Boros here and... this is a game that I really don't want to review. People have been getting crucified for simply not giving this game 5 stars or a 10 out of 10, which is why I've put off reviewing this for so long. Hell, I got it when it came out, but with the fire that this game caused, I didn't want to throw my hat in the ring just yet. Especially since I don't like this game. Now, that's not to say that this is a bad game, but it just doesn't appeal to me the way that GTA used to. GTA 4 had some of the same problems, but had a story that engaged me enough to like the game. GTA 5 doesn't have the same appeal, nor does the gameplay engage me the way that GTA San Andreas does. Maybe if I'm going to explain my position it'd be best to go ahead and start.
First of all, it should be said that for the record that this game was supposed to have the biggest square mile sandbox of all sandboxes. While that might be true, it certaintly doesn't feel bigger. This could be that the cars move faster in this game. It could be that the marketing department of Rockstar is just full of s#!t. However, I believe that it's because they didn't take advantage of the space given. The other games were split into 3 different areas, often making it clear which part of the map you were on. Thus, making the map feel bigger than it was. GTA 5's map isn't split up at all, and while I'm not 100% sure, I think you can go wherever you want from the word go. I never really checked this, but I almost always find the border of where you can't go yet naturally in GTA games. I never found it in this one, but then again it maybe because I simply wasn't having fun, therefore wasn't really exploring. All of this contributes to the island feeling much smaller than it is.
Another minor thing that urked me is the fact that it only took me 40 hours to get through all of the quests (including side quests, not including collectables.) Which in retrospect, isn't a bad length for a game, but after playing GTA 4 which was story complete in 60 hours, I was expecting something longer. Plus, I spent $60 dollars on this damned thing, and expected to get my money's worth with at least side quests. Maybe I wouldn't make such a big deal of it if the box blurb hadn't stated 70 hours of gameplay. Yeah, my ass. Unless they were talking about the pointless mini game crap that is strewn all over the place. In which case, you can keep it, because that's not what GTA should be about.
Now then, off to one of the main points of the story. The story has 3 main characters in it fighting for screen time. There's Michael, a former bank robber whose life of luxury can't stop the emptiness inside without robbing banks, Franklin, who I believe is supposed to be the straight man in a mad man's world, and finally, Trevor, who is just a filthy, amoral psychotic who wants to have fun. These people are basically just trying to survive all of the people and gangs they've pissed off, eventually realising that the best way to solve their problems is murdering things. Now, Trevor is probably my favorite GTA character, because he just doesn't give a s#!t. Plus, some of his lines are really funny. However, it doesn't really save the game. Michael just comes across a man going through a mid life crisis and can't live life without murdering. Franklin is my least favorite out of them though, because he verbally shows distain for the way things are being done, yet, blindly follows them anyway like he doesn't care about himself. Plus, the ending seems rushed. Without meaning to spoil, the final mission involves simply killing all of the opposing gang leaders in one mission then ending by the characters staying low. This may have also contributed to why the game feels short. Everything gets resolved at once, and doesn't do it gradually like in other GTA games. Also, the story seems to be a mess. There's a part where you have to fly a plane and land it, THEN the game goes through the flying tutorial. Plus, splitting the story between 3 different characters seems to make the story be told almost backward. The characters actually got decently fleshed out which is impressive, but having to switch back and forth between them to progress the story means that certain things are happening before they should. There's a part where Trevor goes to the city area in search of Michael, but Michael was already talking about contacting Trevor, so when Franklin goes to Trevor's trailer, Trevor is... there... At the trailer. When the story just said he was in the city. I haven't figured that one out yet. However, this story's problems are minimal compared to the biggest problem I have with the game.
The gameplay... just, the gameplay. I know that's very vague, but there's not much in the gameplay that I liked. Now, in GTA 4, the gameplay was the weakest part of the game, because it was too realistic and the it didn't have that mindless f@&k around quality that the previous ones had. GTA 5 is even worse with this problem. It's much easier to die under fire and exploding cars is more of a b!#ch. In previous GTA games, what I like is the cheats that prevent the police from coming letting you f@&k around doing whatever you want, blowing up cars, planes, and whatever. Even GTA 4 had an ability to crash cars head on to cause a chain reaction explosion and not get wanted because it was an "accident". Now, GTA 5 doesn't even let that happen, because the cars WILL stop working before they explode unless you hit the gas tank correctly, and even if you do that there's no surviving the crash, because it explodes instantly. You can also shoot the cars, but that gets you wanted. Plus, as I said before, you die much easier under fire, meaning that the pointless destruction of the old GTA games is marred severely. Any cathartic explosions were replaced by rage as the cops were able to get me killed before I could get back to my getaway vehicle. The mindlessness has to be planned, and that's not a good thing. GTA shouldn't be about planned craziness. It should be about mindless f@&king around and destroying things whenever you feel like it.
To be fair though, planned heists are the big new feature, and they're really well done. Basically, you pick one of two different approaches and spend the next several missions gathering materials to pull off the heist via the plan you picked. I actually really like this. It actually fun to see your planned bank robbery in action from the way you picked to do it. Plus, it's cool to see the characters improvise when things go bad. Too bad it's only done 4 times in the whole f@&king game. Otherwise, this might have been what makes this game for me.
In conclusion, this isn't a bad game. I just don't like it. I tried my damnedest to like it as well, playing as Trevor trying to create random chaos, but any joy was replaced with bitterness. I just don't have fun with this game. I can't really recommend it, because I don't have fun with the game and that's the bottom line. Games should be fun, and this one isn't.