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Story in GTA 5? Multiple Protagonists Necessary?

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SnackieCakes
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#1

Posted 22 October 2013 - 11:10 PM

Just wrote on my feelings about the story in GTA 5 - which I think is lacking - and the multiple protagonists/switching mechanic from the story - which I feel is unnecessary and does little for the good of the game or narrative.

 

Full text below from my website SnackieCakes.com.

I've seen on these forums that a lot of people like Trevor, and will probably generally disagree with everything that I say. But we'll see, lol.

 

Minor spoilers below.

 

"I’m a pretty serious gamer. Most of the people around me are not. I have a lot of first time gaming conversations with people that ask what I play and what are my favorite games. I often surprise these people when I tell them I think Grand Theft Auto is the greatest series of all time.

 

What? Grand Theft Auto? The game where you murder prostitutes? Yeah, in the few hundred hours I’ve spent playing GTA games I’ve murdered a few prostitutes. But, like, there’s so much more. I become animated. I start with the story – always with the story! – the quality of the voice acting and animation and writing, everything that goes into making this interactive experience more than a game and more than television or movies or music or anything else. GTA 4, in particular, I tell them, is a masterpiece. I hear the name Niko and I remember an old friend; gosh, he’s there, a real person I’ve known; I tell them about his hunt for a man that betrayed him and the rest of their childhood friends. They were all murdered in the midst of a very murdering war. Niko just wants to know why. When Niko and I find the betrayer I am unable to forgive him; I murder him, anguishing all the while. In any other game I would play the good guy, I would forgive, but here I could not, so great was the long crime of Niko’s downtrodden life. I am becoming quiet at this point, reliving the lived and greatest moment I’ve ever experienced in a game. It is for me the pinnacle of interactive media. So, yeah, I tell them to give the GTA games a try, take them seriously, play the missions and embrace the world.

 

But now there’s GTA 5 and I have to say something different because GTA 5 hardly features a story. If the previous games mimicked movies then the latest installment mimics television: it has a lot of characters and tons of episodes but they’re all just there to keep you watching through the seasons. It doesn’t really start anywhere, go anywhere, end anywhere. Read the reviews with all of the high scores and look for mentions of the story. What is it about? What are the characters about? What happens? Nothing. Nothing happens. I mean, you know, a lot of stuff sort of happens, and you’ll find yourself racing amazing cars, tearing down mountains on motorcycles, gunning down hundreds of enemies, and racking up coin like a real fake criminal, but there’s very little context to any of this. Grand Theft Auto has “grown” with the industry: Call of Duty.

 

The biggest change to the GTA formula is the advent of multiple protagonists, played together in quick succession. The gameplay advantage to this system is that you’re basically always doing the coolest things. One character is grabbed by an enemy, you switch perspectives to make the shot yourself, freeing the first character. Or you fly a helicopter above a skyscraper, switch perspectives to rappel down the building, switch perspectives again to provide cover fire from an adjacent building. You get to do it all.

 

Those are the two best examples I could think of. The rest of the time the switching mechanic is gimmicky, disorienting, and ruins the immersion.

 

Like Call of Duty, GTA 5 suddenly finds itself on rails. Why am I in a submarine? Why is it exploding? Why am I mountain climbing? Why is the mountain exploding? You move from set piece to set piece with little explanation and often even very little temporality. You might, for instance, start a mission as Franklin and after a cutscene be made to control Trevor, who might drive from A to B, at which point you’ll be made to control Franklin, who is now doing something else somewhere else. My roommates watched me play much of the game and would regularly ask: who are you right now? I have no idea. Am I Franklin? Click the sticks. No. I think I’m Trevor. Why? I don’t know. I f*cking hate Trevor.

 

Yes. I f*cking hate Trevor. All three characters have very little going for them – not necessarily in potential, but in that they do not develop, do not have the space to develop, do not have enough time away from the others to become real; But Trevor is not only vacuous, he is unrelentingly obnoxious. Trevor has approximately one line: “Michael, you betrayed me.” He sometimes shouts, sometimes screams, profanity-laden variations of this one line thousands of times. It seems like hundreds of thousands.

 

If Niko is my favorite game character of all time, Trevor is my least favorite. I don’t even love to hate him. I just wish he never existed.

 

So you control three shallow characters through disorienting set pieces. But at least the set pieces are sweet, right? Yeah, a lot of the missions and events in GTA 5 are spectacular and a lot of fun to play, but I don’t think they’re enhanced by the switching mechanic. Consider one of my favorite missions: Michael drives to an anti-aircraft gun mounted to the back of a van at the top of Vinewood. He uses the gun to shoot out the engine of a flying jet. Perspective then changes to Trevor who pursues the hamstrung jet down gravel roads and the side of a mountain with a dirt bike. It is a fantastically exciting and unique mission. But could it have existed in a previous GTA game without the switching mechanic? Sure, the player would simply dismount the AA gun and get on a nearby dirt bike and, voila, same damn thing.

 

There are simply very few times switching is mechanically necessary to gameplay, and even fewer times it enhances the characters or the story. I hope Rockstar does away with multiple protagonists with their next game, but if they don’t, I hope they will at least read Watchmen again and again for inspiration on how to properly make use of multiple characters and multiple scenes to heighten, rather than simply widen, narrative.

 

What? Grand Theft Auto? The game where you murder prostitutes?

 

Yep."

 

 

 

What do you all tell your friends or acquaintances about GTA? What do you think are the selling points of the series?

