San Andreas has never felt more alive

Many guys go on a nostalgia trip as they tell you insane and exciting stories of the days when they played “Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.” I, however, am not one of those guys. I was introduced to the Grand Theft Auto series with “Grand Theft Auto 4,” and its Yugoslavian protagonist, Niko Bellic.

After playing many hours of the single-player and even more hours on the multiplayer, I can confidently say that it ranks in the top three games I’ve ever played.

So after hearing the next installment of the Grand Theft Auto series would take place in San Andreas, I couldn’t contain my excitement. I would be entering a city that not I, but all of my friends have experienced before. How much of a stranger would I be? Luckily for me I was quite the stranger and I loved it.

What makes this Grand Theft Auto primarily different from the others is that there are three main protagonists (Michael, Franklin and Trevor) instead of the typical one. You don’t feel like you are playing three similarly written characters either. Each feels unique, but not enough to be the sole character in the game. They complement each other quite well and feel like they are written for each other. After you’re introduced to all three characters, you’ll be able switch among the three at any time. While you are playing as one of the characters, the other two continue their everyday lives.

Rockstar Games has put in a lot of detail into “Grand Theft Auto 5,” so much detail that you will become so immersed in the world you won’t realize these details. After I totaled my car, I found myself having to look for a different car on foot. As I walked down the street, I heard a random non-playable character (NPC) talking on the phone with whom I can only assume was his “bro.” Attention to little details ranges from NPCs playing full games of tennis, or dialogue and reactions based on how dirty your car gets. Moments like these make you realize just how detailed a city this truly is.

Each character has his own missions and stats that you can complete and level up respectively. They each also have a special ability. Michael can go into “bullet time” to get a perfect shot on the enemy. Franklin can go into a “bullet time” as well, but only while he is driving to get through traffic quickly and unscathed. Trevor doesn’t go into “bullet time,” but he does become an enraged monster that delivers more damage than he normally would.

If someone were to ask me, “What is ‘Grand Theft Auto 5’?” I would provide him or her with this analogy: “Grand Theft Auto 5” is a sandbox. You’re given all the toys you’ll ever need in this sandbox. The rest is up to you.

What you do, whether it be completing a mission or running away from police officers, is entirely your choice. The story is there for whoever wants to play. Obviously your character will start off without a few things so it’s recommended that you play through the story, as that will be your only way to progress and upgrade Michael, Franklin and Trevor.

When you finish the single-player, there is still more to do. With the release of “Grand Theft Auto Online,” you’re able to join sessions that contain up to 16 players. In these sessions, you will have a variety of things to do such as missions, races, heists, and more. If you would rather relax than go around town completing missions, you are free to play some golf or tennis with friends to pass the time. If you’re a car guy, you can purchase cars, customize them, and store them in a garage as part of your collection.

Something that is overlooked by players in Grand Theft Auto games is the collection of music provided. With 18 different radio stations offering different genres and eras of music, you decide what you blast through your vehicle’s speakers. Artists range from Britney Spears to Kendrick Lamar to Willie Nelson. Make no mistake, you will find music that you like in this game.

The reason that this game is fun and you should definitely get it is because there is something for everyone. What makes it even more fun is being able to do it with 15 other people and having a great time. Want to rob a liquor store? Go ahead. Interested in pulling off some elaborate heists? You’ll be able to. Do you feel like just cruising in your new ride without a worry in the world? You’re able to, because “Grand Theft Auto 5” lets you.

Final Rating: 5/5

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