The most anticipated title of the year is now available for anybody to purchase and enjoy. The question is has Rockstar maintained their reputation as the creators of the world’s best open world game?

It all begins in Los Santos, a town sprawling in misbehaviour, outrageous humour and fantastic scenery. As with San Andreas, which up to this point was my favourite in the GTA franchise, the map has a vast array of environments including: a huge city, beautiful beaches and mountainous ranges. In as far as open environments are concerned GTA V is by far the most impressive that I have played. A great argument for this is the fact that you can go everywhere you see on the map, which itself is bigger than Red Dead Redemption, San Andreas and Farcry 3. The size however, does not subtract from the thought that went into each and every millimetre of playable area.

I am pleased to say that the driving is slightly different from the last instalment, allowing slightly more freedom when barrelling around a corner while being chased by the law or some crazy drug dealer. Shooting has become more fluid and once acquainted with the buttons and each player’s ability it is addictive. The ease of movement and ability to switch between weapons is rather impressive and a new physics engine makes for more realism when bombarding the streets with destruction.

Rockstar have moved into a risky area with this new title as you are no longer restricted to one playable protagonist but rather three, each with their own characteristics and special abilities. Changing between characters is seamless and gives players the option to behave differently with each character and also to utilize a suitable person in situations of need. This is down to the fact that, as in San Andreas, each character has personal attributes that can be fine-tuned according to what activities you partake in.

Michael – a rich family man who has it all but lacks happiness, Franklyn – a regular run of the mill gangster trying to get out of the slums (GTA’s stereotypical type) and then Trevor – a crazed psychopath drug dealer. Throughout the storyline these characters meet and set up heists in order to achieve a score. These heists are carefully planned, from the strategies to the crew members helping to pull them off. Different crew members take different cuts of the bounty according to their abilities where the better candidates are more expensive to hire. The fact that it is possible to interchange between characters makes missions even more exciting as you can choose exactly how to achieve your goals by switching between players accordingly and by assigning different tasks to different players.

Storyline missions’ aside the game is filled with endless side missions and activities. Side missions, as per usual, are unlocked by simply exploring and meeting new people. Activities in GTA V, as with each title preceding it, include an impressive amount of ‘mini-games’. Some examples are tennis, street racing, golf, scuba-diving, sky-diving, darts, triathlons and dirt racing to name but a few. More shops are available than ever before and this allows for a diversity in selecting what each character will look like.

Throughout the game money is the essential objective as it is the only thing of importance in Los Santos. Why? Well open a browser and order a car, bike, plane or army tank and you will start to see. Buy properties and investments ranging from medical marijuana stores to bars and scrapyards. These investments themselves generate profits and yet more missions. Play the stocks online and test your investment finesse. Whatever you feel like doing, it’s possible to do. GTA has near all and forgets little in terms of content.

It has always been hard to say what my favourite game is as I have so much fun playing so many different types. GTA V, however, puts its hand up very high when I ask the question and I will boldly state that it was worth the wait and the best game that I have ever played.

Buy it, borrow it or steal it but most of all just get it.

GTA V Rating: 10/10

Check out the GTA V website: GTA V

Nicholas Holt – PS3 Games Writer | About me – Scared of Batman, Parktown Prawns and Vanilla Ice-cream. Dream Wingman: Mahatma Gandhi. Studying: Bcom Law at WITS.