Grand Theft Auto V

Grand Theft Auto V Stole My Heart

Then Trevor ate it.
Author: Aram Lecis
Published: September 22, 2013
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It’s impossible to talk about Grand Theft Auto V without discussing my history with the series. Grand Theft Auto has easily been the most influential video game franchise in the last fifteen years of my life, and it isn’t a stretch to say that most of the recent releases (by recent I mean going back a decade) of “core” entries in the series have been events in my life. I would almost say that getting a review copy of GTA V a few days early was enough to validate the last four years I’ve spent toiling away writing about games that I have far less passion for.


My original exposure to this series (if my muddled memory is to be trusted) was from a UK PC Gamer magazine preview. I can’t even say for sure HOW I got a hold of a UK PC Gamer magazine, but nestled among its pages was a brief preview blurb for an amazing sounding game that put you on the wrong side of the law (a very unusual setup in the late 90’s) and tasked you with working your way up from the streets. It sounded amazing but I was a little bit deflated by the notion at the end that the game was unlikely to ever be allowed on the pure shores of god fearing countries or some such thing. I would give anything to find that preview now, but good luck finding a Google search that works for that.

Of course the game did end up coming over here, and I ended up with a copy that I think I got either as a pack-in with a sound card or in a jewel case at the register of a Staples. It turned out to be a tough but addictive little game that featured a million little hidden secrets and references. It’s pretty amazing if you go back and play that game now and see how many of the same systems that still persist to this day existed way back in the first game. You’ll have a variety of mission givers you can work with in whatever order you please. Many of the vehicles you grab will have familiar names (my beloved Stinger is there!) and you’ll find yourself doing rampages, stunt jumps and evading wanted levels throughout Liberty City, Vice City and San Andreas. I spent a month or so pretty addicted to the original GTA on my PC and then moved on.

GTA still hadn’t reached in and grabbed me the way something like, say, Twisted Metal 2 had so I wasn’t following the series all that close. Therefore the first I heard of Grand Theft Auto 2 was in the computer lab at college when I saw a few nodies playing it. Once again I was drawn into the game for weeks as it refined on most of the concepts of the first game.

The lead up to Grand Theft Auto III finally made me take notice. There weren’t too many games that really stood out in the first year of the PlayStation 2 and the GTA name had enough cache with me at this point (in fact I was playing the PS1 versions of the first games on my PS2 pretty heavily in the lead-up to 3) so I was more aware of the game in advance. At the time I was a huge fan of Driver and the idea of that combined with the chaos of GTA sounded like the impossible dream. That dream was a reality though and GTA 3 sucked me into a vortex of gaming I hadn’t been to in ages.

It’s fair to say that GTA 3 set the tone for the rest of the PS2 generation. Everyone rushed to add open world elements into their games no matter how odd the fit (one just has to look at the change in tone from Jak and Daxter to its sequels to see a prime example). Rockstar was on top of the world and that carried through the entire PS2 generation as Vice City and San Andreas continued to refine the systems and add in more stuff to do all while setting the tone with amazing radio soundtracks (another staple that carried over from the early games). The sheer scope of things to do in San Andreas meant that I could spend HUNDREDS of hours playing it and still be willing to go back for more.
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