Contemporary sandbox crime games like Sleeping Dogs and Saints Row 3 have filled up the void left by GTA IV’s dragged out plot and lackluster missions, so when GTA V was first announced I was a bit apprehensive. After watching GTA V’s second trailer, however, what was once indifference is replaced with a warm glow of something I can only recognize as excitement, maybe even hope. It seems like Rockstar put their ear to the ground and heard all of my nay saying over the past few years and decided, “let’s shut this kid up”.
The first thing I noticed from the trailer was how absolutely gorgeous this game looks. The character models for the three main characters are delightfully detailed–even non-essential NPCs don’t look half bad. Fans of GTA:San Andreas will instantly recognize some of the landmarks from our visit to the region during the misadventures of CJ Johnson. The Ferris wheel at the boardwalk and the under pass in Los Santos are all there just as I remembered them–well, almost. It’s a treat to see these places once again fully realized in beautiful HD graphics. The trailer follows our three protagonist and their daily function in San Andreas. We see Micheal ‘chillaxing’ by a pool in his sweet condo in where I can only is San Ferraro. Franklin is on the streets of Los Santos stealing cars and hustling fools. Trevor, well, the guy is all over the place being a complete nut; I think I found my favorite character. The trailer doesn’t explicitly detail the story or its plot, but we do know this: Micheal and Trevor are best friends (at least that’s what Micheal says in the trailer) and Franklin seems to know Micheal well. This could mean that their paths cross more frequently than Niko, Johnny, and Luis.
The boys at Rockstar maybe taking notes from the Saints Row series because this trailer is explosive. This could be a sign that my issues with GTA IV’s bland mission structure and tortoise slow pace may be rectified. High speed car chases? Check. Trains colliding into a fiery doom? Got those too. Jets dog fighting over the city? Please, we got that and a jeep falling out a cargo plane. If you’re thinking, “gee mister, this sure does remind me of the Saint’s Row 3 trailer,” it should little Billy. It means that Rockstar is hearkening back to the absurd action packed missions that made the GTA III series a blast to play, which makes the return to San Andreas that much more appropriate. The trailer also displays a diverse selection of vehicles that was missing in the last installment. Bicycles make a return, sleek sports cars, dune buggies, dirt bikes, planes, helicopters–getting from point A to point B by any means possible shouldn’t be a boring affair.
I try not to get too excited over video game trailers, especially when they aren’t gameplay trailers. Though I’m not completely sold on parting with $59.99 on this game just yet, I can say that this trailer has rekindled some faith in an old GTA die hard. We still have months to go until GTA V makes it’s way into game carriers around the world. Only after I’ve seen gameplay footage and hands on experience of my own will I claim GTA as the once and future king of the sandbox genre.