The hype over Grand Theft Auto V has reached disgusting levels. People have picked apart the GTAV trailers, scouring for nuggets of wisdom and fulfillment. IGN recently emphasized the “Exposed Penises, Marijuana, and a Brief Instance of Necrophilia” that will be included in the game’s “mature” content. I know some fans have their pants unzipped already.
One thing often gets overlooked in the GTAV coverage, though: GTA lacks good gameplay. For years, the series has had enough shitty mechanics for a Congressional hearing. Of course, bad gameplay will never stop fans from buying the latest GTA game. The fetish for criminal activity is too strong in gaming culture. However, if you’ve gotten over the whole “crime is cool” theme that has been played to death in American media, it’s easy to see how GTAV needs to improve the series.
One might assume that a game based on a crime that involves driving would have solid driving mechanics by now. Hell no. Remember the game Driver on the PS1? Grand Theft Auto still hasn’t gotten anywhere near the tight and slick driving mechanics of a PS1 game released almost 15 years ago! That’s the biggest crime that has ever been committed in GTA. Supposedly, GTAV will have reworked driving mechanics. Let’s hope this is the case and not more hype.
If you want to feel like a badass criminal (zzzzzzzzzzzz), shouldn’t you be able to shoot worth a damn? Grand Theft Auto IV hilariously tried to fix the broken shooting mechanics of past GTAs with an uninspired cover system. Rockstar claims the shooting mechanics will be better in GTAV, but the following description from this article doesn’t sound that promising:
Targeting will feature three distinct modes in GTA V, including assisted aiming, traditional GTA and free aim.
“Assisted aiming gives players a larger targeting area as well as a little more help analyzing targets to try and pick the largest threat. Traditional GTA is the closest to previous GTA’s soft lock option. It shares all the characteristics of assisted aiming, with the additional ability to flick left and right between targets using the right stick.
“Another new refinement is that every aim mode now has a timer that breaks lock so you have to be more tactical in your approach – you can no longer just rely on holding and shooting until a target is dead.”
Sounds like Rockstar might be making this too complicated. Why bring back a system that you know pretty much sucks? Why not decide on one good aiming system? It should be straightforward. My suggestion? Throw in a laser light a la Resident Evil and be done with it.
I don’t like running, but I can run for a longer period of time than a GTA protagonist. In a pitiful attempt to be “realistic,” Rockstar has pushed the idea that a video game character’s legs need to get tired frequently. I would like to know one person who thinks this nonsense makes the game more fun or “immersive.” This person cannot be out of shape.
Melee combat is another thing that GTAV will supposedly improve, but I’ll believe it when I see it. Thus far, the melee mechanics in GTA have been looser than an old trampoline. One fix would be a simplified version of Devil May Cry’s system. Even simpler, don’t make the character feel like a ragdoll during a strike.
It’s amazing Grand Theft Auto has remained clunky in every major facet of its gameplay. GTA’s popularity in spite of substandard gameplay speaks to the allure of becoming a petty criminal. But for me, a grown-ass man, this allure is not enough. GTAV can be the first truly revolutionary sandbox game since GTAIII, but including innocuous tennis and scuba diving segments (as shown in the official GTAV gameplay trailer) won’t get the job done. The core gameplay elements must feel right. Otherwise, GTAV won’t stand the test of time any better than GTAIV.