With Rockstar finally unveiling an awe-inspiring gameplay trailer for Grand Theft Auto V this month, impatient gamers the world over found yet another convincing reason to flock to their favorite retail stores and pre-order one of the most anticipated titles of 2013. As the release date for the next installment in Rockstar’s virtual crime-committing franchise looms near, however, we decided it was time to construct a thought-provoking list enlightening the uninformed few why Grand Theft Auto V’s intriguing premise is worthy of their undivided attention.
5) Engaging Multiplayer
Whether it was cruising around and partaking in virtual sightseeing with your friends via Free Mode, slaughtering the competition during Team Deathmatch, or utilizing strategic, well-coordinated teamwork to complete contracts in Team Mafiya Work, Grand Theft Auto IV provided mischief-makers with enough online content to keep them occupied for months and (if you’re anything like us) even years on end. Luckily for us, Rockstar isn’t planning on backtracking from its highly-regarded online support anytime soon. As it turns out, Grand Theft Auto V will feature its own multiplayer portion named Grand Theft Auto Online, and though the gameplay trailer reveal stayed relatively mum when it came to delivering concrete details, we do know that online multiplayer will play an even larger role in the series than ever before. On top of that, Grand Theft Auto Online will also utilize the “Crew” mechanic seen in Max Payne 3 by sharing your established crews via Rockstar’s Social Club, which means you can keep track of your ongoing feuds with other rival crews and even earn extra XP for mercilessly slaughtering them during white-knuckle multiplayer matches. Aside from these facts, however, we’d be quite astonished if Grand Theft Auto Online didn’t also incorporate at least a couple of new multiplayer modes to go alongside the return of Grand Theft Auto IV’s wealth of established game modes – though it can be assumed that most gamers will be causing unparallelled amounts of mayhem during Free Mode either way. While the series’ bread and butter has always been its dynamic single-player experience, we’re salivating at the mouth thinking of all the unique features and game types Rockstar could have hidden under their sleeve when it comes to Grand Theft Auto V’s promising multiplayer component, Grand Theft Auto Online.
4) Action-Packed Bank Heist Missions
Sure, Rockstar may have implemented a bank heist objective into Grand Theft Auto IV’s story-based mission structure, but thoughtfully organizing, coordinating, and executing these adrenaline-pumping jobs was never really fully explored until now. More than just Payday: The Heist with an extra coat of polish, Grand Theft Auto V’s multi-tiered, cash-nabbing heists – sprinkled carefully throughout the course of the story – can be approached however you see fit thanks to game-changing options that help alter the entire dynamic of the mission in various ways. With that said, in order to successfully perform (and survive) these engaging bank heists, careful preparation – through hiring specialists (wheelmen, hackers, etc.) and completing the necessary sub-missions – must be taken into consideration in order to flawlessly escape unharmed with the dough. Even though the room for error may seem slim during these potentially nerve-rattling missions, the overall reward for your trouble is undeniably high as you could easily pocket millions of hard-earned dollars to spend on Los Santos’ vast array of purchasable items – ranging from luxurious properties and expensive vehicles to weapon modifications and performance-enhancing car customizations. Regardless of the virtual monetary incentives, however, Grand Theft Auto V’s high-stake heist missions should be more than enough to get your blood-pumping and your calloused gaming thumbs twitching.
3) Three Customizable Characters
Whereas Grand Theft Auto IV’s storyline focused entirely on the down-to-business, undeniably cynical Niko Bellic, Rockstar’s latest entry in the controversial series plans to scratch the one-protagonist-per-title mentality of its highly-acclaimed predecessors in favor of three unique, fully customizable main characters: Michael, Franklin, and Trevor. While decking out each personality-brimming protagonist with fresh ink, fashionable clothing, and flawlessly-trimmed haircuts may be enough for some crime-thirsty gamers, Grand Theft Auto V will also feature a slick transitioning system that allows players to gracefully swap between the game’s trio of characters mid-mission or even as they leisurely explore the vast world of Los Santos (though we’ve heard rumors that this mechanic won’t be available to players from the game’s initial start). As an added incentive to frequently switch between Michael, Franklin and Trevor, each dynamic character will be equipped with a special ability – such as Michael’s Max Payne-esque, slow-motion bullet time mode or Trevor’s empowering rage mode – along with standard attributes – like driving, shooting, strength, and lung capacity to name a few – that can be leveled-up the more you utilize them. Though we’re still unsure how well these promising features will be implemented (not until September, that is), Rockstar’s multiple protagonist experiment seems fully capable of satisfying those that thought the fourth installment’s no-nonsense lead character lacked an intriguing, immersible personality.
2) Activities Galore
Taking a page from its subtitled brethren Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, Rockstar’s fifth fully-fledged installment plans on incorporating a plethora of exciting, time-consuming side activities for players to enjoy outside of the game’s engrossing, interwoven storyline. For car-crazed fanatics and trigger-happy gun enthusiasts, developers promise Grand Theft Auto V will offer dynamic vehicle and weapon customization, with the latter offering attachable gun modifications – such as grips, scopes, suppressors, and weapon skins – that you can apply at your leisure for the first time ever in the series. With that said, adrenaline junkies and wannabe death-defiers can expect the welcome return of pulse-accelerating activities such as base jumping and sky diving, while others will be satisfied knowing that a seemingly limitless list of other engaging distractions – such as exploring the vast mysteries of the underwater world via scuba diving, tapping into your inner Tiger Woods during a round of golf or testing your steady trigger finger during Red Dead Redemption-inspired hunts – await them at every turn. Amongst all else, it seems like Rockstar is trying desperately to make up for Grand Theft Auto IV’s noticeable lack of non-story-related content and honestly, we’re perfectly fine with that.
1) Enormous Open World Map
Compared to the varying environments and vast, awe-inducing landscapes that made San Andreas’ gigantic map such an enthralling world to explore, Grand Theft Auto IV’s more condensed recreation of Liberty City’s sky-reaching cityscapes may have seemed slightly less adventure-inspiring to some. Thankfully, Rockstar isn’t planning on making that same mistake twice with Grand Theft Auto V, which – according to sources at Polygon – will feature a world map “three times bigger than that of the entire map of Red Dead Redemption” filled with consistently changing scenery, photorealistic environments and true exploration-worthy opportunities unlike anything seen in the series’ past predecessors. From the hustle and bustle of downtown metropolitan areas to the sparkling open waters and sprawling mountain ranges of peaceful, animal-inhabited countrysides (and everything in between), the diverse mix of rural and urban locations – packed to the brim with the series’ rewarding, hidden secrets – is sure to mesmerize even the most skeptical of gamers. Oh, and as an added cherry on top, Grand Theft Auto V’s massive world is also entirely free to explore as soon as you start the game, which should cause series veterans to rejoice knowing they no longer have to progress through an excessive amount of story missions in order to experience all the jaw-dropping sights Rockstar’s latest installment has to offer.
Grand Theft Auto V will be releasing on September 17th on both PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 consoles.