GTA V – just .. why?

I picked up GTA V a few days ago, it seems pretty good so far although not actually a huge step up from the last one, not sure what I’m missing after seeing the nearly straight 10/10 scores across reviews sites.  Actually, I am sure what I’m missing, and that’s a way to train my pet dog, Chop.

To do that you need to download a phone app – why?  Why couldn’t this be built into the game instead, for that very obvious portion of the millions of sales they’ll make, to people who may not have a phone they can use.  It’s game content, give it to me in the damn game.  It’s just so obnoxious I can’t even fathom the decision, unless it’s a cynical ‘harvesting customer details’ move.  By all means have the app in addition to a way of doing things in-game, but phone only?  No thanks.

Obviously as most will have assumed, the frame rate is pretty rough too, all over the place.  Media sites are claiming it achieves 30fps most of the time, which is completely untrue if you just go for a 60 second drive.  Or turn the camera.  Or look at a building.  Etc.  Additionally the difference between the 360 and PS3 is stark, both look nice but the 360 has an obvious edge in all the screenshots shown so far, despite people saying ‘they look the same’.  Maybe to the blind.  I was torn on which machine to buy it for, and picked the 360 after watching one of the comparison videos that Rockstar hadn’t yet pulled from Youtube at the time…

Don’t get me wrong, the game does look amazing but it seems like the media are falling over themselves to paint the game as perfection, it’s not.  I haven’t seen any mention of the floaty controls for example, or how the camera seems to get stuck inside objects briefly.   Once you’ve come to accept that, the game rewards with some great draw distances and stunning settings from time to time, sunset in the desert is particularly nice.

Other things I like are the characters and the varied landscapes of the map – there’s a little bit of a generic urban sprawl feel in the area you first start in, but as you travel around the wider game world thing certainly change for the better.  The script is good too, Trevor seems initially overblown but when you’ve stuck with him a bit more, the character becomes part of the whole instead of a sore thumb.  Almost came to like him in fact, but Michael is the show stealer though, a really good character.  The main story missions are solid, there’s a whole load of filler (find 50 envelopes – do people ever do this?), but some of the side quests really shine, the British tourists are definitely worth finding and following the side story for.

I still can’t train my dog though.  Rockstar – why would you do that?