First Five Hours With GTA V. Grand Theft Auto V Playthrough.
The first five hours with the most anticipated game of the current console generation.
(Minor Spoilers Ahead).
The Order A Game Blog brings you all things GTA V.
The first thing that I noticed when the game eventually started after the lengthy and mandatory 8gb install is that this is not a rags to riches story.
The game kicks off in the middle of a Bank Heist that sort of acts as a training ground for the player and looks to effectively serve as a platform for the player to hit the ground running.
Holding L2 and with the on screen, player controlled character aiming, the bank staff is directed into the next room. Presumably, a big game mechanic has been shown and it is somewhat established that this element of aiming at non playable characters and thus directing them to move, will not only be an element of the game that will be used perhaps many times during the long journey that awaits me, but one that will be used in order to ensure that players have an option available to them that does not demand a gun and run approach – but one that can also allow for daring jobs to be pulled off in a less violent way.
During this time the other crew member has set a device at the vault to blow the doors open. Subsequently, the player is prompted to use the cell phone in order to set the device off. Press a button to bring up the cell phone and set the device off. It almost instantaneously becomes apparent that the cell phone in GTA V is not just a device that will serve as an add on or supplementary gameplay component, or one that is only used to gain access to missions or mission prompts, or even one that is present in the game to allow for sometimes annoying and flow breaking moments when you are essentially called to take part in what seems like a meaningless and forced activity, but a device that will serve as an integral part of the game. This is further re-enforced further down my initial five hour playthrough in another mission that serves up as a mockery of the current social network and latest gadget fuelled society.
Once the vault doors are open the next thing to do is rush in grab the cash and then head for the planned exit. The heist so far seems like a great intro to the somewhat new additions to the gameplay but to the actual game itself. What follows next is a shoot out with the cops arriving as the crew make their exit. As soon as the shootout begins it become very clear that the recent Rockstar Games, released since GTA IV hit the streets in 2008, have had an impact on the playing mechanics in GTA V. The shooting feels better. The cover system a bit more fluid. The fact that you can continue shooting from the hip without aiming feels more organic and the transition from one animation to the other more real and fluid.
In the midst of all this and the high octane intro, which is a major step away from previous GTA games which told a rags to riches story and the intro was more of an easing into gameplay rather than this full on introduction, the player is introduced to the new, and perhaps the most significant addition to the new game, the character switching. Switching from one character to the other when they are in close proximity and part of the same mission feels immediate and natural and you immediately get the feeling that this game is going to be a better ride because of this new character switching element.
Once the shootout was over the next thing was the escape which ushered in the next big gameplay element in the game – the driving. As soon as taking control of the vehicle the first thing that struck me was that the driving felt different. Whether this was different in a good way – I was not sure.
The controls while driving felt slightly loose or maybe not as tight as the driving controls in Grand Theft Auto IV. However, I got used to the new controls, as the game progressed, and managed to be more skilled with controlling the cars.
The game intro which played through a flashback taking place nine years prior to the present day setting of the game then transitioned into the present day setting of Los Santos and the intro credits.
The next scene was a therapy session between Michael and his shrink that showed n all its glory the facial animation tech and the high caliber of the voice acting that can be found in the game.
Players then take control of franklin and he stays as the main controllable character for the next 30 mins to an hour of the game. I explored Los Santos discovering new parts of the map while trying to follow the ever present tutorial prompts that kept on showing up on the top left side of the screen.
Particularly impressive was Franklins special ability, activated by pressing both L3 and R3 at the same time while driving. The ability allows time to be slowed down which sees sharp turns being made, oncoming traffic avoided and provides players with another gameplay mechanic that adds another layer onto this already deep game.
Taking missions from a dodgy Car Dealership owner and taking in the sites I eventually got to the mission that leads to the re-entrance of Michael into the game and allows the player to take control of him as well.
This is the time that character switching can be utilised in the game which works in almost a google street view type of way with the game camera switching to a top down view and then zooming out before zooming in to the chosen character. This all looks good and works well but the first time I tried this the wait in zooming into the chosen character seemed to take a bit longer than expected. Minor gripe but it just seems to take a bit of a long time when the characters are not in close proximity and a distance apart.
Playing as Michael is the bit that I have so far enjoyed the most. He has a very dysfunctional family and his various confrontations with the different members of his family over the next couple of hours led to some very funny and interesting cut scenes which once again highlighted the absolute brilliant writing that has become a hallmark of the GTA franchise over the years.
Michael’s missions over the next couple of hours were really fun. The mission where he pulls a hillside house down and the confrontation that follows was not only a great advertisement for the game but the turning point which lends itself as the foundation for the direction the campaign story is about to take.
In between the story missions I spent time doing a few side quests and taking part in encounters with strangers and freaks (which are NPC’s which trigger missions upon interaction and show up as ? on the map). I took control of a tow truck mission towing cars and another one where Michael is under the influence and starts to see Aliens coming towards him and has to take them all down in order to survive. The mission was played inside Michael’s head but provided a funny and light hearted moment that shows the variety that Los Santos is filled with.
The prep work for the first major heist was next on the cards but before that there was a cool mission that involved the Life Invader organisation and its boss. Clearly a take and mockery of the social network obsessed current time and empires that have been built on the premise of sharing stuff online the mission was well structured and one that leads to an OMG moment – of which there are likely to be many as I continue playing.
I also got my first taste of the brilliant new under water mechanics as part of one of the missions that progresses Michael’s story. The swimming mechanics feel good and the under water world looks amazing.
I also rode a bike, motor cycle, was involved in a chase on a water ski boat and played tennis – all of which worked really well.
The tennis game is not just a tacky mini game that just exists for the hell of it but the gameplay feels solid with all of the four face buttons being incorporated into the mechanics with a different kind of shot assigned to them all.
I spent almost five hours with the game so far – and this is just the start.
Let us know what you liked about the first few hours that you spent with GTA V.
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