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Game review: GTA 5

Grand Theft Auto 5 is the latest in Rockstar Games' popular crime series. Its initial release date was September 17, 2013 for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 and, in November 2014, became the first game in the series release for next-gen consoles Xbox One and PlayStation 4. It was also released for PC in early 2015.

The Story

The typical GTA story, "criminals doing criminal things" is expanded in this edition of GTA 5 as the player now controls three protagonists with their own interweaving tales. Franklin is the typical "gang banger" character seen in games like GTA San Andreas, Michael is a retired bank robber reminiscent of mob types seen in GTA 3 and Trevor is the wild card, a lunatic the likes of which we've never encountered in the GTA universe.

The three characters cross paths in bright, glossy Los Santos, a game version of Los Angeles, and find themselves on the wrong side of everyone from shadowy government agents to the Yakuza, from celebrity cultists to their own families. Together, the three uneasy allies must work together to get out of the messes they get themselves into and maybe make a few million along the way – if they don't kill each other first.

How It Plays

GTA 5's principle game mechanic is the first of its kind in the series: the ability to switch between the three protagonists on the fly. In free roam, and sometimes during missions, the player can toggle control of Franklin, Michael and Trevor with a flip of the control pad. This is especially necessary during GTA 5's other big innovation, heists. Heists are intricate, well-planned jobs involving two or three of the protagonists where the player must stick to the plan and alternate control between players perfectly in order to succeed. Whether the heist involves knocking over a jewelry store or kidnapping a suspect from the CIA, mastery of the new game mechanics is a must.

Another new feature in GTA 5 is the addition of GTA Online, where players can compete against GTA fans from around the world in races, death matches and even co-op online heists. It's a great way to keep the mayhem going long after you've completed the main storylines.

The Verdict

Grand Theft Auto 5 is an innovative new entry in this best-selling series. The game is flat-out fun and the story is as complex and absorbing as any crime thriller you'll find in the movies. There's even plenty to do, like tennis and even yoga, between all the criminal mischief. Both long-time fans of the series and GTA newbies alike will find something to love about GTA 5.