Grand Theft Auto 5 was released way back in 2013, and unlike most games that would have slipped well into obscurity almost 6 years after release, GTA 5 still draws crowds and tops sales charts. One of the most popular games of all time, countless fans enjoy it to this day. Here's a few reasons to join them and replay it.
While the infinitely popular GTA Online draws the most attention these days with its engaging multiplayer gameplay, active player base and constant content updates, it was story mode that paved the way for its success. The vast world is just as filled with content when you are playing alone as it is in Online, but is much more fleshed out with additional narrative content.
1. The Story
GTA 5 tells a typical Rockstar story filled with broken characters, almost none of which aren't anti-heroes or straight up villains. Bad things happen to people who try to set things right by doing even worse things and professional criminal Michael Townley is involved with a botched robbery alongside Trevor Phillips, leading him to later enter witness protection under a different name - De Santa. A series of events lead them to reunite and join Franklin Clinton, a gang member, to perform a series of heists.
Expectably, the trio get mixed up in events out of their control and end up being in way over their heads. Rockstar's iconic writing that nails character development and interpersonal drama, while firing off crude jokes and sharp satire, place the storyline of GTA 5 high up in the pantheon of game narratives. While most games known for their stories are RPGs, this game can brush shoulders with most of them.
Don't expect it to be uplifting, though!
2. The Endings
Speaking of the game's story, if you've played through GTA 5 only once, you don't even need 10 reasons to replay it - just 2. While GTA 5 doesn't have a branching storyline in the traditional sense - 99% of the narrative is linear with no player choices - it does have multiple endings that depend on one specific decision you make late in the game. It isn't missable, and if you've played the game you know which one we're talking about.
To get the full experience, it's worth playing through the story at least 3 times - or, load back a save from before you made the decision, but where's the fun in that?
3. The Characters
Alongside our trio of protagonists, GTA 5 is full of memorable characters. Some will help you, some will try to kill you, and they all have issues.
Some - ah, who are we kidding, most - of these characters aren't "good" per-se, nor are they characters you are supposed to like, but they fulfill their narrative role perfectly and are written realistically. From the various crime bosses you tangle with, through Trevor's menagerie of substance-abusing allies and rivals, all the way to corrupt officials of different agencies, you'll meet the worst and the... well, worst of what Los Santos has to offer.
Many side characters who barely make an appearance are also memorable on account of their use as jokes and gags. Jock Cranley and Cris Formage are two examples, but there are plenty more in the game.
4. The Missions
Story is great and all, but gameplay makes a game. GTA 5 perfected the typical Grand Theft Auto formula, and the same gameplay was transplanted into Online which went on to spawn immense success. The missions feature varied objectives which allow the player to experience every facet of gameplay in a structured environment. After introducing players to the mechanics, you'll get missions that perfectly blend tight gunplay, high-octane races and various minigames to spice things up.
The game's high points are definitely the heists which Michael, Franklin and Trevor embark on a few times during the story. After you've completed various set-up missions, the team gets together for a big payoff - their reward is money, and yours are some of the best-designed parts of the game.
5. The Mods
If you're playing GTA 5 on PC, there is a vast world of additional content you can enjoy, made for the fans by the fans. While Rockstar never went through with their plans for making single-player DLC, modders jumped in to fill those shoes. Ranging from things such as graphical upgrades, vehicle model replacements adding real-life cars to the game and new weapons, all the way to wild ideas like adding fully functional super hero characters, entirely new game mechanics and complete overhauls, you can vastly transform the way GTA 5 looks and plays.
We've done a fair bit of mod coverage in our time, so you can look through our many best-of lists and download a few mods to get you started, and then you can start seeking out modifications for yourself.
6. The Cheats
If you went through your first playthrough of GTA 5 completely cheat-free, good on you - everyone's first experience should be like that. However, as we've exclaimed many times throughout our cheat code pages, Rockstar's implementation of cheats reaches beyond simply making the game easier, and they can be used to alter gameplay in various interesting ways.
It's worth going back to GTA 5 to experience the game with various super powers - no mods needed, so console players can get in on the fun - or with physics toyed with. Just lower gravity, remove all traction from vehicle tyres and boom! Suddenly driving from one end of the map to the other is a whole new story. Cheats can't be used in GTA Online for obvious reasons, so you'll have to fire up the story mode to try them out.
7. The Peace and Calm
What's this, "peace and calm" in a game featuring crime, high-octane vehicular chases, explosions, conspiracies, substance abuse, and a bunch of other things filling up the PEGI content warning box? Just wait, hear us out.
Firstly, when you're not on a mission, don't have wanted stars and aren't in an area where random events tend to trigger, there are plenty of serene and peaceful locations throughout Los Santos and San Andreas that make for great little exploration trips. Rockstar created the world of GTA 5 with meticulous attention to detail and it feels akin to the real world in the sense that it's alive instead of being a static set-piece. There are numerous locations which make for fantastic screenshots, too.
Secondly, if you've experienced the chaos of a populated GTA Online instance, where CEOs are trying to move cargo, Biker gangs are completing missions and a few griefers and hackers are added to the mix, even the most action-packed portions of GTA 5 feel relaxing compared to that absolute pandemonium.
8. The Pacing
When we speak about pacing, we mean it in more ways than one. Game narratives, especially in non-linear games like GTA 5, are vastly different beasts than the narratives of any other artistic medium, and writing the storylines for games is much harder. Writers don't have as much control over pacing and the order of events when the player can freely choose what activity to do and when. While GTA 5 has a mostly linear storyline, sometimes you have some freedom in choosing which character to control and which mission to do next.
Despite this, Rockstar's writers managed to keep all their plates spinning. No matter how you play GTA 5, the storyline is wonderfully paced. You never feel like things are dragging on or that nothing has happened in a while, nor does it leave you head spinning with a sudden barrage of significant events out of nowhere.
We also mean that you can absolutely play GTA 5 at your own preferred pace, which swings back to our previous mention of GTA Online. Sure, this is a virtue that all single player games share, but it really feels refreshing to be allowed to cruise around and enjoy the the game without worrying about some scrub coming after you on an Oppressor.
9. The Sights
GTA 5 is an absolutely gorgeous game, even on the PS3 and Xbox 360. The Enhanced Edition looks graphically impressive even today, and the varied terrain of the game map keeps things interesting. In-game photography has grown its own little sub-community within the GTA 5 fandom, with skilled players creating screenshots that look as artistic and scenic as professional photos do in real life.
Just head up to the Observatory, or to the top of Mount Chiliad and look around. Don't do things, don't rush to an objective or look for the next blip on the map, just take it all in.
10. The Dog
I mean, does this need an explanation? Just look at Chop - who wouldn't love Chop? Sometimes you even get to play as Chop! Franklin can get a ball to throw for him to fetch, and can take him for a walk, and you can even customize Chop in the iFruit app.
GTA 5 is a definite landmark entry in the history of video games. Rockstar wrote history when they released this masterpiece and set themselves a really high bar for any future entry in the franchise. If it's been a while since you played Grand Theft Auto 5, we encourage you to revisit it.