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K1NG CURT1S
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#2

Posted 22 October 2013 - 11:53 PM

I have to only half heartedly agree. Although I feel that the characters could have been developed more then they were, R* still effectively set the tone for each of them.

 

Frankin - another CJ trying to make a living while at the same time getting out of the small time and moving on up into the big leagues.

 

Trevor - A lost soul haunted by his past, turned alchy-nutjob who clearly has trust issues. He's searching for the truth about his friend and former partner.

 

Michael - Not only dealing with the demons of his past, but I felt the pain he went through when it came down to not only having a messed up family, and the strain he himself put upon them due to his criminal nature, but the fact that is constantly drug back into the game he so desperately wants out of because he's wrapped around FIB's fingers.

 

Not only are the characters more colorful then previous protagonists/ supporting casts, but somewhere towards the middle of the game, I generally felt the pains that each one of them were going through, and how neither could ever really get a step ahead of where they wanted to be.

 

I think the only reason that they weren't able to be developed even more was due to time. Maybe it's just me, but I felt more connected with each of these characters more then I ever felt with Niko.

 

His statement was opinionated, I also loved how creative R* got when it came to "switching" characters during specific missions. I never felt confused or had the feeling of "what am I suppose to be doing?" simply because, unlike the writer of that, I pay attention.

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#3

Posted 22 October 2013 - 11:58 PM

I have to only half heartedly agree. Although I feel that the characters could have been developed more then they were, R* still effectively set the tone for each of them.

 

Frankin - another CJ trying to make a living while at the same time getting out of the small time and moving on up into the big leagues.

 

Trevor - A lost soul haunted by his past, turned alchy-nutjob who clearly has trust issues. He's searching for the truth about his friend and former partner.

 

Michael - Not only dealing with the demons of his past, but I felt the pain he went through when it came down to not only having a messed up family, and the strain he himself put upon them due to his criminal nature, but the fact that is constantly drug back into the game he so desperately wants out of because he's wrapped around FIB's fingers.

 

Not only are the characters more colorful then previous protagonists/ supporting casts, but somewhere towards the middle of the game, I generally felt the pains that each one of them were going through, and how neither could ever really get a step ahead of where they wanted to be.

 

I think the only reason that they weren't able to be developed even more was due to time. Maybe it's just me, but I felt more connected with each of these characters more then I ever felt with Niko.

 

His statement was opinionated, I also loved how creative R* got when it came to "switching" characters during specific missions. I never felt confused or had the feeling of "what am I suppose to be doing?" simply because, unlike the writer of that, I pay attention.

CJ isnt really like Franklin, because Franklin wanted a real Job that payed, while CJ was being pushed around and forced to work for crooked Cops, sending him all throughout San Andreas, while Franklin just met a couple people who had big jobs

 

Big difference

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#4

Posted 23 October 2013 - 12:05 AM

I agree with a lot of your points. Very well written and explains some of V's problems in detail. The resident R* fanboys will slaughter you for it, though. After finding out what a racist Tranny Trevor was towards rural people, I dropped my Trevor flag right then and there. Also, when I switched to Trevor early on and he was wearing a flower-print mini dress, I wondered what R* was trying to attempt with him. He is the worst protag of all time in GTA history other than Johnny Klebitz, IMO, of course. There were too many inconsistencies in the stroy to be drawn in. I felt there were just no memorable moments in this game like previous GTA's. It's a miss by R*.

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#5

Posted 23 October 2013 - 12:06 AM

To me it was good to experience the story from three different perspectives. The game just felt different depending on who you are playing and I mean that in a good way. If this game can be compared to any movie it is Pulp Fiction with the way it keeps jumping around to different perspectives and different points in the story. It is much different than the other GTAs but I like it. 


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#6

Posted 23 October 2013 - 12:08 AM

I agree with a lot of your points. Very well written and explains some of V's problems in detail. The resident R* fanboys will slaughter you for it, though. After finding out what a racist Tranny Trevor was towards rural people, I dropped my Trevor flag right then and there. Also, when I switched to Trevor early on and he was wearing a flower-print mini dress, I wondered what R* was trying to attempt with him. He is the worst protag of all time in GTA history other than Johnny Klebitz, IMO, of course. There were too many inconsistencies in the stroy to be drawn in. I felt there were just no memorable moments in this game like previous GTA's. It's a miss by R*.

This is very true. I feel that this game wasnt memorable because of the map, and the protagonists, Michael and Franklin are worth the time and story, but Trevor could have been done a bit better. I think he is too crazy to be a Character. 


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#7

Posted 23 October 2013 - 12:14 AM

 

I agree with a lot of your points. Very well written and explains some of V's problems in detail. The resident R* fanboys will slaughter you for it, though. After finding out what a racist Tranny Trevor was towards rural people, I dropped my Trevor flag right then and there. Also, when I switched to Trevor early on and he was wearing a flower-print mini dress, I wondered what R* was trying to attempt with him. He is the worst protag of all time in GTA history other than Johnny Klebitz, IMO, of course. There were too many inconsistencies in the stroy to be drawn in. I felt there were just no memorable moments in this game like previous GTA's. It's a miss by R*.

This is very true. I feel that this game wasnt memorable because of the map, and the protagonists, Michael and Franklin are worth the time and story, but Trevor could have been done a bit better. I think he is too crazy to be a Character. 

 

I wish that Michael had some mafia ties instead of just being a bank robber who is a puppet for the FIB. He should've been a gangster from Vice City in hiding. I would've liked that. Trevor is too over-the-top most of the time. I think Trevor was used to attract COD players so that they could just go crazy. An assumption of mine. But we all find out that rampaging will get you dead fast by super cops so it's kinda like a catch 22.


