RF Generation.  The Classic and Modern Gaming Databases.RF Generation.  The Classic and Modern Gaming Databases.

Posted on May 7th 2015 at 12:00:00 AM by (noiseredux)
Posted under PC

We PC gamers had to wait a long time for Grand Theft Auto V to come to our platform of choice, but it became immediately clear that it was worth the wait. I'm not going to bore you with all the additions made to this version, as it's been well-documented in every review out there. In fact, I'm not even going to review the game. It doesn't need that from me. Neither does Rockstar. Instead I want to talk about the beauty of games about nothing.

Now don't get the wrong impression here. GTA V is about something in the sense that it has a story. Actually it has a whole lot of story. But as good (or bad) as that story may be, this is a game that is justifiably celebrated just as much by everything you can do, even if you ignore the story. This is game that you can spend hundreds of hours on without actually playing the game itself. If you want to play the campaign, it's there for you. If you want to ignore it and just do 'nothing,' that can be an even more satisfying experience.

Fact, it was the allure of exploring the world of Los Santos independent of the game itself that was what got me to buy the game to begin with. To be honest, I've always been a fairly casual fan of the series. I dabbled with several games, and could appreciate them for what they were. However, I never got hooked on any of the previous installments. At this point, I've played just enough of the story to unlock all three major characters, but the vast bulk of my game time has been spent wandering aimlessly, doing whatever it is I felt like at the moment.

Grand Theft Auto V has become my relaxation game; I fire it up when I just want to relax. There are times when you don't want to have to think, and this game certainly allows that. Oh, I know that I'm making no progress whatsoever in these hours I spend, but it's not about the progress.  It's about driving fast with nowhere to go, it's about walking the city streets slowly and people watching, and it's about trying the most ridiculously stupid thing you can think of doing just to see if it's possible.........and most of the time it is.

My game-about-nothing game of choice has changed over time. Last year it was The Crew, a so-called MMO Racing game in which I similarly started ignoring the storyline for once the initial tutorial was over. Many nights I'd fire it up, pick a direction, and just drive. But given the size of Los Santos, I don't even need The Crew anymore because now I've got access to planes and jet skis as well.

It's crazy to think about the time and money that Rockstar put into the story of Grand Theft Auto V, especially given the number of people who will probably never see it or hear it during their time playing the game. If you want to get even an idea, just walk around town and eavesdrop on NPC's. Better yet, get in their personal space, or pull out a gun! The little things heard in passing are but the tip of the iceberg, and when you add in the endless possibilities of human interaction, via Grand Theft Auto Online, it starts to become apparent that perhaps the best memories that any gamer will have playing this game will be when they're just doing nothing.

* * *

My First Night In Los Santos

I hopped in my car and drove around the city at night. A couple flicks of the radio dial and I found an A$AP Ferg track pumping. Turned it up and already felt good about my purchase. The next two tracks were by Kendrick Lamar, one of which is from his independent release Section80. I'm impressed.

I ignored the map altogether and just drove wherever instinct took me. I tried to find an on-ramp to the busy freeway, but instead got sidetracked as I noticed some quiet roads leading up some hills. I followed those until the sun came up and then crashed my car off the side of a cliff. I brushed myself off and wandered down the beach where a group of people were sleeping in tents. I stole one of their cars and promptly drove it into the ocean. Ran back, stole another and drove down the beach some. Hit some rocks and found the car flying through the air... and into the ocean. I swam out of the sunken car and noticed a manta ray off in the distance. I followed him for a bit and then realized someone had left their jet ski unattended further down the beach. I hopped on that and sped off, making big jumps over waves and eventually hopping off somewhere down the coast. I started to make my way up some hills, startling off a group of deer inadvertently.

Mt. Chiliad, Part I

Eventually I found myself at the foot of a mountain. I had a hunch it might be the fated Mount Chiliad, but I was ignoring maps, opting instead for blind discovery. I climbed, and climbed (AND CLIMBED!). I kept thinking I was at the top, only to then see far more to climb. It was breath-taking.

I finally got to the top of the mountain around sunset. I scared a couple tourists that were up there and they ran down the mountain in terror. I hopped on a dirt bike and whizzed up and down the side of the mountain before hopping on a tramway. I thought it would give me a cool view, but when I got to the bottom, I was bummed it wouldn't take me back up. I was hoping for a more epic way to get down the mountain.

By now it was nighttime, so I started down the highway on the dirt bike. Eventually I got into a wreck and woke up in some pretty ghost-town looking place in the desert. It was quiet and I didn't really want to walk, so I fired a headshot through the windshield of a truck. The truck started doing donuts before hitting a telephone pole. I hopped in and fled from the sirens I started hearing.

I then hopped back on the highway and drove for a while. I left the truck on a bridge and went exploring a beach I came across. I snuck through some backyards and boosted a car out of a driveway and found myself in suburbia. I stopped to get a haircut and then called a cab. The cab ride was painfully slow, so I jumped out and walked the rest of the way back home. When I got home I watched some crazy anime on TV for a while.


