A few weeks ago Grand Theft Auto 5 finally got released for PC. I had pre-ordered it months ago and have been playing it almost daily for the last 2 weeks. In itself it’s a great game. You get a somewhat large open world with a city, plains, desert and some forest stuff to do whatever you want in. Crime pays in the game and it’s generally quite fun.
But there are a lot of things wrong with the game also, and I think a whole bunch of them take a lot of the fun out of the game. So here is my critique and why I probably won’t play this title for very long.
Yea about that, I tried to like it for a day or 2, did a bunch of missions and was constantly annoyed by the 3 protagonists you play. The game revolves around 3 characters (I guess to appeal to a broader audience) and they’re so obnoxiously stupid and boring that’s not even fun anymore. I have nothing to relate to those characters other than constantly wanting to skip the endless and plentiful cutscenes or to mute their remarks during gameplay. There is literally nothing there for me that I enjoy.
Did I mention endless cutscenes, the story is full of them. Which is sort of ok if I want to sit back and watch movies. But I want to play, rampage through the city. Do missions, get rich, steal cars. Punch people in the face. Not watch through 3 minutes of cutscene, drive to a location for a mission or task then have another 4 minute cutscene. Then go to yet another place and watch another lengthy cutscene. It’s boring. Not just because I just spend 15 minutes in game and only 3 minutes playing. But also because the story is utterly boring so far.
So after not liking Storyline mode I switched to GTA Online. Which has less story and it’s a bit more on-demand. In game you have a cellphone and people message you with random stuff to do. For instance, this guy “Dom” (or whatever) tries to get me to go parachute jumping. So he calls me every few days. Also there are a bunch of NPC characters who offer you missions for money. The missions are fun but not very varied. Most of them are of the kind “Drive there, kill that dude, collect reward.” Some are a bit more elaborate where you have to kill a bunch of dudes or chase after someone before you can kill them. A lot of other missions involve stealing a car or blowing it up. Still, it’s fun to do. You go all over town with them, collect a pretty penny which you can then spend on new weapons and vanity items like clothes or car upgrades.
Where it gets annoying
You are free to do whatever you want, as long as you do what Rockstar (Game developers) wants.
This means, that if you do not go parachute jumping with earlier mentioned Dom he keeps calling you, reminding you how much of a loser you are if you don’t. It also means that this guy Lester keeps bothering you with random calls about doing heists (which is a recent addition to the game). But also that you should really really put a bounty on someones head. I want to do neither for now.
Another major annoyance in the game is the various events. Most of them are barely playable because the game is just not suited for it. It makes a nice attempt though.
For example: Races are about speed and precision driving. But that’s pretty much impossible if cars glitch and glide about pretty much everywhere except in the right direction. I’m not sure how other people get ahead with races, but I gave up on races all-together. The airplane controls are horrible too. I see tons of people screw up events like that. Rolling down hills because their vehicle doesn’t listen or is too broken to respond. So I guess it’s not just me failing miserably at events.
And then there is other people making an even bigger mess of things during these events.
Apparently it’s cool to ruin other peoples fun, preventing them from advancing in the game.
In the game you can get unlocks for (better) weapons, clothes, new cars, weapon upgrades and all kinds of stuff. A lot of it is unlocked through winning the near unplayable events. I probably won’t ever get most of it. “Win 18 more races in this vehicles class” “perform 50 more turbo starts in a race” “win 36 more air races” Yea right… Good luck with that.
Social and Matchmaking
The game constantly reminds you how cool it is to play with friends. I don’t have friends playing Grand Theft Auto 5. So I’m mostly solo. This excludes me from Heists, missions, tons of events and if the game is to be believed a lot of fun. I’ve tried teaming up with random people. But that rarely works. If people join your invites at all you either get shouted at for having the slower car, not shooting fast enough or otherwise not doing what they want. Very annoying and it totally ruins the game enjoyment overall.
In the past few days I finally got over myself and tried to do what others do, shoot random players, blow up their cars and whatnot. But also I tried to hook up with people and do missions together. This basically means, starting a mission, inviting 100s of random people and waiting for ages for someone to show up. Half of them leave just as the mission starts. Or worse, I get booted from the mission right before it ends. Leaving me to deal with the 2-6 player mission on my own. Which is near impossible.
For a game where it’s so important to play together it makes a very very poor attempt to keep players together. Just yesterday I was just messing around, zipping around town on a motorbike, engaging random players. It was fun. I got a few kills, got killed a bunch of times. Then suddenly I got disconnected from the game and put in a empty server. Of all servers available, why a empty one? And why disconnect me at all if things go well in the one I was on previously.
It took me 30 minutes to get to a populated server again, and my whole feeling of enjoyment was thoroughly ruined by it. More often than not trying to work with other people doesn’t really work.
Loadingscreen Simulator 2015
Since the game is quite massive there is a lot of loading to do I guess. I don’t have the newest computer, but it’s still a Intel i7 3.5Ghz with a GTX670 and 8GB ram. Quite a beefy computer.
Why does it take 5 minutes to even open the game, then another 4 to load online mode. And why does it take 2-4 minutes to load a mission and then another 2-4 minutes to close it when you finish the mission. Why does (re-)joining a server take 3-5 minutes.
If you sum that up, and you’re on a streak doing mission after mission that, for me at least, I’m staring at loading screens for 30-35 minutes for every hour I play. Missions often take maybe 5-10 minutes on average. Some are shorter, some take longer. But for 5-10 minutes of playing you have 2 loading “sessions” of 2-4 minutes also.
What’s there to like
The few moments where other players aren’t complete f*ckheads and actually play somewhat normal without trying to hunt you down for no reason other than to kill you over and over and over again. Where the matchmaking system actually works and the game doesn’t constantly disconnect you from whatever you are doing. When the game doesn’t keep bothering you with stupid storyline nonsense or other reminders that you don’t care for (Such as Lesters Heists or Doms Parachuting or car insurance I already have).
It’s a rant
A bit of a rant, for sure. And overall the game is fun. Few bugs, a good launch (Unlike some other games – Right EA?) The game in itself plays very well. But a bunch of the mechanics and the annoyingly pushy NPCs in the game ruin it and should really be fixed or changed in a way that makes it not annoying.