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Grand Theft Auto V Reviewed by Cyril Lachel on . You already know that Grand Theft Auto V is a big sequel with dozens (if not hundreds) of hours of gameplay, but it turns out that the game's best assets isn't its size at all. Instead it's the focused story about friendship, loyalty and what to do when the past comes back to haunt you. Rockstar Games has managed to exceed my expectations and create one of the best games of this generation. Rating: 100%
Grand Theft Auto V
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Grand Theft Auto V Grand Theft Auto V Grand Theft Auto V
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With a budget larger than Marvel's The Avengers and a map so substantial that it dwarfs past open-world games, it's natural to be overwhelmed by the excess of Grand Theft Auto V. However it's not the size or ambition of Rockstar's newest open-world sandbox game that sticks with me, but rather how small and personal the experience is.

Now don't misunderstand, there's absolutely nothing small about San Andreas. This fictional state not only includes Los Santos (a blatant parody of Los Angeles, complete with their own Hollywood sign), but also several beach communities and a large mountain range. The state is so massive that Grand Theft Auto V offers two different maps to help keep you from getting lost. Whether by car, motorcycle, boat or airplane, I can't imagine anybody being disappointed in the size of this game.

Grand Theft Auto V (Xbox 360)

But once you get past the overwhelming size of the map, the game leaves you with a story that is surprisingly small in scope when compared to past Grand Theft Auto games. This isn't anything like 2004's San Andreas, in which our hero goes on a fantastical journey across the state meeting new people and getting into big adventures. Instead we get a more focused story about three thieves looking to pull off the ultimate heist.

We are first introduced to Franklin Clinton, a street thug looking for a way out of the ghetto. He sees the gang violence around him and knows he needs a change of scenery, but his best friend Lamar is content to live hustling and pulling off shady jobs for cash. Franklin spends his time repossessing cars, which is where he meets the second star of Grand Theft Auto V -- Michael De Santa.

Grand Theft Auto V (Xbox 360)

Unlike the 25 year old Clinton, Michael is a middle-aged bank robber who is enjoying the finer elements of retirement. Instead of dodging cops and stealing money, the 45 year old retiree is suffering in a loveless marriage with two misbehaving children. He has a nice house, an expensive ride and all the amenities he could possibly want, yet there's an emptiness quietly eating away at him.

Perhaps it's not emptiness that is keeping him up at night, but rather guilt. Years earlier, Michael was part of a botched heist in Canada that sends one person to the morgue and the other on the run down to San Andreas. Enter Trevor Philips, who is has spent the last decade believing Michael was dead. As you can imagine, things get sticky when Trevor realizes that he's been lied to and his former partner has been living the good life in Los Santos.

Trevor is a mentally unstable psychopath, something of a cross between the Joker and Sam Kinison. He's unpredictable and just about anything will send him into a violent rage, making him the absolute worst person to be part of any team. Unfortunately, neither Michael nor Franklin has much choice in the matter.

Grand Theft Auto V (Xbox 360)

Instead of using this jumping off point to weave an over-the-top story, the developers at Rockstar Games keep things grounded and relatively simple. With only a few exceptions, the story revolves around the fallout that came from that botched heist. We quickly learn that Michael is in deep with the Feds, to the point where he's forced to do their dirty work. And now that Trevor is back in town, things are about to get hairy for the retired thief.

When they're not dealing with the nastiest people in all of Los Santos, Michael, Franklin and Trevor will be setting up a series of heists. Things start out simple as our "heroes" rob a jewelry store, however it won't take long for the trio to set their sights for a much larger score. These three men are about to become multi-millionaires ... if they don't end up turning on each other first.
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