Grand Theft Auto 5 saw a re-release recently, if only to prove that the game is just as much fun as it was three years ago. Having recently played the new version, I can say with certainty that a new coat of paint was all that was needed to make GTA5 feel like a brand new AAA game
Usually re-releases are meant to capitalize on nostalgia, often exposing flaws not apparent upon the original release, but GTA5 has aged incredibly well. Following the adventures of career criminals Michael, Franklin and Trevor, the game takes them all across the fictional Los Angeles analogue of Los Santos as they deal with the fallout of a bank heist gone wrong.
I have played both the original release and the new re-release of GTA5 and the small additions are very helpful to the game, overall. The major new addition is the first-person view. In past GTA games, the only time first-person was available was while driving. The addition of this perspective to combat has fixed a lot problems the series has had in past with laggy guns and generally unexciting combat.
While the open world gameplay has long been the draw of the grand theft auto franchise, GTA5 biggest achievement is its writing. The game is completely sick and over the top but deftly manages to ground itself in the emotional core of its characters relationships. While Michael’s cheating wife and wannabe gangster son are a major source of humor in the game, they are also Michael’s major motivation for most of his actions and provide the usual chaos of GTA with a heartfelt edge. Even a character like twisted hillbilly Trevor, who spends a particularly disturbing mission torturing a terrorist suspect, has emotional depth. His brotherly relationship with Michael is a major source of conflict for the game, but also one of its most relatable story moments.
Where the previous game in the franchise was overly concerned with realism, often to its detriment, this game is all about over the top fun. You will rappel down skyscrapers, shoot rocket launchers out of helicopters and much more. The best gameplay addition to this iteration is heist mode. At various point in the game, the three protagonists will be tasked with pulling off various criminal heists, from robbing banks to steal government property. These are some of the most exciting missions. One in which you rappel down the side of a government building is my personal favorite. These heists add significant replay value and leads to some of the games more high-octane moments.
If the game falters anywhere, it is in length. Like GTA4, this game is just too long. There is an incredibly amount of depth within the game, but after 30 or more hours, it can become tiresome. The dialogue keeps the characters fresh, but the overarching plot becomes lost in the shuffle. When you finally reach the ending, which is also the weakest moment of the story, a lot of the emotional punch has been lost as one can hardly remember how you managed to get there.
I would definitely recommend the re-release of GTA5. While it is still too long, a problem that can not really be fixed, any issues with boring combat have been taken care of. The zanier action means the game is a lot more fun as a pure sandbox than GTA. If you like the open world style, than GTA5 is still the best example you are going to find. It is bound to keep you invested long after the story is over.