I am excited about Grand Theft Auto’s imminent (or eminent! haha) release next week. I’ve already pre-ordered it and even taken the 17th off from work in preparation for a day full of simulated crime and villainy. While I know that Rockstar will undoubtedly provide me with a fantastic experience that I will enjoy every step of the way, I am a bit cautious about how gracefully they will pull of this new iteration to the series off.
Grand Theft Auto IV came out April 29th, 2008– that was over 5 years ago! A lot has happened in the 3rd person sandbox genre since then. Just last year, Sleeping Dogs came out of nowhere, which, in my opinion, really showed how the genre was done. Sleeping Dogs had solid driving controls in a beautiful, colorful city, while incorporating a solid hand-to-hand fighting system akin to the Arkham series. While the gunplay didn’t play a big part in the game, Sleeping Dogs provided a competent cover-and-aiming system that got the job done.
Playing Sleeping Dogs really showed me the potential for the next Grand Theft Auto game and what could really be done with the genre. The driving in all GTA games has always seemed like you were driving on a road made of marbles, and the hand-to-hand combat has always seemed incomplete in every iteration. Most of all, the shooting mechanics have never been quite there either. They tried to improve it in Grand Theft Auto 4, and it got a lot better, but it still wasn’t that great.
|Sleeping Dogs was one of my favorite
games last year!
In all of these departments of gameplay, Rockstar has only really mentioned one, and that is the shooting. They have stated that they have invested a lot of time into it, and I have heard rumors that it is akin to Rockstar’s ‘recent’ game Max Payne 3. If that is the case, it should be pretty good, as Max Payne 3’s shooting was enjoyable.
While Rockstar has been announcing all sorts of great things about Grand Theft Auto Online, I find myself strangely cautious about getting too hyped about the multiplayer. If you recall, Rockstar hyped up GTA IV’s multiplayer, as well, back in 2008, and we all know how great that turned out! While it isn’t like me to be negative, we also have the hype of Red Dead Redemption and the ‘posse’ system, which was not all it was cracked up to be. While there is a precedent to being completely skeptical about GTA V’s multiplayer, I still can’t help being excited about it.
The new three-protagonist angle that GTA V introduces has me cautiously optimistic. I think this new idea of theirs has great potential in story-telling. Look to Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series or George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones. Both series have benefited from the point of view of multiple characters simultaneously. However, we all know that, at times, it can become tedious when stuck with a character you don’t much care for, but you must read on to get on with the story. While Rockstar is great at creating in-game personalities, they have oft made characters that I did not much care for. (Who liked Roman!?) Hopefully the ability to switch characters on the fly will alleviate such a problem.
Don’t let my words fool you, though, I am ridiculously excited to play the game. Rockstar always provides a highly polished and entertaining experience with every iteration of Grand Theft Auto. I just hope that they continue to improve on the mechanics that need work. Happy larceny everybody!