I’ve just spent a half-hour planning an ideal heist. I am going in smart, knocking out the guards and the staff behind the delicate jewellery counters of the store with a carefully located smoke bomb, and smashing into each cabinet with the butt of a semi-automatic rifle prior to making my escape on a near by getaway bike. I’m reducing my cut therefore i can hire the very best hacker to disable the security system, and an experienced gunman to take care of crowd control. Yet, despite my best efforts, with one poorly-taken corner on my bike, everything goes wrong. I will be driving down a dank sewer tunnel, sneaking my way under metropolis to freedom. Instead, I’m here, mowing down wave after wave of police on the location streets, and for the 1st time while playing a Grand Theft Auto game, Personally i think immensely guilty about any of it.

This isn’t as a result of some grand moral awakening on my part, but a fascinating side effect of what’s the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One version of GTA V’s most compelling new feature: first-person mode. Even though GTA games were top-down shooters, there is always something of a disconnect between your sometimes shockingly violent scenes on-screen, and the mentality of the player. You could suppose, despite directly controlling a character, it had been this virtual caricature of a criminal committing the crimes–you merely played witness to them. First-person mode fundamentally changes how you view GTA V’s world. It gets the power to cause you to stop and consider your actions, and deeply question a character’s motivations. And in a string that has always been criticized for glorifying a life of crime, instead of questioning it, that is no bad thing.

That reaches the world most importantly too: the sprawling, gorgeously detailed metropolis of Los Santos deftly satirizes its real-world inspiration of LA, and of America as whole. Highlights are the self-proclaimed god of social media, Lifeinvader CEO Jay Norris, And his company’s beanbag-filled offices; the regular barrage of adverts for celebrity magazines, prescription medications, and plastic surgeries that are savaged on the air; and the corrupt government agencies just like the FiB that often act worse compared to the criminals they’re trying to place away. Sure, GTA V may also be heavy-handed using its satire, but there are few games that dare go so far as GTA does using its nihilistic commentary, and fewer still that do it with such conviction.

Running through everything are bombastic missions that play out like Hollywood blockbusters, and the best possible of gangster films. Heists remain the highlight, and the complete procedure for planning them out, hiring members of the team, gathering equipment, and hoping that the fuzz doesn’t interfere on the wedding day is completely engrossing. Bombs are exploded, helicopters are smashed in to the side of skyscrapers, and entire squads of police give chase as you make a futile attempt escape down the highway; the sheer thrill of a 4 or 5 star chase as what appears like the complete state’s quota of police descends after you can’t be understated. Yet, GTA V remains stuck during the past in a few ways. There are chase missions where losing sight of your target because of a poorly taken start the highway means making a frustrating restart, and assassination missions where, in the event that you act rashly and kill your target prior to the game expects you to, you have to get started on over again.

However the sheer spectacle of everything drags you back for more. GTA hasn’t really been subtle, and the overall game steamrolls its way through its less exciting moments, filling them with crafty pop culture-filled conversations and breathtaking landscapes so that you can ogle. There are extra missions to play too, like the random creeps of Los Santos who request you to do things as mundane as tow trucks for them, or even to smoke weed and mow down aliens within an hallucinogenic rampage through the town. There will be the multiple leisure activities you can enjoy, or the true estate you can purchase, and the stocks you spend money on together with the markets you can manipulate. Or you can just slack everything off completely and use Los Santos as your own wonderful digital playground, establishing sticky bomb-filled booby traps in the center of traffic, or stealing jumbo jets from the airport and trying to fly them under bridges. Indeed, it is the adventures you create yourself that often end up being the most fun.

And there’s GTA Online. It’s safe to state GTA Online didn’t log off to an excellent start, with server issues and all types of balance problems. With GTA V, online gets a few boosts, including an increased character creator, together with support for 30 simultaneous players (with two additional spectators), and the inclusion of most 11 of GTA Online’s existing updates. And yes, you can play in first-person too. They are nice additions, but Online still is suffering from too little direction. Although you may easily import your old character, I opted to produce a new one, and I was dumped onto a sidewalk in Los Santos armed only with a map packed with confusing icons and little idea in what I will do next.

Once you’re over the hump and you’ve determined the procedure of finding jobs to accomplish like stealing packages from characters, or getting involved in street races–and persons to accomplish them with via your trusty mobile phone–things get more interesting. Once you have built up the right pile of cash (which does take the time if you’re beginning with scratch), you can purchase a nice apartment in which to stay, and fancy cars to set up its garage. From what end, I’m still uncertain. Much has been said about how precisely GTA online is too open, and how sessions often become mass deathmatches, which is a lot more of a concern with 30 chaotic players around–but for me personally that’s been part of its draw. Trolling someone who’s taken themselves much too seriously in a street race by creating an epic roadblock, or just roaming the streets robbing convenience stores and performing a smooth getaway still manages to improve a smile.

These activities raise a smile here (even though played in first-person), yet provide a moral dilemma in single-player is really as much related to having less a narrative structure online since it is related to my very own personal feelings towards almost every other internet users. It increases a fascinating conundrum too: could it be easier to play in first-person and become moved by GTA V’s events in a far more profound way, or in the event you play in the third-person, distancing yourself from the game’s more controversial moments?

The actual fact that I’m even considering this at all in a gaming that’s as popular and as, well, mainstream as GTA V is a testament to its quality. Over a year later, GTA V remains probably the most regularly entertaining video gaming I’ve ever played. Even without the spectacular new visuals, first-person mode, the epic new rail gun, the brand new murder mystery missions for Michael, the brand new, even furrier animals, remote play support on PS4, a mountain of new songs on the air (including my own favourite, I’D LIKE It That Way by the Backstreet Boys on the pop station), and the return of vehicles just like the classic Dodo seaplane, GTA V will be be worth playing.

Apart from a few mild frame rate conditions that sometimes take the edge off its more dramatic moments, here is the definitive version of GTA V, and the bar where all the open-world games, or indeed any game that aims for a cinematic feel, ought to be judged. It really is beautiful, and thought-provoking, and thrilling throughout. Even if you have played through GTA V once already, it’s worth heading back merely to be reminded of what a superb achievement it is.