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Rapid Reaction: Grand Theft Auto V Gameplay Trailer

GTA V is going big, but Jesse warns that bigger isn't always better.

The long anticipated Grand Theft Auto Gameplay Trailer was released earlier this morning, and it’s safe to say that it likely left many a gamer wide eyed, with their jaws firmly planted on the ground.  The sheer epic mass that is the newly designed Los Santos is breathtaking.  The trailer depicts a plethora of environments - from high rises to the great outdoors and everywhere in between – and it becomes clear that we’ll likely get lost more than once in this beautiful world that Rockstar has built for us.

But for all the promise and potential that this new trailer hinted at, it also came off as rather daunting.  The Grand Theft Auto series has always played host to a variety of interactive distractions outside of the main game.  In the past these have been largely successful in expanding the scope of the game by either delaying the player’s completion of the main story, or by offering a reason to come back even after they’ve finished.  With the fifth main entry in the GTA series, Rockstar has seemingly decided that bigger is better and that the motto of “more, more, more” is the path to consumer satisfaction/game sales.

I’m all for more of the things I like, but there is such a thing as having too much content, or too many options.  We’ve long known that GTA V would have three playable characters.  Having multiple protagonists is hardly a new thing, but it’s the way that Rockstar implements this practice that makes is both intriguing and overwhelming.  Missions will require the player to switch between these characters on the fly, which is a concept I can certainly get behind.  I’ve always loved the idea of having multiple options on how to accomplish a particular goal. 

It’s how downtime is handled that kind of scares me.  Like in past games, you’ll be able to do as you please during your down time, but now you have three characters to play with instead of one.  This gives the player that many more options as to how to kill time, especially when you consider that the game also has more distractions and mini-games to occupy your time.  Aside from the normal joy riding/flying, theirs golf and tennis.  Loot from heists is split between characters, so you better believe that there are plenty of other custom options to waste that dough on, including customizations to cars, wardrobe, body art, and real estate.  The game even sports a local economy so complex that you can even play the stock market.

The more I learn about GTA V, the more it seems like a restaurant with a huge menu.  When you visit, you get lost in it; it’s hard to know what to order, and nothing really stands out amongst all the options you have.  Sure, having options is a good thing, but it also waters down the overall quality.

And that’s not to say Rockstar isn’t pushing out another great game.  For all we know, GTA V could be the defining video game of this generation – a fitting swan song for a console cycle that has gone on so long that there are plenty of fans who don’t remember what a console war really looks like.  Let me just say that being bigger, and having more options doesn’t translate to a better experience.  Big games tend to scare away new fans.  Games with too many options, tend not to do anything particularly well.  Rockstar is promising an awful lot with this newest rendition of their classic franchise, but we’d be good to remember that the more promises made equals more promises broken.

What did you think of the new GTA V Gameplay trailer?  Join the discussion by sounding off in the comments section below!



Our Take

Jesse Miller Staff Writer

07/09/2013 at 03:02 PM

I apologize in advance if this rapid reaction isn't rapid or reactiony enough for some readers.

Justin Matkowski Staff Alumnus

07/09/2013 at 03:40 PM

If anything, this trailer actually got me more excited for the prospects of Next Gen's Red Dead Redemption follow-up. While there is certainly an impressive amount of content within GTA V, I don't know how much of it strikes me as particularly interesting - that is a matter of personal taste, as I find exploration of a world not entirely like our own to be more intriguing. 

While I firmly stand behind publishers/developers giving value to their fan base by offering tons of content, I can't help but wonder if there is an element that seems almost like 'digital busy work', especially considering that the world of GTA is more or less a reflection of our own. Personally, I'm more excited to explore the world of The Witcher 3 than to try on sneakers and play the stock market of GTA V.


07/09/2013 at 03:53 PM

This is precisely why i prefered Chinatown Wars to any of the core games after 2.  I do like having freedom, and things to do outside of the campaign...  The problem is that I have always felt overwhelmed, especially with GTA IV.

