Amazingly, despite what I said last time, I managed to get back to Grand Theft Auto V (GTAV) and complete the main story-line. I can’t say I was overwhelmed by the ending. However, given the way the story had been going, it wasn’t any worse than I was expecting. In fact, the best part for me was after the final credits and being thrown back into the sandbox world, a new ‘Strangers and Freaks’ mission appeared for Trevor at his home. We get to meet his mother and find out some of the source of his various issues.
I suspect that you won’t always get that mission at that point – it was just good timing. I guess it says something though, that the best part about the ending wasn’t actually part of the ending at all.
And I should warn against spoilers here. I’ll try not to spoil too much, but I really do need to put in some detail.
I’ve yet to go back and replay the final mission(s). You get to a point where there appear to be three ways to go. I chose the one that seemed the hardest. It may well be that you end up with the same mission structure regardless of choice. Or you may not. I chose the ‘Deathwish’ scenario.
In this one the ‘final mission’ is about five of them. You start with one, that then splits into three (one for each character), and then a final one. That was a long, long slog.
However, I did find that you had several ways you could approach at least one of the missions, so you could just go in guns blazing, or you could stealth at least part of it. I rather liked that.
But the ending I got … meh. All three characters survive, Trevor no longer seems to have the urge to kill Michael. Trevor looks like he’s just going to go back to what he was going. Michael is just going to go back to what he was doing. Only Franklin seems to have any hope of a slightly different future to the one he started the game with. Or perhaps the same future as before, but in a nicer house.
All of the problems have been eliminated, though it’s a rather simplistic view of ‘eliminated’ to my mind. To their credit Rockstar do try to tidy up loose ends a little with post finale emails, phone calls and messages.
I think one of my main problems with the ending is not only was it tame, especially after the madness of the rest of the ‘plot’, but the player lacked any real agency. Or perhaps, I should say the illusion of any real agency.
At the end of Grand Theft Auto IV (GTAIV), it felt like you were making a choice to kill the bad guy – even if, in reality, if you didn’t do that, then you’d fail the mission. Still, you could at least make a choice in how to kill him.
In GTAV the choice of how to kill the bad guy is made for you, and that choice felt like it left too many unanswered questions. My main unanswered question was: if we want to make the bad guy ‘disappear’, why the hell are we dumping his car just off the coast? We have access to crane type helicopters, submarines and more. Surely we could have used one of those to make sure he ‘disappeared’ forever?
At the end of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (GTA:SA) I felt elated at the ending. At the end of GTAIV I felt elation that it was over, and sadness at the loss that led to this point. At the end of GTAV I just felt ‘meh’.
GTAV gave a wild ride, and there were some truly fun missions. On the other hand, the main story felt a mess and too many things just didn’t connect. On the other paw, I put a lot of hours into this game, playing with the sandbox, doing side missions and just having fun.
So, on balance, I guess GTAV was worth it.
Now I think I’m hoping for some DLC like GTAIV got …