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


Music aside, Aretha Franklin is pumped for fair food
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Aretha Franklin is jazzed about more than music at the Ohio State Fair: She's also looking forward to the food.
'Pawn Stars' TV star plans stores near famous shop
LAS VEGAS (AP) - The long parade of tourists who regularly stop by the downtown Las Vegas shop featured on the History Channel reality show "Pawn Stars" could soon have something better to do while waiting in line.
Comic-Con's dark side: Harassment amid the fantasy
SAN DIEGO (AP) - Amid the costumes and fantasy of this weekend's Comic-Con convention, a group of young women drew widespread attention to a very real issue - allegations of sexual harassment at the annual pop-culture festival.
Weekend box office: 'Lucy' tops 'Hercules' with $44M at box office
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Luc Besson's "Lucy" proved mind can overpower muscle, topping a remake of "Hercules" by director Brett Ratner at the box office on the weekend.
Godzilla returns: Sequel announced at Comic-Con
SAN DIEGO (AP) - Godzilla is coming back.
Counting Crows lead singer Duritz reminisces about living in El Paso as band returns for concert
Adam Duritz is coming home well, sort of. The lead singer and the Counting Crows are on the North American leg of their worldwide tour and will make a stop in El Paso on Aug. 4 at the Socorro Entertainment Center and Duritz is thrilled.
Tiempo Calendar: Movies on the Lawn, Alfresco! Fridays, "Vanya & Sonia & Masha & Spike"
Today, July 25 El Paso Chihuahuas: The Triple-A baseball team will play the Fresno Grizzlies at 7:05 p.m. July 25 at Southwest University Park, Downtown. Promotion: Fetch the Fun Friday and Latino Heritage Night. First 2,000 fans receive a stadium replica model. Tickets start at $8. 242-2000, epchihuahuas.com.
Things to do in El Paso: Nightspot listings
Aceitunas Beer Garden: 5200 Doniphan. 845-2277; aceitunasbeergarden.com. The Wildflowers, 9 p.m. July 25.
Movie Capsules
Compiled from El Paso Times staff and wire reports. Information about the film listings is subject to change.
Warm-up pitch: 'Field of Dreams' at Chihuahuas ballpark kicks off fest
"If you build it, they will come." If you show it, they may come, too. That's what the El Paso Community Foundation is hoping for.
Coming soon: Counting Crows, Marco Antonio Solis, Gabriel Iglesias
Counting Crows: The popular rock band, with their hit "Mr. Jones," will perform at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 4 at Socorro Entertainment Center, 11200 Santos Sanchez, Socorro.
Dining out: Places to eat in El Paso
Central Amigos Restaurant: 2000 Montana, $$, 533-0155. Tasty food and great specials. Ardovino's Pizza: 206 Cincinnati, $$, 532-9483, ardovinospizza.
Restaurant review: International Bakery & Deli still serving up good food, good service
It's a simple formula, but always a winning combination in my book — good conversation, a tasty deli sandwich and a quiet, quaint eatery.
Ricky Martin to be judge on 'The Voice ... Mexico'
MEXICO CITY (AP) - And the fourth and final judge for "The Voice ... Mexico" is: Ricky Martin.
'Sinister Six' spinoff to come next for Spider-Man
NEW YORK (AP) - The Spider-Man franchise will detour next with a "Sinister Six" spinoff in 2016, pushing "The Amazing Spider-Man 3" to 2018, Sony's Columbia Pictures said Wednesday in announcing an updated schedule.

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