cliches — plastic surgery, seeking fame — are referenced so frequently the game almost veers into goofy "Saint's Row" territory.

Fortunately, any shortcomings with "GTA V" feel about as important as a random stranger crossing the street in Los Santos. Rockstar Games has created such a fascinating place for Michael, Trevor and Franklin to explore and wreak havoc, I think you'll want to visit for more than a weekend. I know I do. Four stars out of four.

___

Online:

http://www.rockstargames.com/V

___

Follow AP Entertainment Writer Derrik J. Lang on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/derrikjlang .


Game Review: 'GTA V' triples the intensity
comments powered by Disqus

More El Paso Entertainment


FX cancels El Paso-Juárez drama 'The Bridge'
Officials with the FX cable network announced Tuesday they will not bring back the El Paso-Juárez-based series "The Bridge" for a third season.
›› Photos: On the set of FX's show 'The Bridge'
Cost of making 'Hobbit' movies up to $745 million
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) - The movie trilogy "The Hobbit" has so far cost nearly three-quarters of a billion dollars to make as the epic continues to set new benchmarks for studio spending.
San Francisco radio stations ban hit song 'Royals'
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - The popular song "Royals" by New Zealand artist Lorde is getting caught up in the fervor over the upcoming World Series between the San Francisco Giants and Kansas City Royals.
Weekend box office: 'Fury' blasts 'Gone Girl' from top of box office
LOS ANGELES (AP) - The bloody World War II drama "Fury" blew past "Gone Girl" at theaters this weekend.
Rock and Roll Hall of Famer's Heart to perform in El Paso
In an era where most little girls were dressing up dolls, Ann and Nancy Wilson were jamming on guitars.
Tiempo Calendar: Home and Garden Show, Footloose: The Musical, Spooktacular
Today, Oct. 17 Home and Garden Show: The El Paso Convention Center will be transformed Oct. 17-19 for the annual fall event that will feature exhibits and displays, the latest in products and
Tickets on sale now for Ricky Martin concert in Juárez (update)
Tickets are now on sale to see popular Latin singer Ricky Martin in concert.
Movie capsules: The Book of Life; Fury; Men, Women & Children
Compiled from El Paso Times staff and wire reports. Film listings are subject to change.
Things to do in El Paso: Nightspot listings

Aceitunas Beer Garden: 5200 Doniphan. 845-2277; aceitunasbeergarden.com. Twilight Symphony, 9 p.m. Oct. 17.

Coming up: Monster's Ball, Shakespeare on the Rocks, Blue Oyster Cult

Del Corazón Film Festival: The seventh annual event is set for 7 p.m. Oct. 24 at 501 Bistro & Bar, 501 Texas, in the San Carlos Building, Downtown. The festival will feature a night of film, music and fun under the stars. Free. delcorazonfilmfest.org.

Dining out
Central Amigos Restaurant: 2000 Montana, $$, 533-0155. Tasty food, great specials. Ardovino's Pizza: 206 Cincinnati, $$, 532-9483, ardovinospizza.
Review: La Enchilada Mexican Kitchen offers unique, traditional dishes worth trying
Enchiladas are my all-time favorite meal — red chile with cheese or green chile with crab, to be exact.
'La Bamba' actress Elizabeth Pena dies at 55
LOS ANGELES (AP) - "La Bamba" and "Lone Star" actress Elizabeth Pena has died. She was 55.
HBO Go-ing away from cable, will stand on its own
NEW YORK (AP) - Next year HBO is cutting the cord and selling its popular streaming video service HBO Go as a stand-alone product, as more Americans choose to watch the Web, not the TV. Viewers longing to see "Game of Thrones", "True Detective" and "Veep" will no longer have to pay big bucks for cable and satellite contracts. Is this the end of pay-TV as we know it?
Former member of The Mars Volta, 'Ikey' Owens, dies
Keyboardist Isaiah "Ikey" Owens, a former member of The Mars Volta and many other projects, has died.

Come back often for updates of TV listings and El Paso area and Las Cruces entertainment stories. KFOX14 covers entertainment, programming and other entertainment related subjects. KFOX14 is dedicated to providing the best, timely and up to date entertainment news for El Paso and Las Cruces.

KFOX14 El Paso - Live Cast Watch live broadcasts of KFOX14 News seven days a week!
KFOX14 El Paso - Live Cast Like KFOX Scoop on Facebook!
advertisement
advertisement