Hey everyone. Just to say, this is not a rant or an attempt to change everyone's thoughs of the game, but rather my own final opinion months after the game's release. I followed the hype train of GTA V since the day it was announced, even staying behind in college to watch trailers and getting overexcited by the few screenshots that were getting released. After spending months with the game however, I have to say that this probably isn't the game it could have been. Especially after Red Dead Redemption which I found to almost perfect and had very little complaints about (aside from the melee system). The setting, story, characters, activities and weapons were implemented all so well, and got me into western movies. Max Payne 3 had flaws (too many cutscenes) but proved to be a solid shooter.
I will say that there are some positives. The character movement is alot smoother than it was in GTA IV and RDR, and various mechanics are improved such as the shooting and driving (except for motorcycles which handle stiff). I also liked the return of things that GTA IV lacked such as tanks, planes, rural areas, customization and various weapons like the minigun, but still no flamethrower unfortunately. The world is very big and a blast to explore, with lots of countryside, desert and a detailed caricature of Los Angeles with underground subway tunnels, ghettos, beaches and industrial areas. Other than that though, there just feels like so many things could have been implemented better.
The story while I didn't have much of a problem with, was not what I expected. Based on pre-release trailers, I had the feeling that Michael, Franklin and Trevor would have some sort of independence, but instead they are being forced into doing these heists by the FIB. It feels recycled from Red Dead, when John Marston tried to leave behind a life of crime but was forced by federal agents to capture his former partners to win his family back. While Michael does not have his family kidnapped or needs to capture any partners-in-crime, the premise does feel very similar. Again, I thought you'd rule a criminal empire with these heists, not be slaves to the feds.
And the lack of interiors, which has been talked about alot. Now, I suppose that modelling them can be time-consuming as far as game development is concerned, but the problem here is that even when interiors are modeled, you can't enter them. The Tequi-la-la is enter-able by Trevor in one Strangers & Freaks mission where you have to obtain Willy's (of Love Fist) gold tooth, which obviously shows that Rockstar made an interior for it. Beside that though, you cannot go back in, not even when Michael purchases it. Speaking of that, the property management feels tacked on. Sure you won't get calls from Roman begging you to go bowling anymore, but now you'll get texts telling you about the sh*tty delivery drivers in Los Santos, so you have to drive all the way to some van and deliver goods yourself. Had there been more stuff like gang shootouts, a bigger income, and the ability to enter properties, this feature would have been much better. Even restaurants aren't even enter-able, which has been in the series since at least Vice City. So much for wanting to re-enact the fast food scene from Falling Down (an iconic L.A based movie that was not referenced once in the game).
And the police system which I know many will have heard me complain about before. On the positive, the cops here are more competent than they were in GTA IV, striving to take you down even more. The problem here however is just how over-aggressive they are. You no longer see them patrolling the streets, but rather you'll get their attention by beating up pedestrians or shooting in public e.g. Again, they're trigger-happy freaks who only try to arrest you by pointing their gun. Now of course you can fight back, attracting more police attention. This quickly becomes a problem though as they sometimes spawn faster than they should. They will gun you down very easily because of their improved accuracy and crappy health system. Even if you think you can survive, you can't. They always find a way to screw you over. It is easier when you're with Trevor because of his special ability but even then you'll get shot down pretty fast. I find it very frustrating and have switched off my PS3 more times than I can remember because of it.
And the health system, which against police proves to be absolutely useless even with a regenerating system. Previous games had a health upgrade where you could increase your health by 50% or 100% which proved to be helpful. Here the health upgrading is part of the "Strength" stat but even with it maxed out, I've noticed little difference with how easy it is to get gunned down. Not even armor helps as it will get drained by quickly and does not even regenerate like health, speaking of which, I found it especially annoying how you have to stay completely still to let your health grow back, which lets you get exposed to more enemies in the process.
I for one found the shooting to be more fluid than GTA IV in terms of the cover system and aiming, but that's about it. The blood effects feel very downgraded from past Rockstar games, and feel more cartoonish (e.g San Andreas). Max Payne 3 had some of the best blood and gore effects I'd seen, and when you see GTA V's blood effects in comparison, you'll see how much of a downgrade it is. The puddles that corpses leave behind looks good, but really there's just not alot of bloody impact upon shooting enemies. The blood splashes look tame and the wound marks are just red blobs for the most part. Unlike RDR and MP3, enemies will rarely limp away when shot. The Euphoria physics just look "ragdoll" this time and don't look as realistic as they were in even GTA IV. I also thought the weapon sounds weren't very good, and could have been alot better.
And finally, the activity variety. I thought it was a joke upon reading that yoga and tennis were going to be activities. I had nothing against bowling in IV, because at least it was fun. In a crime-sandbox however, activities like these feel really pointless. Now I wouldn't have had much of a problem with it if there was a good variety of crime-related activities, but there just isn't. You do get street races (which are too easy), rampages and arms trafficking, two of which can only be accessed by Trevor. GTA IV and EFLC had more for example drug deals, vigilante, gang wars and underground fight clubs. Apparently there was some cool activities that were going to be in GTA V, but I guess Rockstar just decided to cut them all.
Maybe I'm nitpicking too much. Believe me though, this is coming from someone who is a big Rockstar fan. I've always supported their work, but I simply feel like GTA V lacks many things that could made it the best one yet. I'm not saying it's a bad game at all, but when you put into consideration the hype that surrounded it and the quality of Red Dead Redemption and Max Payne 3, I feel it could have been more than what it is. I hope you all won't shoot me down for feeling the way I do. Again, the game is great, but I find it vastly overrated and overhyped.