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#8

Posted 23 October 2013 - 12:17 AM

 

 

I agree with a lot of your points. Very well written and explains some of V's problems in detail. The resident R* fanboys will slaughter you for it, though. After finding out what a racist Tranny Trevor was towards rural people, I dropped my Trevor flag right then and there. Also, when I switched to Trevor early on and he was wearing a flower-print mini dress, I wondered what R* was trying to attempt with him. He is the worst protag of all time in GTA history other than Johnny Klebitz, IMO, of course. There were too many inconsistencies in the stroy to be drawn in. I felt there were just no memorable moments in this game like previous GTA's. It's a miss by R*.

This is very true. I feel that this game wasnt memorable because of the map, and the protagonists, Michael and Franklin are worth the time and story, but Trevor could have been done a bit better. I think he is too crazy to be a Character. 

 

I wish that Michael had some mafia ties instead of just being a bank robber who is a puppet for the FIB. He should've been a gangster from Vice City in hiding. I would've liked that. Trevor is too over-the-top most of the time. I think Trevor was used to attract COD players so that they could just go crazy. An assumption of mine. But we all find out that rampaging will get you dead fast by super cops so it's kinda like a catch 22.

 

the cops are worse than Gta 4, their guns are powerful, their cars are too fast, and aggressive. they need to make realistic slow cops

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#9

Posted 23 October 2013 - 12:39 AM

http://www.urbandict....php?term=tl;dr


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#10

Posted 23 October 2013 - 12:44 AM

I actually liked this feature, though it did reduce Rockstar's ability to write a better story as it tried too hard to focus on all characters at once. Maybe they should have separate stories next time (e.g EFLC) or just two characters. I don't really want to return to a one-character format, I feel more than one adds a bit of variety.


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#11

Posted 23 October 2013 - 04:08 AM Edited by Drunken Cowboy, 23 October 2013 - 06:21 PM.

Finally, someone who thinks this way.

 

The biggest mistake of Rockstar was catering to too niche of a fanbase and relying on hype and gimmicks (which earned them a ton of cash, granted.)

 

 

Features and Gimmicks over a Solid Story

"Planes? Grove Street? Bicycles? O DAMN IS JUST LIKE SAN ANDREAS NOSTALGIA I GUN BUY DIS GAEM"

They're all great features, but they're never executed to their full potential. Rappelling, helicopter cameras, sharks, submarines, SCUBA diving, what-have-you, followed the same mistake of the game's predecessors; introducing a feature for a mission, and DITCHING it.

I could go on about these ideas, but this thread is about the characters.

 

"The Ability to Switch Between Characters will open up so many Game Dynamics!"

This whole thing was tacked on so hard. The trailers advertised the dynamics of switching between Franklin as a sniper to save Michael in distress! And having to navigate the chopper as Trevor from pursuers! 

How many of the EXTREMELY scarce heist missions included the three of the characters? How much purpose did you really have switching between characters? Especially on the armored truck robbery. "Hmmmmm... I can shoot cops with an automatic rifle as Michael over HERE.. OR I can shoot them over HERE as Franklin..."

And it was quite restricted. "Can I switch to Franklin and hijack the Bulldozer while Michael and Trevor clear the bank? Nope, his character's blacked out. I guess I'll have to play as Michael in a juggernaut suit, or Trevor in a juggernaut suit."

 

Michael

This is who the game should have been about, in my opinion of course. The game, since the first trailer, I felt unofficially made Michael the "main main character". This is the criminal we haven't had a look into the life of yet: the bank robber and the retired professional. We had hitmen Niko and Claude, gangbanging CJ, biker Johnny, mobsters Tommy and Toni, this bank robber niche was something totally left alone and untouched. Besides, what do Claude, Niko, CJ, Tommy, Toni, Vic, and Luis have in common? (Never played Chinatown Wars and I think Johnny really deviated from this forumula.) They're all "rags-to-riches 'breaking out of the neighborhood'" stories. Michael has it all! The mansion, the cars, the money, the connections, the skills, where do we go from here? What's going on with fifty-something year old Tommy sitting on all his coke and money in Vice City? Or CJ managing a rapper whose career has gone over a couple decades quite successfully? 

Michael was very unique. He took therapy sessions, had a successful legal day-time career. It could have been even similar to Max Payne; the man whose greatest enemy was himself. Michael also plays into Rockstar's themes of money and capitalism, when will Michael realize the money doesn't matter? Could he have an epitome half way through the game and pursue something unique and different? It would have been very interesting to find out.

 

Franklin

I liked him, and he had some good moments, but he really did not feel developed. His character was built up as the driver and repo-man. His repo career ends after like, what? ONE repo mission? Yet he always talks about his "repo instincts" to other characters. Could we not have had more car chases? Getaway driving missions? Races beyond the watered down street race activity?

He was also another cheap pandering to the gullible San Andreas audience. "Look, Franklin wears green and kills Ballas for a good two missions! Just like your nostalgic pal, CJ!"

What was Franklin? A getaway driver? A gangbanger? A haughty Vinewood Hills bank robber? A pan always chasing money? Or a man of principle who was appalled by Michael's "snitching". On a side note, Chop was another great feature that realized no potential. He'd be forced to cut off during all story and side missions. It would have been an interesting niche for a character bad with guns to have a loyal servant to help him in combat, especially after how built up Chop was in trailers.

