'GTA V' review journal: day 3

Saturday, 21 September 2013 12:14 AM Written by 

GTACoverI’m starting to get my bearings around Los Santos now. I’m not as comfortable as, say, I’ve lived there all my life, but it does feel like a city I’ve visited a couple times. Then I take a look at the map and see how much I still have to uncover. This could take a while.


My very first heist was today’s big event. In previous iterations of “GTA” games, missions were simple: go to location x, kill, destroy or steal X, meet back at X. “GTA V” has taken great strides in evolving the missions structure. Heists are multi-tiered, elaborate crimes, and the having it go off without a hitch is as rewarding as the cash payout.


The first of what I imagine are many heists throughout the game is a jewelry store stickup. Since Michael is the criminal mastermind, he lays out the plan. First thing a heist needs is a team.


Michael is presented with people to choose from for different parts of the heist. Some are more experienced than others, and the more experienced, the more expensive that person will cost to hire. Keep in mind that you get what you pay for. The cheaper options are likely to screw up their jobs. For instance, I hired an inexperienced hacker whose job was to delay the store alarm. He wasn’t able to hold it for as long as expected, and I was rushed when trying to snatch up the jewels.


After your team is formed, you can choose to carry out the heist in two ways: a quiet and “smart” approach, or loud and “dumb.” Either way can be successful, but the method is up the the style of the player.


The quiet approach involves stealing pest control vehicles and jumpsuits in order to gas the jewelry store, rendering the staff and customers unconscious. An store full of unconscious people makes for an easy steal.


The loud and dumb approach is your typical, movie-style heist. Your team dons ski masks while armed with assault rifles. You stick up everyone in the store while you make off with the jewels.


Stealing the jewels isn’t worth anything if you can’t get away. That’s why no heist would be complete without the aptly named “getaway.” I won’t go into details because I want to keep these posts spoiler free, but the getaway for the first heist will make you a believer in Rockstar’s ability to make missions that are as intense as they are satisfying.


Before wrapping up my day-three experience, I close with some random observations:


  • There is no shortage of random wackos in Los Santos, making it similar to a modern-day Los Angeles. A man on the street offered Michael drugs. The result was...other worldly.


  • There’s no way to buckle your seatbelt. If you’re running from the cops and you hit an oncoming car at full speed, prepare to go flying through the windshield, which will land you in the E.R.


  • Losing a car was always upsetting in “GTA” games. If one gets left behind on the street in “V,” you can simply pay a visit to the impound and pick it up there. Great addition.


In the next chapter

Enter Vincent
Rural settings
Surfing the web
Movin’ on up




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