By JOHN CHESTNUT
It has been five years since a new Grand Theft Auto game has graced home consoles.
In that time there have been many ripoffs, and some games have come close to dethroning GTA as the king of open-world games. “Saints Row the 3rd” is one example.
Developer Rockstar has listened and learned from the mistakes made in GTA 4. For the new version, they made a massive open-world game with almost limitless possibilities.
It sucks you in and never lets you leave.
The story mode gives three characters to play as: Franklin, Michael and Trevor. Each character feels different and has unique abilities. You can even level up their stats to make them into the character you want.
Michael is your average middle-aged man going through a midlife crisis.
Franklin is a stereotypical African gangster protagonist whose only dream is to get paid and leave the hood.
Trevor is hard to describe, because he’s the most off-his-rocker character I’ve had the pleasure of playing as in any recent video game.
The story mode is a long one, packed with 69 missions and hundreds of side missions, random acts of heroism and other activities.
Heist missions really help the game really take off. You plan the whole thing, from the driver to the shooter and tech guy. You decide whether to go in loud or to do it like a thieving batman.
You instantly feel like a virtual Val Kilmer, the “Heat” version. You know, before he gained the old-man weight.
If all that single-player action wasn’t enough, we are given a fully fleshed online mode. It has a full map ready for you and your friends to rip apart from the inside out like a jelly-filled donut.
Make your own character by picking his parents and their parents, then figure out how much your character looks like each of them.
The joy of being with a buddy, or three, while you run through the 500 ready-to-go missions almost feels as though you are ripping off Rockstar.
The most enjoyable aspect is the ability to use your in-game cell phone to take selfies of you and your gang.
Yes, you can create your own gang while you partake in all the fun activities, such as knocking over liquor stores, going to a strip club, parachuting, playing golf or tennis and even playing chicken with a train.
The game is not perfect, though.
The gun controls are crap and Rockstar still seems to have an ongoing war with your controller’s A or X button.
The online mode also has problems. Some people have had their character erased, or have not been able to play it all. That is unfortunate, but the complaints stop there.
The game is massive and can be overwhelming at times. If you take it slow, and let everything that is happening sink in, you will find pure enjoyment. It’s everything we gamers wanted out of GTA 4 but never got.
This is one of the best games of this generation. In Grand Theft Auto terms, it gives an exceptional middle-fingered salute.
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