 

Trevor

I hate Trevor. I'm with you all the way, man, I HATE Trevor. This is the worst protagonist BY far, to the GTA series. I can't believe someone beat Luis, but someone did it. Trevor is the antonym of a dignified, story-driven game. Talk about inconsistency. He's bat-sh*t crazy when killing on his "rampages", he's slightly loose but composed enough to function during heists, and he takes the sane, moral high-ground in the Nigel and Minute Men side-missions. The dumb gimmicks of waking up extremely far from any mission activity drunk and in your underwear wore off after like... one... maybe TWO times... He shares that similarity with Luis. They and other characters say they're crazy, that they're murdering maniacs. But why? Neither of them have in-depth or interesting back stories. Luis was like... in prison for a bit, and Trevor flew planes and grew up in Canada. It would have been far more interesting to have maybe... a Dexter Morgan-like character. The maniac, the serial killer in disguise, the one who relished blood and gore but acted like a normal and well composed man on the surface... not the "LOL HE'S WEARING A DRESS AND KILLING PEOPLE" psycho.

You CAN like characters for "being bad." Going back to television, Dexter, , Walter White, Tony Soprano, Jax Teller, they're "bad guys", they're ammoral and do bad things, but they have these motivations and moral codes that make you sympathize with them. Think of past GTA protagonists: Johnny Klebitz and CJ wanted what was best for the gang that reared and took care of them, Johnny in particular had a sense of morality he wouldn't violate, and none of his missions were really for the sake of just making money or trying out a dumb gimmick. Johnny and CJ. They even had to

Spoiler
Niko was kind and respectful to the likable characters on screen, and resentful and questioning of the assholes, like Faustin and Bulgarian. Tommy, and yes, even Luis to a degree had a cheesy, tacky element to their games which made their quests of financial gain forgiveable and even entertaining. 

Trevor was RUINED as a playable character for me from the start. [spoiler]

Killing Johnny was one of the worst writing decisions Rockstar ever made, from a company that nails it 99% of the time. What was the purpose? To show people "DRUGS ARE BAD, M'KAY?" To show people "O DAM TREVUR CRAZY"? If anyone played the end of TLaD, you'd KNOW Johnny wouldn't get back together with Ashley, let alone get into drugs. Clay and Terry were just overkill. The Angels of Death OWNED San Andreas. Why would The Lost move into enemy territory and rebuild a club only four members strong? And of course, all the principles and ideas of the Lost we were meant to believe in TLaD were completely shat on. BUT HEY TREVOR GETS A SPARE SHOOTING GALLERY LOL, SCREW YOU EVERYONE WHO BOUGHT AND RELISHED TLAD. Check out this post: http://gtaforums.com...gta-v-spoilers/

 

The Floyd business too. At first, it could be a little funny how Trevor screwed Mr. Raseberry Jam, and how he flashed his dick to Floyd, but he was tormenting the man for a great chunk of the game, and we were just meant to laugh at it? Even up until the end. Whether or not Trevor actually killed Floyd himself along with Debra is up for debate, but either way, he ensured Floyd's death. Seeing some brute, tough-guy, asshole bully someone in order to get what he wants DOES NOT make a likable protagonist, it just makes some gags for simple fans to clap like seals for... As if Floyd wasn't enough, it happened to Ron, Wade, Michael, Lester, Franklin, and others.

 

 

Not to mention Trevor had the most side activities, airfield, and practical abilities all built up. What was he lacking? Strength and driving? I can build those to 100 in a matter of minutes. Trevor was an unnecessary, stupid gag that lost a lot of Rockstar's credibility as a dignified company. San Andreas had planes, UFOs, jetpacks, but did it present itself as that? No, it was the ballad of CJ trying to make it in the world of crime.

We could have had the same idea for Michael, and left in all the jetpacks, bigfoots, and cult cannibalization for those who wanted it. 

 

 

*CRUSHED BY WALL OF TEXT*

 

I just wish more gamers relished story. The idea of "story driven games" is becoming more and more niche, the reason we prize games like The Last of Us that weren't even AMAZING stories, but are just the best of a depraved situation. 

The Call of Duty accusation is an unfortunate, but accurate one. "Here's your cheap, gimmicky, SHORT campaign. Here's the glitchy multiplayer we put a little more time in and have half the features of the campaign of. Don't worry, you can buy all the cash you need with your credit card and we already have plenty of DLC planned." 
 

More of the same would have been great, but all good things must come to an end. GTA V and its shallow, depraved cast of characters will never replace the gritty ballad of Johnny and his fallen brothers, or the motif-heavy revenge quest of Niko Bellic, or Vic Vance's demoralizing experience of living in the sin-laced Vice City. 

 

BUT HEY, STORY DLC, PLEASE, ROCKSTAR?

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rohra
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#12

Posted 23 October 2013 - 04:39 AM

I COMPLETELY AGRREE WITH OP.. Because of the unnecessary 3 protagonists.. i have no proper attachment to any character.. it's frustrating because it won't be as memorable as other gta games.. they could have just put trevor dlc or michael dlc or SOMETHING ELSE.. i don't know. but 3 protag's seemed like unnecessary stuff... like they just thought at the R* office 'What to do different so that we can attract more preorders?' 


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#13

Posted 23 October 2013 - 06:53 AM

Sucks for you guys that you didn't enjoy the game. I'm loving all three characters and each of their storylines!

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#14

Posted 23 October 2013 - 06:58 AM

I think the game would have worked perfectly fine with just Michael and Trevor.  It felt as if Franklin was just there to satisfy CJ fans and add racial diversity.

