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


Latin rock group La Ley coming to El Paso
Popular Latin rock group La Ley is coming to El Paso, organizers announced Wednesday.
Toronto Film Festival unveils lineup
NEW YORK (AP) - The Toronto International Film Festival unveiled a star-heavy lineup amid increased festival jockeying for the most plum premieres of Hollywood's fall season.
'Fargo' gets 2nd season on FX with new cast, crime
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) - FX is taking another trip to "Fargo." The network announced Monday it has renewed the series for a second season with a new cast, time period and crime. The location, however, is still being worked out.
FXX plans 12-day 'Simpsons' marathon in August
BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) - The full 25-year run of "The Simpsons" will arrive on cable channel FXX with a summer marathon, to be followed this fall by a digital extravaganza that could turn other TV shows yellow with envy.
Toys of Comic-Con: Star Wars Car, a Doomsday doll
LOS ANGELES (AP) - When it comes to designing coveted collectible toys for sale at Comic-Con, the annual celebration of pop culture lifting off Thursday in San Diego, the sky's the limit for the designers at Mattel. Fittingly, the building where Mattel's dreamers conceive of their limited-edition playthings is just down the street from the Los Angeles International Airport.
Weekend box office: 'Apes' outmuscles 'The Purge' at box office
NEW YORK (AP) - The summer box office continued to lack mojo, as the R-rated "Sex Tape" failed to turn on moviegoers over a weekend where "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" maintained its rule.
Film, TV legend James Garner, reluctant hero, dies
NEW YORK (AP) - Few actors could register disbelief, exasperation or annoyance with more comic subtlety. James Garner had a way of widening his eyes while the corner of his mouth sagged ever so slightly. Maybe he would swallow once to further make his point.
Bid of $10,755 wins 1937 'Snow White' billboard
DALLAS (AP) - A large, colorful billboard from the 1937 release of the animated film "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" has been sold at auction for $10,755.
Tiempo Calendar: Movies in the Canyon, Kids-N-Co. and Easton Corbin
Today, July 18 Texas Showdown Tattoo & Music Festival: The event will feature three days of tattooing by 300 artists from around the world as well as celebrity artists, vendors, food and a beer garden. The festival is set for noon to 11 p.m. July 18-20 at El Paso County Coliseum, 4100 E. Paisano. Music headliners are Deftones, July 18, Drowning Pool, July 19, and Wu-Tang Clan, July 20. $30 a day; $75 three-day pass. El Paso County Coliseum Box Office, 533-9899, Ticketmaster outlets, 800-745-3000, ticketmaster.com, texastattoo showdownfestival.com.
Popular trio Los Lonely Boys to take stage at Music Under the Stars
They are truly a band of brothers. A talented one at that. Los Lonely Boys, made up of Latino Texas siblings Henry Garza, guitarist, JoJo Garza, bassist, and Ringo Garza Jr., drummer, have been drawing in fans with their catchy fusion of sound, drawing from rock, blues, Tex-Mex, conjunto and Tejano music.
Stay in tune: Judas Priest concert tickets on sale Friday
Heavy-metal band Judas Priest will make a stop at UTEP's Don Haskins Center on Nov. 8. The British-born band released its 17th studio album "Redeemer of Souls" last week.
Things to do in El Paso: Nightspot listings
Aceitunas Beer Garden: 5200 Doniphan. 845-2277; aceitunasbeergarden.com. Everyday People, 9 p.m. July 18.
Stage review: UTEP Dinner Theatre puts entertaining spin on dated 'Chess: The Musical'
"Chess: The Musical," UTEP Dinner Theatre's current production, has a great pedigree. The music was composed by Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson, the two geniuses behind the longtime group ABBA, while the lyrics were penned by Tim Rice, the man responsible for "Evita" and "The Lion King."
Restaurant review: Tasty traditional tortas, fresh food highlight menu at House Kitchen in East El Paso
As the hustle and bustle of the crowd flows in and out of First National Bank, where visitors head to the dentist office, see their lawyer, cash a check or stop in at a variety of other businesses inside this building, there is an inviting aroma floating in the air — the kind that makes you sniff with a smile, salivate and lick your lips, wondering where it's coming from.
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.

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