(This is an introduction to our new section, if you just want to read my incoherent rambling about GTAV, skip the first four paragraphs. You lazy git.)
Regular readers of Respawn (hi both) will be well aware of our tendency to keep trying new things. That might sound like a fatuous nod toward some sort of self-perceived level of innovation, but there’s a better analogy already scrawled by better journalists than I. Real ones, in fact.
My band were once described as ‘monkey’s throwing shit at walls trying to see what sticks’ by rock music magazine Rocksound. If nought else, I am but a creature of stubborn consistency, and thus I have taken their thinly veiled advice on board and long endeavoured to carry this idea into these very pages, as well as all other aspects of my life, as you may very well already know.
And so I give to you our latest attempt at mild frivolity. Reviews, per say, sometimes seem a little stringent to us here at Respawn, and what with our inability to eloquently state an opinion, we know you’ll go elsewhere for your scores on the doors, your raw figures, your number talk. For the bigger titles, anyway. So instead, this brand new section offers an absent-minded stream of unconsciousness, directed subserviently at the game we have most recently been playing. It’s a means by which we can scribble down our unhinged thoughts on a release; brand new, or verging on antiquated, without being confined to the Nazi-esque margins regimentally demarcated by the term ‘REVIEW’. Or something. Anyway, enough of me trying to get you to go away; welcome friends, to Gone Playing.
And what better way, I ask, to start a brand new section than with Grand Theft Auto V? There isn’t a better way. Chiefly because I desperately need to write something about GTA V sometime soon, but also because I’ve dreamt up Gone Playing solely on the back of this need. Little curtain pulling for you there.
Here then, are five relatively obscure reasons I’ve been playing GTA V for longer than most ordinary folk, with heads, deem necessary.
Prohibited from playing on motorways in real life, ‘if I want to keep all my limbs’, the idea of a stream of NPC vehicles tearing round a highway, ready to canter through my soft collection of digital bones if I put a leg wrong has always been somewhat appealing. I loved the highway in San Andreas, not only because it was the first instance where the other cars were really, dangerously fast, but also because it offered so much opportunity for carnage, it’s difficult not to start lobbing grenades about like you’re a terrorist Francis Brunn. The motorways in GTAV are fast, ludicrously hazardous and a great way to cause all sorts of vehicular mayhem.
Crashing Using the Cinematic Camera
Since GTAIII I’ve spent disturbingly lengthy periods of time driving with the cinematic camera on, most often in a large truck, trying to crash into as many innocent bystanders as possible. With GTAIV they jammed that saucy little number to the B button making its appearance instantaneous. And frequent. Sure I’ve been a long way in on an important mission, and became more concerned with the camera looking cool, thus careering blindly through traffic and off the edge of a cliff to a fiery demise, having to start the whole thing again; but it always looked AWESOME. Probably.
Crashing After Running Over Thieves
It’s difficult to ignore ‘dynamic events’, you know. I spent most of my time in Los Santos carrying out a dizzying display of severe ADHD, slamming on the brakes one moment and turning around to go upend some dastardly thief who’d stolen someone’s wallet, or something. Red Dead first introduced us to the idea of a town of hapless citizens unable to do anything for themselves, and so John Marston, full-time Other-People’s-Shit-Doer, had to step in; if he could tear himself away from picking flowers. At least there were three of them to split the work load this time. Anyway. Undoubtedly the very best moments were the ones that occurred as you approached, at speed. Allowing you to take a quick detour onto the pavement, or sidewalk, and paint your windscreen a striking Shade of Thief. Before exuberantly careering into a nearby wall of course. For the record, I always, ALWAYS gave the money back. /selfrighteousness.
Crashing at Intersections
Much like the motorways, the sheer dull-witted, vision-impairing glee NPCs cross intersections with in GTAV makes them impossibly dangerous, and since the game forces you on several occasions to fly through them with the white knuckled nonchalance of an aroused Evel Kenevil, they’re hot beds for some pretty horrific collisions. Each time I was chasing, or being chased, and saw the crossroads ahead, I’d approach with an increasingly screwed up face, bracing for impact and wondering how my bonnet was going to taste. It is utterly brilliant that you’ll frequently take off another car’s wheel if you hit them right. Or wrong, as it were. That doesn’t make me sound sadistic does it? I like crashes. So what. Get off my back.
I Got Hit by a Bus
And lastly, of course, I got hit by a bus. In one of the missions toward the end of the game, you’re tasked with escaping a trigger happy helicopter in a fast car. After tearing around the city, and smashing seven shades of Shinola out of my lovely knock-off supercar, I finally managed to shake it. Screeching to a halt on a bridge, I got out with the intention of finding a vehicle a little less likely to suddenly become a ball of flames to go finish the mission with. Instinctively I twirled the camera round to see what was coming, just in time to see the front of a bus, to hear the sound of its horn as the terrified driver’s life flashed tediously before his eyes, and to receive a steamrolling that would make Miley Cyrus’ PR team proud. And yes I had to start it all again. But it happened so brilliantly, I didn’t even mind.
There’s no need for us to harp on about the majesty of GTAV. It is a brilliant game; a flourishing, technical achievement that delivers that endless gameplay playground the series is known for like never before; administering satirical laughs, a killer plot and a hyperbolically believable, enrapturing and entertaining, angular perspective of the world. If you’ve not played it, go and get hit by a bus. In game, of course.
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