GTA V: Putting Red Dead Redemption and Max Payne in the Spotlight
So we’ve all be playing Grand Theft Auto V, Rockstar’s latest triumph. Well I’m assuming you’re all playing it, the statistics speak for themselves, right? Many people have said that it reminds them of Rockstar’s glory days at the helm of GTA San Andreas, it’s certainly a big step up from GTA IV, that’s for sure. This can be expected though, as Rockstar has had plenty of time between those games to improve their formula. Red Dead Redemption and Max Payne 3 were probably the biggest releases between these titles, and as a result of this extra experience, the GTA V team were heavily influenced by these two games.
Red Dead Redemption was released in 2010 and turned the Rockstar open world city into open world countryside. Now obviously not everything translates directly from Red Dead into GTA V, for example, there are no horses in GTA V, but many things have been copied, or slightly altered in the transition. One of these things is the environment of Red Dead itself. Slightly north of Los Santos in GTA V is the San Andreas countryside. Filled with desert plains, vast mountains and small countryside settlements, the environment immediately brought me back to the southern American plains in Red Dead, with its own small settlements such as Armadillo. Within the Los Santos countryside are many birds, coyotes, deer and stag; inclusions of which also come from the world of the Wild West.
The final inspirations the Rockstar team seem to have derived from Red Dead are the character animations. The climbing, jumping, walking and running have all been vastly improved since IV, gone are the days where Niko Bellic would float in the air after a jump and have a running turning circle of a city bus. Thank god they got it right with John Marston as now we have smooth, life-like actions that really aid in the immersion within the game. You will notice that I have not mentioned the immensely successful open world multiplayer of Red Dead Redemption. As the GTA V multiplayer has not yet been released, I don’t know how much of the RDR world they will use, so I cannot really comment. From what I’ve seen in the multiplayer trailers however, GTA V seems to be following suit, providing players with a vast open world filled with activities and leave them to make their own fun. Seeing how popular the RDR multiplayer was, Rockstar would be silly to just ignore it.
Max Payne 3 was released in 2012 and featured the ruthless, wrecked and destitute hero Max Payne fighting his way through the parties and slums of Brazil. Gunplay is the key here, gunplay and slow motion. GTA IV’s gun mechanics were…all right. The reticule included health on an outer bar and would auto lock well. However, it would occasionally lock on enemies you couldn’t see or reach, the guns felt light and flimsy and the bigger guns didn’t seem to feature much (if any) recoil at all. This was all built upon in Max Payne 3. Max’s reticule was a singular dot; the auto-locking was generous, but not all seeing and the guns felt strong and well weighted. This is thankfully carried over into GTA V nicely; all 3 characters have access to an incredible variety of weapons and the weapon reticule is simple and refined, both on the normal setting and on complex. (Which I highly recommend for head shots at 150mph)
Each one of GTA V’s three characters has a special ability that’s complements their key skills. As soon as I activated Michael’s ability to slow down time during combat I was immediately thrown back to the Max Payne trademarked ‘bullet time’. This slow motion gameplay is featured heavily in GTA V and the screen lighting change is used in every character’s special ability.
Special mentions have to be given to L.A Noire, released by Rockstar in 2011, for revolutionising facial expression in every Rockstar game following from it. There is no doubting that Grand Theft Auto V is an unbelievable game, capable of defining this generation of gaming. However, that game would not be what it is without the help of several other incredible games, each with their own defining highlights that have been melded together to make GTA V so much better than it would have been.