I switched to Michael and went off exploring some more. Ultimately, I beat up some guys outside of a convenience store, stole their sports car, drove way too fast, crashed it, and tried to hide back at the same convenience store in the break room. The cops found me pretty fast.

After getting out of jail, I spent some time just going into people's' backyards and seeing if I could jump off of stuff into their pools. (SPOILER: I could).

Stalking NPC's

I saw a girl on the boardwalk who looked like my wife, so I decided to follow her and see where she was going. She actually walked quite a while up through San Andreas. It seemed so weird to see this barefoot girl in a bikini walking through the city at night. What I was curious about is if Rockstar made homes for these NPC's, or if it was programmed so that NPC's would go to specific businesses or something. Anyway, I never found out because eventually there was a police shootout in the city and the girl got scared and ran off screaming.

A Game Of Chicken

I found myself behind the wheel of an extremely fast sports car that I had just stolen. There was a high speed chase with the cops, who I couldn't seem to lose because we were in a neighborhood with house on top of house and twisty narrow roads. I pulled the car into an empty driveway when I had a bit of space, hopped a fence, and jumped into somebody's pool. I could hear cop cars pull up to the house and then talk to each other. They knew that this was the stolen car. They knew I must be close by. But, they couldn't find me. Eventually they left.

I decided to drive down a train track for as long as I could at top speed. This went on for an impressively long time as the track weaved through different terrain. It went along a dirt road, over a highway overpass and eventually forked underground through a tunnel. Suddenly, I saw the bright headlights of a train whipping around the corner up ahead. I just barely dodged it at the last moment. I pulled the car over and decided that was enough driving for now.

Mt. Chiliad, Part II

I took another long hike up Mt. Chiliad and decided to parachute off of it. I tried to land in somebody's pool, but missed and came down on their roof. Then I ran down to the beach during sun-up and decided to go for a swim. I wondered how far out I could make it in the ocean before tiring myself out....but stamina wasn't the problem. After about ten minutes of swimming north off the coast I was eaten by a shark. (Hey! You apparently get an achievement for that!)

* * *

So what's the point of all this? The point is that in the weeks I've spent inside of Los Santos, I've come away with many little anecdotes. These are stories that I remember fondly as a fun night of gaming, or they're examples I can give to folks to make them chuckle and illustrate why they should be playing this game if they haven't yet. But most importantly, the point is that I've only scratched the surface of the actual scripted game that Rockstar released. I'm sure at some point I'll buckle down and focus on the campaign itself, but even still, the chance is good that I'll spend far more time running around Los Santos having a blast doing nothing.

--Screenshots taken by BogusMeatFactory.

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As much as I found the story tripe and the characters deplorable you are making want to go hang out in the GTA universe again, Noise. 
The endless possibilities presented in GTA games is what draws one of my friends to this game. I remember him saying, "these are like simulator games, there's nothing I can't do and since I know I won't be able to visit Miami (Vice City) or LA (Los Santos) I can go there in one of these games."

I think that's what Rockstar was going for with this series. They know people may not play through the campaign, but giving players total freedom to explore and do crazy things is going to lend to great gaming memories. And in the end, that often justifies the purchase of game - like you pointed out with your funny anecdotes.
Seriously, did anyone read this article and not laugh?  I've never cared for the GTA games, not because I have an issue with the content, but because I've never been into the whole "mission" as aspect of it and don't care a lot for games with timed events. However, this free roaming element sounds very intriguing, and if you think about it, it's kind of a sneaky use of VR. I know that VR gaming has been talked about for years and even though you're using a controller, it seems that this game allows you a pretty good VR experience with little limitation. Nice read!
It was this kind of free form gameplay that put a deep imprint on me. My first game in the series was GTA 2 back on the PS1. The top down games offer similar freedom to roam around a level and wreak whatever sort of havoc you could imagine. The missions in those old ones served as a gameplay mechanism to lock other levels away.

Seeing the series grow with each of the 3D installments starting with GTA 3 was a lot of fun, and despite my high percentage of RPGs for the PS2 I put as much time into each of the GTAs on the system as any of those. I'm hoping with the next game they step back in time again and offer an awesome period piece like they did with Vice City.
I was a lot like that when I played red dead redemptiom....Love just wandering around, riding my horse, stopping at the saloon for some texas hold em, just exploring the game. Rockstar has always been great at just adding so much detail to their titles. Grand theft auto 5 was a great game. I found myself just wondering around getting into random stuff as well. I love Rockstar games...ever since max payne I've been a fan of rockstar....and games like the warriors, bully, Rockstar really is the cream of the crop when talking game developers, or publishers not sure exactly which they are....but they are definitely one of my faves. Red Dead Redemption is one of my favorite games I've ever played...Red dead revolver was a fun game too back in the original xbox days....What can I say I love western themed anything, I love cowboy movies... I personally hope they make a follow up to red dead redemption on next gen consoles. Not sure how they would do it story wise....maybe have to introduce a new main character...but...I'm sure rockstar could come up with something great like they always do....I liked your article man. Thanks for posting it....it was interesting.

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