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#15

Posted 23 October 2013 - 06:59 AM

No One Cares


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#16

Posted 23 October 2013 - 07:08 AM

I really appreciated your post, Drunken Cowboy. You hit the nail on the head with some really intelligent analysis.

And, actually, I'm pretty surprised how reasonable this thread has remained. I definitely thought I would just get flamed, but there's been mostly solid and respectful feedback here. I would like to hear more from some people that really enjoyed Trevor.

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#17

Posted 23 October 2013 - 07:30 AM Edited by Undertaker13, 23 October 2013 - 07:44 AM.

I agree with a lot of your points. Very well written and explains some of V's problems in detail. The resident R* fanboys will slaughter you for it, though. After finding out what a racist Tranny Trevor was towards rural people, I dropped my Trevor flag right then and there. Also, when I switched to Trevor early on and he was wearing a flower-print mini dress, I wondered what R* was trying to attempt with him. He is the worst protag of all time in GTA history other than Johnny Klebitz, IMO, of course. There were too many inconsistencies in the stroy to be drawn in. I felt there were just no memorable moments in this game like previous GTA's. It's a miss by R*.

They simply focused to much on GTA Online, that's why the story hasn't memorable moments, but it's also the fault of those who complained about GTA IVs story being too long, serious and dark. The story telling in GTA IV was the peak of the series, they should have gone towards the direction GTA IVs story telling was heading. GTA IV has the best story followed by the IIIera GTAS , GTA Vs story disappointed me in so many ways, R* didn't use the full potential of multiple characters.

Well that's my opinion after all.
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#18

Posted 23 October 2013 - 08:03 AM Edited by thatguy23, 23 October 2013 - 08:04 AM.

I felt Franklin was the weakest character, he went with the sort of usual GTA stereotype protagonist, rags to riches, it was really quite bland, but in saying that I also feel he was needed if we wanted to go with multiple protagonists, same with the other two protagonists, they were all needed to make this kind of world and storyline work. You had Trevor living it rough out in blaine county with his physcotic unstableness, then you have Michael feeling depressed in his large house in the hills, finally you have Franklin, a young man caught up in the ghetto, he believes that the gangs of the nineties are dying and he wants to go further than that, he dreams big-and gets big. I feel that all three are great and you get to see Los Santos and surrounding areas from three different perspectives, which is really cool.

There are some points that I feel that were a weakness to the story, like no main protagonist so the story kin of just ended... But none of my complaints about the game relate to the multiple protagonists, I feel it was a great decision.
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#19

Posted 23 October 2013 - 08:23 AM Edited by spamtackey, 23 October 2013 - 08:31 AM.

SOME SPOILERS
 
 
I'm not sure I'd agree with you on that. I think the story was somewhat rushed now that I've had more time to cool off from the rush of it. Where GTA IV was almost too drawn out and in my opinion somewhat poorly paced, GTA V only takes a few breaths and those moments are very much where the game shines. Moments like the drive to the cemetary as Michael or the awkward drive to the stadium when Trevor first meets with Michael again. There probably aren't enough of those moments amidst all of the action, but Rockstar were trying to make fans happy when fans were upset at the "Drive Here Go Back" missions from GTA IV. 
 
I can't agree that the game hardly features a story though. It doesn't mimic television so much as older cheesy action movies from hollywood. That's really the whole feel the game has for me when it's not trying to appease the San Andreas crowd with Franklin's reluctant gang banging. The story does have clear start and end points for it, sometimes good and sometimes not so good. Maybe this is how Call of Duty is, but that does not make a story bad. While not all movies shoot to be Oscars not all games shoot to be "The Godfather of Games". (By the way, it's interesting how people will say GTA IV is too boring to be The Godfather of games yet The Godfather is an extremely slow moving movie with a lot of scenes that feel irrelevant but add character.) 
 
I would actually say that the character system is a massive advantage for Rockstar in terms of storytelling. They haven't figured out how to use it 100% properly, but you can see the basics of why it is good in GTA V. You always do the coolest stuff no matter what game you play. Tommy Vercetti didn't send others to fix the mistakes for the Cop Land mission, no he went himself. He didn't have Lance face down Sonny, no Tommy did it. Even though he was the top dog he did a lot of work. Likewise, CJ was earning millions and for some reason was still forced to be the driver. Why didn't he pay for a limo ride for Sweet when Sweet got out of prison? He's a dang rich guy living in a mansion managing casinos and a successful rapper. The writing is done so that one person can do it all and in GTA V they don't have to. This is a positive thing because it allows us to play the action while not having to force the action. 
 
Why are you in a submarine? Did you pay attention to the cutscenes? There was a valuable object they wanted that they would get underwater. Made sense. The sub never exploded. 
 
Climbing a mountain? We never really have to I don't think. Not as part of the story. Why is it exploding? You shot a rocket launcher. 
 
We do move from different pieces of action but we always have explanation if you stop and watch the cutscenes. Sometimes the explanation is better than others and some things don't have any explanation at all, but our actions do. Something that legitimately made no sense: Why were FIB members in the building after we blew part of it up? That's just stupid and ridiculous and wasn't needed to make the mission exciting. 
 
I also found the character swaps pretty easy to follow, so if you could not follow them that is on you. Is it dumb to force us to change character sometimes? Yes I think it is, but GTA has always been stupidly linear in terms of its missions. There was a mission in San Andreas, preparing for the casino heist, where we needed to steal a chopper with a magnet on it. Well I figured I'd bypass military security and just parachute down on the chopper and take it that way. I did just that... except the chopper was locked. Apparently during the firefight someone unlocks the chopper. That makes no damn sense. GTA being linear means that sometimes they want us to experience a certain part of the action and will swap us out. I thought it gave the game a breath of fresh air myself even if it wasn't always needed.  
 
