What’s that? WTF is Listmas?? Well now, just give me moment to explain. We all know that the throes of Christmas will soon be upon us, and it is with high holiday spirits that the bloggers of Murf vs. Internet and Healing the Masses thought to bring together people from the blogosphere through the magic of lists. Click on those links back there for more information, and if you haven’t already, be sure to stop by the host site, United We Game, where links to all these glorious lists have been and will be posted! I have a couple lists up on UWG along with the other admins, Hatm0nster and The Duck of Indeed, but my personal contribution to the celebration is as follows.
Last week, I had a little extra time to catch up on gaming, and I chose to invest most of that time in Grand Theft Auto V. When I started up the game again, it had been several weeks since I last played, so it took me some time to get back into the game’s groove. But once I did…Oh. My. God. I had a freakin’ blast! I know this game isn’t for everyone, and i’ts not a perfect game, but it’s totally perfect for me. Frantic, fast-paced, and slightly schizophrenic with a dash of balls-to-the-walls insanity – I’ve loved just about every minute I’ve played so far.
According to my most recent save, I’m finally a little over 50% complete. I’m not sure if that’s 50% of the main story or 50% of the entire game, but it’s the halfway point nonetheless. And with the recent rash of mayhem in Los Santos, I’ve re-discovered five things about the game that will forever make me a return customer to it an the GTA series:
SPOILERS to follow, probably. Also, the videos showcase scenes from the game, so beware of NSFW moments.
1) Random conversations between the main characters
In GTA V, you have the opportunity to play three characters: the psychotic and ridiculously unstable Trevor, the normal-on-the-outside-but-fucked-up-on-the-inside Michael, and the “good” kid making tough choices Franklin. And their dialogue is what it is — brash, politically incorrect, vulgar, and flat-out wrong sometimes. But it’s also very fitting and perfectly hilarious, especially when any two of the three talk between themselves during, say, a long car ride. Among my favorite conversations are those held between Trevor and Michael, particularly the oft-cited “hipster” conversation in the video below. This duo has quite a bit of history behind them, and their talks magnificently display both comfort and discomfort. They are friends until they aren’t, and they can easily argue and debate on any topic, from the state of the union to how much they really hate (or love) each other.
2) Special abilities
It was pretty cool of Rockstar to give each of the three protagonists a special ability, which I’m more than pleased to exploit during any given situation in the game. Setting a characters special ability into action slows down the scene in order to drive better (Franklin), shoot better (Michael), or deal out more damage (Trevor). These ablilities are different from the basic skills for each characters that you can increase as you complete more missions, and they serve to further stress that each character is his own person, so to speak.
3. Strangers and Freaks
Random encounters are a holdover from GTA IV, but they take on a whole other level of crazy in GTA V. Franklin, Michael, and Trevor each have their own sets of “Strangers and Freaks” side missions, which range from innocuously towing cars to gathering celebrity items for an off-their-rockers elderly couple. And sometimes you think the the “missions” only involve talking to someone, but you never, ever know exactly what to expect of any such conversation. Could be that your talk leads you to smokin’ a little sumthin-sumthin and shooting hordes of clowns. Could be that you’re asked to find parts of an alien spaceship. The sheer unpredictability of the denizens of Los Santos and its nearby towns is truly something to behold.
4. Shopping, shopping, and…shopping!
Laugh if you want (Go ahead. I fuckin’ dare you, asshole…you…! — oh man…uh, sorry. I might need to lay off the game a bit.), but each time I started up GTA V, the first thing I had to do was change Franklin’s/Michael’s/Trevor’s clothes. I mean, new day, new clothes, right? Only makes sense in a civilized world, after all. But more than just being able to change clothes, the clothing options in the game are vast. Each person has a different set of clothes, and what comprises those sets depends on the clothing store. If you want to simply to not be naked, head to a discount store for some cheap duds. For something a little more swanky, head to the fancy shop in the “nice” part of town. Clothing options in games are nothing new, but being able to virtually “shop till I drop” is nothing short of fun. Plus, it makes me more prone to save my ducats in real life.
5. Los Santos and Blaine counties, the open-world
When I wrote about Red Dead Redemption, I had to stop myself from gushing all over the place about the scenery. Well, RDR is still an absolutely beautiful game, but I think Rockstar outdid itself when it created Los Santos and Blaine countied. I’ve stopped mid-mission to just admire at my surroundings, from taking in sunsets and moon rises to being amazed by the details of deserts, mountain ranges, and cityscapes. And nearly all of everything can be explored, whether by foot, car, or air. I’d say that I’ve spent at least half of each GTA V session simply roaming around LSC and/or BC and each time I’ve found at least one place that I hadn’t discovered before. The game has so many different types of scenery/weather crammed into its boundaries that you can go from cold and snowy to bright and sunny in a matter of minutes. The world of GTA V, though corrupt and bizarre at its core, sure does clean up nice from afar.