Chris Yarger Community Manager

07/09/2013 at 04:02 PM

Confession time:

I've NEVER finished a GTA game, and I've played them all.

My problem is the feeling of being overwhelmed, then I lose sights of what I was doing originally in the game and I lose complete interest. GTA IV was probably the closest I ever came to finishing a game, and I never even made it to the final island!

Darby Lawson Staff Alumnus

07/09/2013 at 04:42 PM

I'm really impressed by the trailer, but there does seem to be quite a lot going on. I thought that when I watched the trailer -"wow, there is a lot for you to do", so I wonder how crazy the whole game is going to be.


07/09/2013 at 04:45 PM

That was an overwhelming trainer.  As long as I can do missions when I want to do them and there are clear directions & indicators on the different options I can use to complete the goals of missions, then I don't think I'll have a problem with the game. 

Julian Titus Senior Editor

07/09/2013 at 04:54 PM

As long as Rockstar can figure out when to land the plane on the story, I'm perfectly happy with a game that has this much stuff to do. It wasn't the plethora of activities that was the problem for me in GTA IV. Heck, I even loved doing activities with Roman and Brucie and Little Jacob. It was just that the story went on way too long and started to lose its way.

Totally going to try to parachute into the ocean though.

Nick DiMola Director

07/10/2013 at 11:31 AM

What Jesse said. All of it.

Jonathan Drake

07/10/2013 at 11:53 PM

Despite being being developed for what soon will be the last gen consoles, the technical quality is impressive. The trailer really got me interested in following GTA V to see how it is going to turn out.

But both Jesse and Justin have good points: A content saturation won't necessarily make a great game, or even a good one. Coupled with the fact most of those actions are kind of mundane, and GTA might end up being a chore instead of a video game.  


07/11/2013 at 10:26 AM

I haven't really gotten into a Rockstar game since Bully & San Andreas. I'm probably still more excited to try RDR simply because "the wild west" is a potentially more interesting setting for me than modern day.

I agree, GTA 5's trailer is a bit much. I also am worried that the 3 protagonists/anti-heroes we get in this one will not be as endearing & memorable as the single protagonist/anti-hero in other games.

Also, why can't RS have a female lead? Is that too much to ask? I get tired of all these "dudes". Why the constant sausage party? (This coming from a guy. lol.)

Julian Titus Senior Editor

07/11/2013 at 10:42 AM

I've been dying for a female protagonist in a GTA game for years. Then I remember how females are portrayed in GTA games and I think maybe that's not the best thing in the world.


07/12/2013 at 08:28 PM

It would be controversial,especially if the female protagonist could potentially become a stripper, phone sex operator, or a prostitute for extra money on the side. Not that a female protagonist needs those as "career choices" in the first place, but GTA's world is kind of seedy. A part of me is like "why not?" even though some people might find it offensive.

  I don't see how hooker/exotic dancer/phone sex operator side missions are worse or morally more objectionable than side missions where the protagonist potentially kidnaps,tortures,and kills other people.(In typical GTA fashion) America is weird that way. We love our violence but still get squirmy around nudity and sex. lol.

I agree, maybe we're just not ready for that next step and Rockstar knows it. They probably don't want an army of angry radical feminists marching in on their offices.


07/20/2013 at 04:01 PM

Honestly GTA has already perfected alot of the game from previous releases with that said more content means more things to do and yes im sure when it releases there will be glitches and thats what scares me cause when GTA4 released i had a ps3 and the game froze at the start up screen which promted me to get a 360 due to the fact that the 60 gig was the system with issues and Rockstar and Sony refused to acknowledge it leaving me with a game i couldnt play so this is what bothers me the most and you can rest assure that with a game this huge will have glitches and issues but the game looks great and i have high expectations and i hope that it does not dissapoint.

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