Grand Theft Auto V: What You Need to Know

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GTA V is one of the most ambitious video games ever created, with a bewildering amount to explore and experience. Not sure where to start? Here’s your essential newcomer’s guide to Grand Theft Auto V. 

Table of Contents
Welcome to Los Santos
What parents should know
A criminal cast 
What to expect
Grand Theft Auto Online
The Grand Theft Auto series
Essential information

Welcome to Los Santos
Playing Grand Theft Auto V for the first time is a little like moving to another city and starting a new job at the same time. When that city is the sprawling, sun-drenched Los Santos – loosely based around Los Angeles  – your head is bound to spin. And when the job involves multi-million-dollar jewellery heists and assassination attempts, you can expect to meet some unique characters.

Developed by Edinburgh-based Rockstar North, GTA V was a critical and commercial smash in 2013. Available on PlayStation 3 and  Xbox 360 , it sold well over 11 million copies on the day of release and topped $1 billion in its first three days on sale. In the UK, it sold more than 1.5 million copies on launch day alone. 

What parents should know 
If you’re thinking of buying GTA V for your children, bear in mind it has been classified as an 18-rated game by PEGI, the Pan-European Game Information body. This means it is illegal for retailers to sell it to customers under that age.
Why 18-rated? The game contains a lot of violence and strong language since it portrays a number of dark, crime-themed subject matters. You may have noticed GTA V in the headlines for this reason. However, the game is strictly intended for adult players. 

A criminal cast
As the game unfolds, you will play as one of three very different residents of Los Santos. Michael is a retired bank robber living in a witness protection programme, and beneath the surface of an idyllic life – fast cars, big house, happy family – lurks the draw of one last, big job. Trevor, a long-time friend of Michael’s and a former partner in crime, borders on the psychopathic, but his skills as a pilot make him a valuable member of any crew. And Franklin is a young man looking for a lucrative break; when he meets Michael, the two form a bond that will open doors for Franklin – even if they are often of the stolen automobile variety.
Together, the three embark on a city-wide crime spree to gather the resources needed for that last epic blowout, although with the city’s security forces hot on their tail and their own, complex histories threatening to boil over, it is not going to be easy to drive off into the sunset.

What to expect
GTA V is a giant melting pot of different gameplay styles. Whether you play as Michael, Trevor or Franklin, there will always be a number of different jobs available, which you can attempt whenever you like. And because the other two characters continue to live their own lives while you play, you will never know what to expect when you switch back.
The beauty of GTA V lies in the freedom it gives you. Explore the city on foot or take any car you like the look of. Learn to fly and jump into a plane or helicopter. Fancy killing some time in a seafront bowling alley? Get your shoes on. Eager to see what the next twist in the storyline is? Head to the marker on your map to begin the next mission.

Here is a taste of what lies in store.
  • Story missions: These are the meat of the game, where some of the most spectacular moments occur. Each of the three protagonists has their own jobs to complete yet often they will come together to perform as a team. You will plan the smallest details of a job, including hiring getaway drivers and computer hackers, then carry it out and collect your rewards.
       Switching between the three crooks during a daring heist gives you a different perspective on the action and        lets you use their special abilities. Michael has a slow-motion shooting mode, Franklin can speed up his                reactions while driving, and Trevor can let his rage run wild to take out enemies.
  • Hobbies and pastimes: As well as the bigger story missions, there are plenty of other tasks to attempt. You’ll discover these by meeting people around town, from a desperate celebrity paparazzo to an illegal racer. You can also take part in sports such as tennis and golf, and track down and steal rare cars to order.
  • Buying property: Dotted around the city are a number of businesses and buildings that can be purchased by each of your characters. These often provide a weekly income and can unlock new things for you to do.
Of course, you will have to keep an eye out for any unwelcome attention. An on-screen meter fills with stars should you commit a crime close to patrolling cops. The more outrageous your actions, the more your wanted level increases, until eventually roadblocks are set up and SWAT teams are called in to stop you. 

Grand Theft Auto Online
As well as the single player game, GTA V also includes a multiplayer mode. GTA Online can be accessed as long as your system is connected to the Internet, and provided you are signed in to Xbox Live on your Xbox 360, or PlayStation Network on your PS3.
GTA Online is a separate part of the game, so you will need to create a character and join a Crew. Teamwork is a crucial: by taking on jobs together with your Crew, you will earn bonuses and extra cash, which all helps you to plan larger heists and afford more powerful cars and equipment.
Deathmatches – where the aim is to wipe out a rival team within a time limit – races, robbery missions, raids and even parachute drops are some of the options open to you.
Creator mode, meanwhile, is a chance to create your own jobs and mini-games. Using some of the same tools as the developers at Rockstar North, you’ll be able to design racetracks, challenging heists and all-out gun battles for your Crew and other players to play.
Something to consider before you embark on GTA Online is a headset. It’ll let you hear every aspect of the game in great detail, from the direction you’re being shot at from, to the game’s eclectic soundtrack. It also means you can communicate with your team-mates via the built-in mic.  

Grand Theft Auto series
  1. Grand Theft Auto: The original game, played from a top-down perspective. Stealing cars to get around a fictional city and then committing various crimes ensured this caused much controversy on PC and PlayStation back in 1997.
  2. Grand Theft Auto 2: Following on from GTA, this introduced the idea of completing missions for various gangs.
  3. Grand Theft Auto III: The third game in the series saw Grand Theft Auto explode thanks to a fully realised, 3D open world. You played a silent villain on the rise in Liberty City.
  4. Grand Theft Auto: Vice City: Eighties fashion crimes mix with illegal gangland activity in a city loosely resembling Miami.
  5. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas: Containing three fully realised cities, the story of Carl Johnson’s criminal descent was the series’ first visit to Los Santos. 
  6. Grand Theft Auto IV: Back to Liberty City, and a much grittier take on criminal empire-building.
  7. Additional games: Look out too for the extra chapters from GTA IV, Episodes from Liberty City, which tell the tales of two new characters.
Essential information
Publisher Rockstar Games
Developer Rockstar North
Release date 17 September 2013
Formats PS3, Xbox 360
PEGI rating 18
PEGI advice Extreme violence, multiple, motiveless killing and violence towards defenceless people; strong language; interaction with other players online

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