Yes, yes. I know. Grand Theft Auto V was techincally released in 2013. How can it possibly be a legitimate pick for our 2014 Console Game of the Year?
Simple: The current-gen port released this past November is just that damn good.
Grand Theft Auto V is the best game I’ve played all year. Every second was saturated with pure joy, and even the slower moments show the pacing and polish you only get when a dev team takes the time to create a game that’s as close as they can get to perfection.
The voice acting is second to none. The controls, while overwhelming at first, soon become second nature. This package boasts something for everyone, including heists, hookers, cars, scavenger hunts, sky diving, jet skis, random acts of violence, and entrepreneurship. If you can do it in the real world, you can probably do it in GTA V – without the bane of ugly consequences.
I feel very comfortable naming Grand Theft Auto V our 2014 Console Game of the Year. It’s everything “Triple-A” games should strive to be. Few books and movies have stories or characters this chiseled, and GTA V‘s memorable cast is one I won’t soon forget. As a side note, Trevor Phillips is the first character in a video game to ever make me feel legitimately uncomfortable, but his madness and skewed moral code are paramount to his charm.
Most importantly, Grand Theft Auto V left me in control. Aside from the occasional cutscene, the game would never yank the controller from my hands when I should be playing (as too many games are apt to do).
That said, the graphics are stunning for a console game of this scale, with deep draw distances and luscious landscapes. The first-person mode is as intense as you’d expect, and as a whole, there’s a laundry list of things to see and do in Los Santos, making Grand Theft Auto V nothing short of a completionist’s dream.
Oh, and let’s not forget the expanded soundtrack, which is as eclectic as they come (I never thought I’d hear Aphex Twin’s “Windowlicker” in a video game).
TL;DR – Colossal. Satisfying. Complete. Games don’t come much better than Grand Theft Auto V.