I like Trevor myself. Trevor and Michael are pretty complex characters, and Franklin... well Franklin is CJ 2.0. If you pay attention each of the characters has a unique theme that they follow: 
 
Michael is the has-been. The washed up GTA character after the story ends. Tommy Vercetti sitting fat in his mansion after getting everything and wishing he could go back to the days when he worked for it all. 
 
Franklin is the traditional rise to the top GTA character. This is also why he seems to have so little development. He wants out of the Ghetto... he gets out of the Ghetto... they drag him back into the Ghetto every now and then... The end. 
 
Trevor is supposed to represent the player of GTA or rather what a person would be like if they acted like the player of GTA. He's mentally unbalanced and nothing he does seems out of character because of this. He has his good points and his bad points and sometimes he's calm and sometimes he's not. I honestly think he's a brilliant character because of it. In terms of writing he allows them to create that bloodthirsty kind of person without the need for the excuses that Niko has. Sure Niko, you don't want to kill the innocents. That's why you're in this hospital shooting people on the beds. Totally justified... those people were obviously bad people and not innocent. Your war-torn heart is still pure.
 
Niko was pretty damn shallow if you look at him. He starts the game wanting out of the crime game... but he commits crime. Crime after crime while whining about not wanting to be part of crime. That's not deep that's a one-note character. The only real chance they had for developing Niko they wasted by forcing us to choose the important moments of the game, thus damaging the narrative. We can make Niko always be vindictive and kill people or we can make him develop into a person who lets go of his anger, but the game itself doesn't do it. Rockstar didn't have the balls it seems. My personal GTA IV storyline choices are: Kill and Deal. Because I believe that Niko would take his revenge but when it left him empty it made him attempt to change. That for me was the most emotional I have ever got in a game, but it isn't something that I can actually say GTA IV did because it forced the choice in my hands. I absolutely hate that about it .
 
Michael and Trevor both are complex characters. Trevor has many deep-rooted problems and you never know how he will act because of that and Michael is wasting his life away unsure what he wants until he figures it out part of the way through the game. Do you remember that? The scene where he tells Trevor he wants to make movies? The scene where he realizes he can move on from crime? A pretty damn important scene in his character's story if you ask me. Michael's whole story is his Mid-Life Crisis when you think about it. Trevor, meanwhile, just seems to want his friend back. He can do so many bad things but he cannot seem to hurt Michael himself. He can leave him to bad people and let bad people do things to Michael, but he was pretty darn angry at the time, but even afterwards when he should want Michael dead he doesn't kill him. Trevor wants to be friends with Michael even if he won't admit it. It's one of those things that makes him more than just a crazy freak in my mind. 
 
Keep in mind that they did not perform the entire system perfectly. Something they messed up heavily on, which just came to mind, was how they tried to make us always see from the current character's perspective. Go to a mission as Franklin and a guy jumps out a window and all of a sudden we're following him without much context. Start the same mission as Michael and we find out he was having an affair with Michael's wife. What benefit does this do other than hide pieces of the story? Perhaps if we go through the story always starting scenes as the lesser important characters to the cutscene we would get a near nonexistent story, but that doesn't mean the story doesn't exist. It just means Rockstar screwed up on telling it. 
 
Personally, I liked the system and I think they should keep using it and improving it. They need to lengthen their story and find a good equal focus on all three because they left Franklin in the dust in this one and they need to become overall less restrictive in their missions in general. I would much rather be given the choice to choose my character (who has different stats and abilities) and the tools I want and then perform a task how I want rather than following different setpieces. That'd definitely be a step forward for open-world crime games IMO. 
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Slave Boy
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#20

Posted 23 October 2013 - 09:05 AM

spamtackey, I give You a cookie for your input.
It was well worth reading.

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#21

Posted 23 October 2013 - 09:10 AM

Luis is the greatest protagonist of all time next to tommy Vercetti

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#22

Posted 23 October 2013 - 09:13 AM

i liked spamtackey's and snakiecakes comments, not because i read it. because they took the time writing it. effort.

 

OT: i do like the 3 character thing. makes a different feel then being stuck with the same person. different life styles. different area's. and general change.


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#23

Posted 23 October 2013 - 09:32 AM

Trevor is a much more complex character than people think. Sure he is nuts but there is a method to his madness. People complained that IV was too dark and serious and too gritty so Rockstar makes a concerted effort to make V more like a hollywood action flick and people complain it has no story. I really do not understand what people want. I don't.


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#24

Posted 23 October 2013 - 10:28 AM

 

http://www.urbandict...e.php?term=adhd


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#25

Posted 23 October 2013 - 11:19 AM

Serious gamer complains about major studio game having narrative problems is the type of thing I usually go for, however you seem to have mistaken games for movies. Games aren't about telling a story, they're about what you get to do. If you want a narratively driven format both movies and TV are much better choices, but there is obviously a bit place for story in games. As far as I'm concerned the worst GTA games are the ones where the focus is on the story, and IV is in my mind the worst game in the series.

I understand why someone would want to play a movie where they get to do some of the shooting. The think I love about games is the ability to choose and see the consequences of your choices. In GTA IV you run between the things Niko does with very little option to do anything outside the story. You get a good look at Niko, but you get no choices as to what kind of person he is. Even worse, if you choose to be a psychopath murderer (which is the direction the game clearly points you in) then nothing about Niko reflects this. He will always say he wants to change and be better and not kill people anymore, even as the game is setting up a shooting gallery in front of you. Niko's story says that he's trying to start a new life but his actions say he thinks its fine to kill hundreds of people.

