Grand Theft Auto V has been completely refined to bring remarkably fluid mechanics to gameplay. Whether you’re tearing through the streets of Los Santos behind the wheel of a Bravado Banshee or gunning down rival gang members in the hood, the controls and general mechanics are superbly defined.
The game’s UI is minimalistic this time around, featuring combination interface that lumps in your on-screen mini-map, health, armor and special skill meters. The upper right hand side shows how much cash you have, and the lower right-hand displays the current location as well as the model and manufacturer of a vehicle. Pressing Start brings up a six-pane menu plotted with various windows such as Map, Brief, Stats, Settings, Game and Online.
The Map window is perhaps the most useful as it shows the entirety of GTA V‘s virtual world, with various locations plotted via the legend. Unexplored areas will be cloudy, so you’ll have to visit them to fill in the map. Additionally players can set active waypoints to track a path to any location, which is essential since Los Santos is such a massive city with a dizzying number of roads.
Stats & Skills
Michael, Franklin and Trevor all have their own unique stats and Special Skills that define their personas as well as roles in combat and missions. The statistics include Special, Stamina, Shooting, Strength, Stealth, Flying, Driving and Lung Capacity–all of which determine a character’s proficiency in various activities.
The stats aren’t fixed and can be raised, and each character has their own specific requirements to raise certain stats; for example, raising Michael’s driving skill requires him to drive fast at high speeds, whereas to raise Trevor’s skill you’ll need to hold wheelies and land squarely after big jumps.
Improving stats have noticeable affects on certain things like flying helicopters and planes as well as how vehicles handle at high-speeds. All of the stats are inherently useful and can help get the higher scores on those tough jobs. The Special Abilities determine certain things like mission roles–you’ll want Franklin as the getaway driver due to his skill, whereas Trevor can be a bullet sponge/executioner.
Michael - Slows down time while aiming/shooting, perfect for multiple headshots when things get out of hand.
Franklin - Slows down time while behind the wheel of any vehicle, perfect for those tough races or split-second turns during high-speed chases.
Trevor - Psychotic rage brings Trevor to the point of near-invulnerability, enhancing the amount of damage he can take while delivering a rampage of destruction.
The skill bar is finite and drains rapidly, but you can always refill it by scoring headshots and earning kills. Sometimes the requirements to fill the special ability bar vary from character to character, as Trevor can refill his bar by taking damage whereas Michael’s bar refills steadily when you score headshots.