GTA 5 review

We review Grand Theft Auto 5 – the UK's fastest selling video game ever

Update: EA has today announced that the online version of GTA 5 is now live, just days after our review was first published (scroll down for further information).

Grand Theft Auto 5 (GTA 5) is the hotly anticipated role playing video game, where your character steals cars, causes mayhem, and makes money, as they climb the career ladder of a gangster in a fictional Southern California. 

GTA 5 OnlineRockstar has today announced online play for GTA 5, available via a software update. The feature comes equipped with a series of perks such as a multi-player mode, however, some users have reported problems with the Title Update – including the loss of their single-player data.

Rockstar has responded with a statement acknowledging that the update is still in its infancy and any bugs will be fixed in due course.

A spokesperson for the games developer said: "We will constantly tweak all areas of the game to make it play fairer and iron out any balancing problems (while fixing all the other problems we encounter!), but we really need your help in figuring out what those issues are. So please work with us on that!"

We’re yet to get our hands on GTA 5 Online but will update this review with our thoughts as and when we do. 

We'll concentrate on the driving element of the game here, and GTA 5  (also known as GTA V) is the first in the series to have three playable characters - Trevor, Franklin and Michael – and each has a different driving ability. We spent a lot of time with Franklin, as he can slow down time in order to execute difficult overtakes or manoeuvres. However, if you spend long periods of time behind the wheel with one character, you’ll improve their driving skill level.

GTA 5: CARS There are loads of vehicles to choose from, and while they’re not licenced models, it’s easy to see where the developers have taken their inspiration from when designing some cars. Often you’ll mistake the ‘Obey 9F’ for an Audi R8, or a ‘Lampadati Felon’ for a Jaguar XFR.

Such is the broad choice of vehicles that you’ll find it all too tempting to abandon your car for something tastier, but be warned. If you leave your car in the street, it will get towed to an impound lot at a local police station, and you’ll have to pay a fee to get it back.

GTA 5: CUSTOMISATION If you grow particularly attached to a car, you can take it to a workshop and use the game’s customisation features to great effect. Whether that’s spending your hard-earned cash on a new set of alloy wheels, tints or vinyls, there’s sure to be something that appeals.

GTA 5: GRAPHICS So detailed are the graphics that you’ll often find yourself doing a double take. Look around at the landscape as you drive, and you could easily be in Southern California. The motorways surrounding the city of Los Santos are wide roads that allow you to weave through dense traffic, while the inner-city streets are more tangled, but provide plenty of opportunities to dump your car and escape the attention of the local police.

If you’ve ever been to America, you’ll find it easy to navigate through the blocks of Downtown, while heading north out of Los Santos quickly deposits you into rich countryside. Further afield, there’s mountainous scenery. We’ve come to expect this from the series – in GTA 4, Liberty City was a dead ringer for New York City; GTA: San Andreas had the deserts of Las Vegas, and San Francisco-like city of San Fierro; while GTA: Vice City was based on Miami. What impresses is how well laid-out the map is.

GTA 5: MAP It’s easy to drive between these places, as the map is cohesively laid-out, and the cars’ handling is much more responsive than GTA 4. Rear-wheel-drive coupes still oversteer if you get on the power too early, and perfecting the handbrake turn will take time. The surface you’re driving on alters the cars’ handling – grip is dramatically reduced when you venture off-road. While purists will miss the ability to use a steering wheel, the weight of the steering and the effects when you crash are really satisfying, even with a handheld controller. The steering is a lot less twitchy than previous games, and as such, it’s far easier to pick up and play than ever before. Dedicated console driving simulators would do well to take note.

Still, if you get bored of the cars, there are plenty of other vehicles to commandeer, including bikes, boats, helicopters and even a tank. Outside of the driving seat, there are mini games like playing tennis or go skydiving. With this much choice, it’s easy to ignore the violence and controversy surrounding this game.

GTA 5: VERDICT GTA 5 may not be a dedicated driving game, and it’s surrounded in controversy thanks to lashings of violence. However, petrolheads will find that it provides hours of fun.

Price: £49.99Age rating: PEGI 18Contact: www.rockstargames.comFormats: Playstation 3 (tested); Xbox 360Rating: Five out of Five

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