IV is the most story focused game in the series so I feel that it illustrates the disconnection between the story and the action best, but San Andreas is the same. CJ spends a lot of the cutscenes saying that he doesn't want to live that way anymore, but every challenge the game presents you with us to murder a bunch of people. Rockstar either need to make sh*tty QTE games like David Cage where their writing and story are the focus but there's no gameplay freedom, or they need to learn to combine the story with player agency and actual responses to player actions.

It's odd to me that in a game which presents an open world with supposed choices in how you play people become so focused on the story. For me the fun of GTA has always been learning the city and finding ways to have my own fun. The more scripted and prescribed the gameplay becomes, the less I enjoy it so I feel that V is a real return to form after IV. The ability to make your own fun and do things outside of the story is back.

You've also made some points which I feel contradict one another. It's an odd criticism that the game hardly features a story and has shallow characters when the switching mechanic introduces three protagonists. You ask what it's for, but also bemoan the things it tries to do. It's there to make you experience the game from different perspectives. You see everything from multiple perspectives and you constantly hear multiple views on things.

This creates a much stronger association with the characters. They're pretty clearly meant to represent three conflicting views and ethos' and you align yourself to one. If you play the game like a criminal you've got Franklin, if you play like a psycho you've got Trevor and if you want to take it easy you have Michael. That's the point of them, not to do anything to the narrative but to provide more comprehensive context for your actions in the game.

It's not a movie. They made these choices with gameplay in kind because it's a game, which you play. The switching allows you to move quickly back to the city if you're away from it, it allows you to quickly move between places and tasks without stretching credibility and it allows players to play in context no matter what actions they want to perform. It was easy to play Niko in a way which didn't really suit his character, bit here there are three diverse characters who cover the full range of possible actions in the game with realistic motivations for performing those acts.

As you like story so much though and you asked what it is about and what are the charters about, I'll tell you what I took from it. The game is about learning what really matters to you. Michael starts with money, chases money as a solution to everything but eventually learns that people are what count. Franklin is chasing status and power, and his decision about what counts is yours when you pick the ending. Trevor is chasing friends and connections to other people, but struggles to interject meaningfully with other humans. Ultimately, they're all learning that people and the connections you forge with them are more important than material things.

Trevor is about making you feel uncomfortable with the things you routinely do in games. Everything he says and does paints him as an unsympathetic character, yet he's the most like a normal game character. I thought it was bizarre that people called the torture scene pointless when everything you do in free roam is pointless and its often far more violent. A scene not pushing endlessly towards an overall narrative doesn't necessarily have nothing to say, sometimes when you're freed from the shackles of the bigger story you can make a small but important point. Trevor is supposed to make you hate him, because he's everything wrong with video games and the people who play them.

Another contradiction is you saying that the switching adds nothing but also say thing that the things you're doing are cool but with no context. As well as making the whole thing more feasible (I'm much happier to believe that someone is waiting somewhere else than that one person could do all the things Niko did), it gives way more context. Instead of being in a building you can see that building from across the street or above from the other two protagonists. It creates a much stronger sense that your actions are happening in a larger world and affecting the people who live there.

It's odd that you're trying to compare GTA to COD, especially V. The Call of Duty games present a straight corridor of missions and set pieces with nothing else to do, much like all modern games. GTA is one of the few series with mass appeal that still tries to create a world and let you have and influence on it. GTA IV, with its story focus, lack of outside activities and dearth of player agency is the GTA game most like COD and it's still a million times more open and interesting.

The idea that GTA is more "on rails" now than it used to be is my main problem with the series. GTA and GTA2 were open and freeform, with GTA3 being a good extension of that in 3D. From Vice City onwards the games have tried to become more like movies and its hurt them as games. I find it odd that you don't want set pieces and on rails gameplay but you want more story? Your favourite game in the series with what you feel is the best story is the narrowest, least open game in the series.

As far as I'm concerned, the guy who said story games are a niche must be living in a parallel dimension. The single player games market is all story and no interaction, spearheaded by games like COD and FFXIII which think that running down a corridor while things happen to you counts as gameplay as long as there's a piss dull cutscene at each end. Games which tell a story which adapts and changes according to your actions are incredibly rare, but V is closer than IV and for that I consider it to be the better game.

Ultimately it's all subjective. I loved playing as Trevor, feeling like any insane thing I do is actually in character, whereas playing as Niko felt like a straightjacket to me. I'd much rather watch him struggle to articulate his feelings to Michael after a lifetime of repressing them than watch Niko walk into another dreary little house and talk about how he definitely doesn't want to kill anyone with a pile of corpses visible outside. For me the story of three guys learning that friends are more valuable than diamonds is far more interesting and poignant than the story of how Niko is very angry with a man and wants to get him.
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Sting4S
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#26

Posted 23 October 2013 - 11:42 AM

3 protagonists were interesting but not necessary seeing as so much was scripted. I honestly think they could've done better with V if they didn't try to change things up, honestly. Changing things up is what makes the game not as great as I wanted it to be even though I still somehow love it.


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#27

Posted 23 October 2013 - 11:51 AM

I like the concept, but I'd rather see the GTA IV/EFLC approach again where they're enemies of each other.

The melodrama between Michael and Trevor with Franklin stuck in the middle got tiring towards the end.

I'd rather see 3 guys from different backgrounds get all crossed up in some mess like Niko, Johnny and Luis. I don't think I'd like to see another working together angle.

