Okay, before your race to the comments section to curse my name, let me say I don't think Grand Theft Auto V will be bad. There's no way a game this important will be less than solid. But will it be the best GTA ever as my GammaSquad colleague Dan Seitz thinks? Frankly, I have my doubts.
Here are a few reasons you might want to lower your GTA hype meter just a couple notches...
The Game's Made From Spare Parts
As eagle-eyed fans have pointed out, Grand Theft Auto V is basically a Frankenstein's monster of recent Rockstar developed hits. A little Red Dead Redemption here, some Midnight Club there and a lot of Max Payne.
Of course you could look at this two ways -- either Rockstar is smartly combing the best of all its series into one, or GTA V has gotten away from them and they're desperately trying to save time and money by reusing old ideas. Either way, expect GTA V to have a pretty serious "familiar" feeling at times if you're someone who plays everything Rockstar puts out.
The Game Won't Give You As Much Freedom As You Might Be Hoping For
Grand Theft Auto IV dialled down the sandbox craziness fairly severely in favor of more serious storytelling, but with super over-the-top competitors like the Saints Row series nipping at GTA's heels, many assumed (or at least hoped) GTA V would get a little nutty again. Well, don't get your hopes up. According to Rockstar, GTA V may be even more grounded than GTA IV...
"You won’t see anyone doing crazy things for no reason. The player will have access to enough heavy artillery early in the game, but again, in a particular context and not without reason."
Like it or not, GTA's crazy youthful days are behind it and a focus on character building and a certain level of realism is here to stay.
The Three Character System May Be Frustrating
Plenty of games have done the "switching between different characters" thing before, and it's almost always at least a little bit annoying. Also, most of the games that have used this mechanic have been fairly straightforward 2D puzzle platformers or leisurely point-and-click adventure games -- how is switching characters going to work in a giant, open-world action game? It may end up working solidly overall, but it's a sure bet there will also be some frustrations involved.
The Game's Treading Familiar Ground
Let's face facts -- GTA V is retreading quite a bit of ground. We're back in San Andreas, the characters Franklin and Michael feel like they stepped directly out of past entries in the series (admittedly Trevor looks to bring something new to the game) and heists and low-level criminal intrigue are still the name of the game. Rockstar can claim their new characters are different than anything they've ever created before all they want, but it's pretty clear they're playing it safe and not straying too far from established moulds. The game certainly doesn't look like it's going to be as surprising and daring as say, the original GTA: San Andreas.
It May Soon Be Overshadowed
Traditionally, most GTA games have come out fairly early in a console generation and really set the standard for open-world gameplay for the next few years. GTA V on the other hand, is coming out very late in the current generation. New, more powerful consoles are on the doorstep and there's a good chance a new open world game (possibly from Rockstar itself) will come along soon to make GTA V obsolete. Grand Theft Auto V just isn't going to be the open world standard bearer for nearly as long as GTA III or GTA IV were.
So again, don't get me wrong, I think GTA V will almost certainly be good, but take some of Rockstar's grand promises with a grain of salt and maybe downgrade your expectations from "BEST GAME IN THE HISTORY OF FOREVER" to "a solid, polished open world game very much in line with what GTA has been lately" and you'll probably enjoy the game more.
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