GTA 5 Buyer's Guide: Is This Game For You?

While most of our readers are here because they already own GTA 5 and are interested in the most complete database for cheats the internet has to offer, we frequently see questions about whether or not this game is right for the asker on various community sites. Well, if you're on the fence about Rockstar's hyper-popular game, look no further.

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GTA 5's commercial success is something regular readers probably know enough about to write an essay on it, considering how in-depth we went with some of our longer posts. Somehow, the game is still selling like hotcakes, meaning that there are still plenty of people out there who might be interested.


If you're the kind of gamer who likes doing some research into a particular title prior to purchasing it, and that research goes beyond reviews, then this post is for you. This isn't a review since our opinion of the game should be obvious given that we've dedicated a whole site to it.

Instead of being a review scoring the game, this guide presents what the game is like, what you'll encounter when playing it and what kind of an experience to expect. You'll find no marketing exaggeration or corporate doublespeak here, just the facts.

First of all, GTA 5 absolutely deserves that 18+ rating. There is full-frontal nudity including genitals and breasts. There is a high degree of violence, involving an interactive torture scene. About 50% of the script would be censored on prime-time television and there are very few opportunities to not break the law.

That said, this isn't some mindless amoral murder porn simulator either. GTA 5 has one of the most vibrant and lively open worlds gaming has to offer, being a true marvel of programming and design.

If you're like most people and play through the singleplayer story before jumping into multiplayer, get ready for a damn long ride. There is so much content stuffed into the story mode that you can spend hours with various activities and not do a single main mission in that time.

The game, by default, is played from a third-person perspective, however the PC, PS4 and Xbox One versions have a first person setting as well, allowing you to pick whichever you prefer.

Gameplay comes down to two major variants: on foot and in vehicle. In case the game's name didn't make it obvious, cars are pretty important in GTA 5, and you'll spend almost as much time behind the wheel as on foot.

Shouting is the first and foremost method of interacting with the world around you. GTA is no RPG, so you can't just strike up conversation with every odd NPC. Usually, you'll be hitting, shooting or running over the game's NPCs.

We've touched on the open world before, and it sure is very open. For reference, the developers of Fallout 4 have cited GTA 5 as their inspiration and guide when approaching player freedom.

The map is a fictional version of Los Angeles and bits of California including other settlements such as Malibu. While obvious liberties had to be taken to fit it all into a game, the rendition is surprisingly authentic, as evidenced by this interactive map.

The game world is massive and filled with tons of little details that make exploring it more than worthwhile. If you're like my brother, then you'll even have fun with this game if you're not into combat - you can just drive around the world in a wide array of cars without getting bored.

That massive world isn't just for show, either. It's absolutely filled to the brim with various side activities beyond the story missions. Each character has a set of unique activities, such as hunting, golf, yoga and much more.

As for the storyline, GTA 5 tells the tale of three mismatched individuals who are in various stages of villainy executing a series of heists for money and various other motivations.

If you tend to get invested in a game's story and characters, you should know that pretty much neither of the three protagonists are likable or relatable unless you're an ambitious street thug, a burned-out bank robber or a psychotic murderous drug addict/dealer with mommy issues.

All three protagonists display various levels of depravity, and this being a GTA game, they don't really have any kind of redeeming cause or justification. If that sort of thing, plus the whole interactive torture scene, puts you off, then you might want to pass the game if you're interested in the story. That said, if you don't mind this sort of thing, and have an appreciation for satire, social commentary and very crass humor, then you'll get plenty of kicks out of GTA 5's story and writing.

Sure, there are plenty of dick jokes, f-bombs are peppered through sentences wantonly and people frequently tell one another to attempt auto-penetration, some of the writing in this game is downright brilliant, especially when it comes to the satire.

As for the game's multiplayer component, it caters to a wide variety of players as well. Do you like racing? Bueno. Are you a fan of PvP third-person shooters. Check. Do you like co-op gameplay. Bingo. With several - read: a bloody ton - free DLCs having been released since the game's launch, there is so much content in GTA Online that you'll be hard pressed to grow bored of it anytime soon.

Now, one thing you might have often read in your research is that GTA Online turns into a grind since things in the game cost quite a bit and making cash is slow business. While it's true that the ratio of prices to average cash-per-hour is low compared to other MMOs, if you follow our handy series of money making guides, you'll be able to make lots of cash in decent amounts of time, with various activities to prevent it becoming monotonous.

While you have your typical game-modes such as deathmatch, team deathmatch and racing, GTA Online is filled with several unique ways to play. Heists are the main mid/end-game content, which are complex multi-missions co-op mini campaigns that offer more challenge and a greater reward for skilled players.

A number of less typical activities appear in the form of stunt races, last team standing, and the various Freemode Events that were introduced in the eponymous update. Adversary Modes are non-canon game-modes which allow Rockstar's designers to go a bit crazy. You've got all kinds of odd modes ranging from various iterations of deathmatch with some gimmick, through deadlier versions of dodge'em and a PvP slasher movie, all the way to actual freaking light-cycle battles from Tron.

Yes, you can play actual freaking light-cycle battles from Tron in GTA Online. Screw it, this article is pointless - GTA 5 is right for you, whoever you may be.

On a more serious note, while these Adversary Modes represent the true creative well of GTA Online, you'll be hard-pressed to find many players in all but a few particularly popular ones. Sumo, Power Play, Slasher, Deadline and whatever the newest Mode is will usually have plenty of players, but all others will be pretty barren.

As for end-game content, well, there isn't any. What sort of constitutes as end-game content (but not really) is CEO work and the management of businesses. Both of these offer a break from regular gameplay, as they are more co-op oriented, while skilled players can pull them off solo.

To recap: Thanks to GTA 5's massive wealth of content, it's really only a poor buy if you dislike gratuitous violence, sexual content and crass humor. If you're fine with fictional depictions of human depravity though, this game is a great ride with an absolute freaking motherload of content to explore.

Aron Gerencser
Aron is responsible for the bulk of the news posts that you'll find on GTA BOOM each and every day. He loves getting involved with the community and is an avid fan of all things Rockstar Games. His journey with the franchise began with GTA 2 back when it was new (all the way back in 1999), and he was a gamer even before then. Find Aron on Facebook.