With Grand Theft Auto V just a few months from release, this author looked ahead and thought I might give my opinion on what I hope Rockstar will fix with the latest GTA installment.
While the GTA series has always been revolutionary that isn’t to say the franchise is perfect. Here are my top five hopes for GTA V:
I. Choices: In GTA IV there were a few missions that allowed players to decide the fate of a few characters in the game: A, kill marked bad guy, or B, spare the sucker and let him escape with his life. Unfortunately, these choices were few and far between, and had no consciences whatsoever on the endgame. While they allow the player to feel some sense of control, I would hope that any choices I make, giving that GTA is ripe with freedom. Decisions should be counted among the ability to steal any vehicle, cause mayhem on the street or pick which mission I want to play. Like any criminal life, there are consequences to our choices.
II. Silly or Realism, make your mind up: GTA III, Vice City and San Andreas all had a comical approach to the story. You weren’t meant to take these characters or their actions seriously. It was a romantic comedy view of the criminal underworld filled with all sorts of silly antics. However, in GTA IV the game took on a serious narrative, showing the impact that drugs have on certain characters. Crime was brutal and loved ones can easily get caught in the crossfire. There was a blur between right and wrong that made it hard to know what side was which. Still, GTA IV features some-odd out-of-place humor: comedy club, funny TV shows, stupid radio aids and silly billboards. All of this made the world of GTA IV less believable than the narrative was suggesting. I hope that GTA V finds a better balance or sticks to one formula altogether.
III. I want my freedom back! This was perhaps the biggest sin that GTA IV committed: removing the players’ freedom to carryout missions how they saw fit. Too many missions in GTA IV were heavily scripted, something that was apparent when gamers played through certain mission’s several times over: always the fire trucks will appear at one intersection. The bad guy on the motorcycle will slow down after reaching particular street corner, or a certain bike/car must be used or the opponent will get away. In past GTA titles, gamers could find new and exciting ways to complete missions that were limited only by the players’ imagination. I would love to see this aspect return with GTA V.
IV. Use the world: GTA IV was wonderfully designed. There were minuscule details sprinkled under every bridge, street corner, tunnel and house that the game world felt alive and very real. However, much of the map wasn’t used for actual gameplay. Most of the landmarks went unused or unvisited, while past GTA games made full use of their world, barely leaving a corner of it uncovered. In GTA IV, players who liked to roam and explore might enjoy the extra bits of detail that the developers included, but so much of the game felt abandoned and unnecessary. Sure, some areas were finally used to greater use in the two GTA IV expansions, but I want to see the game world exploited in the central game.
V. Please, no more wasteful missions: Love them or hate them but GTA IV did like to waste your time. I understand the slower buildup that these games like to take to some of their missions, but when I’m tasked with hanging out with a friend, getting drunk and then driving his sorry butt home, that isn’t fun to me. I hope that Rockstar has gone back to what works. Missions should carry the story forward, not force the player to drag their feet and play darts. Sure, it is okay to have all the side-quests or do certain activities on your own time. S should stay focused and frankly, be fun.
All GTA fans have their own wish-list. So gamers, sound off and tells us what you hope, dream, or fear might or might not be included in GTA V.