Dead_general
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#28

Posted 23 October 2013 - 12:35 PM

When did the mountain explode missed that one. I like having 3 characters it gives you choice and after completing the game you don't ever have to play with the character you don't like again. i like playing as Trevor gives me a good excuse to go on random rampages because he seems like the sort of person who would he is no better the then the guy from the very first GTA game.The other two midlife crisis guy and got to get out of the hood guy where cool but felt very familiar.GTA5 had to evolve and as we all know its not perfect but it not crap at the same time they are just trying something different dammd if they do dammd if they dont.

 

If it was just another copy and paste like most of the other titles  mentioned  here they would be in the wrong at least they tryd something different whether it workd every one has a different opinion about that mine its good but not great.


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#29

Posted 23 October 2013 - 06:49 PM Edited by Drunken Cowboy, 24 October 2013 - 06:17 PM.

To me it was good to experience the story from three different perspectives. The game just felt different depending on who you are playing and I mean that in a good way. If this game can be compared to any movie it is Pulp Fiction with the way it keeps jumping around to different perspectives and different points in the story. It is much different than the other GTAs but I like it. 

 

Now we're onto something. The dynamic of switching was too forced when just "shoot guys over here!" or "shoot guys over there!"

What would have made for a more challenging, interesting story dynamic is something like Niko, Johnny, and Luis. There's that removal from each of their stories. Luis was an antagonistic figure to Niko and Johnny who both directly and indirectly affected them. Niko and Johnny thought the other one was cool, but Johnny kidnapped Roman, and Niko killed Jason and supposedly Jim.

For those who saw Pulp Fiction *SPOILERS BELOW*,

think of how GENIUS that story was. We got a feel for who Vince was for a good half the movie, and then just saw him blown away by Butch so nonchalantly. Did I get pissed? No. We knew who Vince was, but we also knew who Butch was. Butch had his own story and agenda, contrasting with that of Vince, Jules, and Marcelus's.

Even something out of sequence like Pulp Fiction would have been interesting. Starting with the ending like Max Payne 3, or something of that regard.

Trevor and Micheal's cooperation was REALLY forced, up until the end. Trevor despised Michael, he and Lester even formulated Brad's prison break that would have made Michael the fall-guy. But, if you chose ending C, Trevor and Michael are at each other's throats at the mission's beginning, and at the ending are good pals reunited again.

Pushing Weston over a cliff was fun, but is that action enough to make Mike and T BBFs again?

 

What would have been far more interesting is that if Trevor was not such a sh*tty, more interesting character that gave you incentive to sympathize with him... and have him work AGAINST Michael. Maybe he could have contracted Michael's yacht to be stolen, without knowing it was Michael's? Maybe he could have worked for Madrazzo and been real chummy with the guy to have that interesting confliction between Michael's side and Trevor's side.

Maybe Franklin didn't have to follow the belabored "rags to riches" story line, and stayed a Families gangsta? Michael needs a howitzer to wage war on TP Enterprises' band of meth heads. Michael calls Lester. Lester contracts Franklin to steal the thing.

Michael could have had the more interesting heisting missions focused around stealth (STEALTH IS THE MOST HORRIBLE, BROKEN, UNUSED MECHANIC IN GTA V, GG ROCKSTAR), while Franklin could be the "run into the warehouse and kill all these Chinese gangsters smuggling weapons" guy. Franklin and Michael were essentially one of the same at the game's end, both haughty, rich guys with nice cars living in Vinewood Hills. However, Franklin's clothes still consisted of wife-beaters, sagging jeans, backwards ballcaps, etc. He should have stayed a gangster, that would have left the SA fanboys happier.

 

Going back to Niko and Johnny. Franklin and Michael could meet and seem compatible on the surface, and be working against each other knowing, or more interestingly, not knowing it. That would leave a lot more options of choice left to players. Maybe at the end or toward it, they could have had a revelation. Michael could have found out something minor like Franklin being the camera man in one of Traci's "films". Or something major, like Franklin could find out Michael killed Lamar under God-knows-what circumstance.

 

 

They didn't have to be friends, and it would have been more interesting if they weren't. R*'s prior examples of GENIUS character writing have shown they're capable of making three likeable-yet-hateable characters that would leave the players to choose some very difficult sides, if they had to.

Imagine if we had more choice in GTA IV. I didn't want Niko to kill Jason once I knew Johnny's side of the story. But then what would happen? My pal Niko would be in deep sh*t with Faustin, while Johnny's brother is still alive to crusade in their futile war against the AoD. If Luis had more reasons to like and sympathize with him, what would I want? Maybe kill Packie and leave Niko without the diamonds or Gracie? Or could I shoot at Tony as Niko, leaving Luis scrambling as Packie and Niko ran away with the diamonds and the ransom girl?


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#30

Posted 23 October 2013 - 07:07 PM

Sucks for you guys that you didn't enjoy the game. I'm loving all three characters and each of their storylines!

That I can first and foremost agree with in this. GTA is a game, and that is what I do, I play games. Interestingly enough I play games to play games. 

 

On the topic at hand and the original post. There is something to say about that and also agree on. For a game with no less than three protags, a group of crew members to use and do on. With that said this game is WAY too linear. 

 

To linear in fact to have made sense. 

 

But then again, it's a game that looks good being so so. Better than some of the so so games that also looked 2d and cheap. And on current consoles like GTA V. 

 

I liked the protags, hated the antags so much I couldn't wait to put caps in them. None the less, it was and is the linear thing, given all that you could have done differently that really got to me. 





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