Welcome to Los Santos: GTA V Official Review


Viva Los Santos:  Inside the game  


Grand Theft Auto V is the newest entry to Rockstar Games’ highly acclaimed and highly controversial Grand Theft Auto series, and it is a superb one. GTA V has been one of the most anticipated games of the year, with good reason. Rockstar had been making big promises for their next foray into the world of Grand Theft Auto, and they did not fall short on anything. Released Sept 17, GTA V brings players back to the sprawling city of Los Santos for the first time since 2004’s Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. In GTA V, the story is shared between three protagonists; Michael, a retired bank robber attempting to live his life with his very dysfunctional family, Franklin, a young ex-gang banger willing to do whatever he can to get away from the toxic community he was brought up in, and Trevor, a completely crazy and sadistic ex-Air Force pilot who used to run jobs with Michael. Circumstances bring the three men together, and in doing so, they end up making money the only way they know how –robbing banks.

GTA V; Los Santos (Photo Credit:  Rockstar Games)


The gameplay in Grand Theft Auto V greatly resembles that of previous games in the series, with new additions being made mainly because of the three characters. At almost any time during gameplay, the player can switch between any of the three characters. Each character has their own stats, missions, friends, and their own lives. Michael, Franklin and Trevor all have their own special abilities that can be activated and augments their specific strengths; Michael has a “bullet time” ability; slowing down time to a crawl while he is in a shootout. Franklin has a similar ability that can be activated while he is driving, slowing down time and giving players greater control of the vehicle. Trevor has a type of adrenaline rush as his ability; while it is active he is more resistant to damage and deals more of it. Rockstar managed to make this new three-character setup work well and feel unique based on which character is being played. The differences in gameplay between the three men are slight, so as not to be jarring, but also just different enough for it to be noticeable that the player really is in the shoes of different characters.

Another honorable mention goes to the various activities around Los Santos such as races, firing ranges, assassinations, golf, tennis, scuba diving – the list goes on. Los Santos is a big city and feels very alive with all these different things to do, and all of these activities are equally fun and well-crafted. It isn’t often that the same could be said for non-crime activities in a crime game, but in GTA V, Rockstar has certainly made it possible to sink time into almost any facet of this huge game they built.  Moreover, they made sure to give equal amounts of love and effort to even the smallest parts of this experience.

(Photo Credit:  Rockstar Games)

World/Other Details:

Los Santos is massive; possibly the one of the biggest and most lively worlds that a game of this type has ever had. Frequently, when game publishers aim for having large open worlds, there isn’t a great deal to do or see in the campaign play.  Conversely, GTA V has plenty of things to do and see, whether it be sporting events, watching movies, or even just driving around, the world is incredibly detailed as well, and cut corners are very hard to find. Pedestrians don’t just randomly walk around; they have lives and jobs and things that they do. One can occasionally run across a purse snatcher or a gang shootout, among tons of other completely non-scripted events that can happen in the city. Even the smallest character actions are detailed:  Steal a car, and you have to wait for your character to hotwire the thing. If a player switches characters, they would find that the character they switched to was already doing something beforehand, living their life as opposed to waiting for the player to switch over. The only real place the game slips up is in its treatment of female characters – not women as a whole, but there is, as apparent to the main script, just one female character who is even portrayed remotely positively. Even in a satirical world like Grand Theft Auto, this comes off as a bit jarring, confusing, and a tad artificial as well.


Grand Theft Auto V is an incredible experience. Though it may take players a little while to at least have access to everything the game has to offer, they will enjoy the journey every step of the way. The world is big and immaculately detailed, and the gameplay immensely enjoyable, save for the rather finicky flying controls. While the world is one of satire and lampooning, some of the game’s characters send iffy message of sorts. All in all, however, the GTA V is most definitely on the list as one of the best releases of the year, and players will feel right at home visiting Los Santos.