“I had someone come into the store today trying to buy that” exclaimed my girlfriend with reflected glimmer of lucidity, referencing the impending release of GTA V. “I thought that had been out for a while?” she continued. “Yeah its been available for over a year now” I retorted. “But I suspect the customer wanted the re-release version.” “What’s the difference?” she rebuked with measured curiosity. “Well it presents similar vestiges (I never said “vestiges”, but I wanted to sound articulate), just with updated graphics and purified textures. Oh and an additional first person perspective.” I digressed with very liberal interpretation. My other half could only look at me with modest concern and respond “Oh? Why would people buy that then?” “Well, how should I know? It’s not like I pre-ordered that same upgraded version despite owning the original!” *Clears throat* Yes, I’ll admit that I purchased the same game again on the PS4. I’m sorry, I’m weak! It retains mental leverage over me! GTA V, the already certified godfather of modern gaming, which has only been fortified by its resurgent visibility has ensnared me to once again engage in humanitarian culling, prostitution, civilian humiliation, Trevor’s schizophrenic permutations and the maligned lifestyle of the rich, deluded ignorance of fame. But the first thing your notice is the irony in satirising the commercial governance pertained by the likes of Facebook and Apple, that is the laden basis for much GTA’s rebuttals considering the prolific commercialisation of this prestigious product. But it’s a great game so I’ll forgive it.
So I began in earnest, ready to indulge until my retinas are permanently scorched by the imagery and muscular dystrophy afflicts my extremities, and I’m neglecting my responsibilities as boyfriend. “Wow, the graphics look great. I am on this like ugly on yo momma! Look at the sculpted detail of the crystallisation of the snow blanketing the roof of the car! Let’s check out the online content…….yep, transfer established character (hold for protracted installation) OK let’s *bing* Oh, wow? The trophies I accumulated on the PS3 must transfer as well *bing*. That will *bing* save me *bing* having to *bing*……..some time, and a packet of crisps later I was free. This additional trophy meant that I’m forced to adjust my perspective, both figuratively and literally to first person to acquire a 15 hour accumulative trophy! And mounting a same-sex canine from the perspective of a dog certainly aids in the transition of your new perspective (again figuratively and literally). In typical fashion, my cordial ordinance of ploughing through the citizens of Los Santos is swiftly curtailed by the authorities, with my churlish squalls of derision still extruding with exasperating clarity, not just because I crashed into a tree, that is the emanating result of another hindering catalyst; visibility.
I can’t see anything over than what’s directly in front of me, and with no assistance from the mirrors to aid your navigation, you’ll spend extraneous time crashing, bumping, juddering, swearing, stalling, cussing, corking your vehicle between two other cars, scraping down the side of immovable objects, stuck on top of the flailing cadaver of a recently shot prostitute and swearing. When driving a vehicle your peripheral vision will constantly be obscured by the skirting rapidity of acceleration, particularly when negotiating corners. You can’t make cursory glances to either side without compromising your manoeuvres and the lack of hind visibility and lateral obscurity means momentum is largely influenced but what’s directly in front of you. In general the first person view is entirely intrusive and not implemented with considerate care. Seeing a tangible presence interacting with his phone from a perspective you or I would be is immersive, whether that’s holding the phone in one hand while driving or clattering the steering wheel in frustration at another collision. But the intentionally modulated gestures are just too subtle, like a first person that doesn’t entirely corroborate with the consultancy of human mannerisms, and in parts can be a distraction. In one scene Trevor becomes so enraged by the tempered negotiations with his Chinese associates (drug dealers), that he hastily gets into his vehicle to expedite the necessary developments to resolve the current infarctions, only to become further provoked by the inappropriate soothing melodies emitting from the radio, before altering the station to something suitably brash…..without removing his hands from the wheel?! His venomous tirades lose all ferocity when his extremities grip the steering wheel with such fervent adhesion.
The implementation of full oscillating view’s of Los santos is one of compunction, just automated approximations abbreviated for accessibility. For instance if I have to aggressively swerve to avoid collision with a suicidal feline (or aim for it if your that way inclined) I want Franklin to react in a similar startled fashion, not illicit minimal adjustments to the steering that doesn’t correlate with the frenetic movements I’m eliciting. Perhaps I’m being overtly demanding, but it would have been interesting if each character possessed subtle refinement to separate individuals gestural nuances, that helps distinguish their varying personalities. It’s my own recommendation, particularly during gun fights that you revert to third person as your field of view will be greatly compromised by the limitations of adhering to the restrictive sight of first person, not that this is going to be a considerable issue in regards to your online endeavours as your likely spawn into an empty city. Though socialized confrontation and the duplicitous contrivances of many applicants sequential liquidity will be a severe disadvantage to you once the servers correctly collate players together, it shouldn’t take you long to acclimate and ascend. But be warned that if you didn’t transfer your previous data then you should be prepared to be continually incinerated by enamelled militia’s, armoured with rocket launchers, assault helicopters and tanks. Oh and good luck shooting anyone from your car with the new button configuration that appears to be designed for the small demographic born with cephalopod genes, as your be requested to use all shoulder buttons to drive, aim and shoot! Mercifully you can still revert back to the one button shooting, which is strongly advisable.
It’s kind of shame that RockStar didn’t postpone the original release until the PS4/Xbone, because as good as GTA V still is, it’s a rendition that’s hard to recommend. Of course considering the budgetary excess in refining the original required immediate validation with swift reimbursement of revenue, delaying such a prolific franchise wouldn’t have been financially lucrative. But as a result, and I’m a little abashed about admitting this but….. I’m just not that excited by a game I completed 6 months prior. It’s akin to a directors cut; it’s a little bit longer, a little more refined, closer to the original intention, yet ultimately still the same. GTA V still retains that ferocious cadence that simply can’t be imitated, with all the moralistic integrity of a politician. It’s still the Jack Nicholson of open world games, the defining cultural phenomenon that people love, abide, hate or isolate as the principal archetype of teen suicide. But much like Malibu Stacy, GTA V is also just furnished with a brighter, well weaved hat.
In memory of friend and hairdresser Graham Young. RIP mate.
Have you played the re-released version? Let me know your thoughts on this and the litany of other titles making transitions from previous generations.