WEB MASTER TUCKER HOTTES is singing Tom Petty songs


The waiting is, indeed, the hardest part. If you’re a fan of video games in even a remote sense, you’re likely already holding a copy of one of the most anticipated releases of the year, if not longer: Grand Theft Auto V. Even more so than other genres, the GTA series and its open-world gameplay has continued to build hype with every new release. This week, PS3 and Xbox 360 gamers alike are getting their hands on the latest — and last — GTA experience of this console generation.
I pen this week’s wistful column while pining for an as-of-presstime-unreleased copy. Unfortunately, I don’t carry the sort of clout to get review copies, and let’s be honest — you’re buying this game regardless of some punk’s hurriedly written review. Still, I find myself running to other punks’ hurriedly written reviews just to kill time before I can get my greedy hands on the release.
We’re told, by both the publisher Rockstar and those who’ve had a chance to play through the game, that this is the biggest Grand Theft Auto game to date — encompassing as much virtual landmass as Rockstar’s last few open-world successes combined (those would be the excellent ‘GTA in the old-west’ Red Dead Redemption, GTA IV, and last generation’s GTA: San Andreas). The fictionalized Los Angeles and greater-LA area of the game boast everything from giant mountains to scuba-dive-able coastal reefs. There are already massive databases of secret areas and fun things to discover being assembled online — and yet my controller sits, cold, by the silent Xbox.
Earlier in the week, someone leaked an image of the in-game map to the Internet, which immediately set off a firestorm of commentary and the usual nerd-rage about the size being over-hyped, etc. Later, the first honest-to-god reviews started trickling out, and someone posted a video of them driving at top speed in a sports car across the map. It took a real-world six minutes. As far as I’m concerned, that’s impressive without adding in helicopters, fighter planes, parachutes, and blimps to experience all that distance in other ways. But, still, minor vicarious thrills through lucky big-game-site reviewers are but a minor substitute for actually experiencing the thrills of causing mayhem in a little online world.
One of the main new additions to the GTA format, which is already receiving high praise for the additions to storytelling and gameplay options, is the split narrative between three main characters instead of the traditional single protagonist. Word on the street has it this allows for a much more multidimensional story and game experience, and even lets you replay missions from another perspective to see how different characters react to the various in-game personas players can don. If only I could see what that’s like.
And so here I am, like a little kid waiting anxiously on Christmas Eve, and then raggedly deteriorating into an even more incoherent mess as the time draws nearer. I listen for the distant rumble of the delivery truck, ready to run straight into the middle of the road and grab the box from the startled carrier. I’ve turned my console on and off a half dozen times just to make sure there are no pesky OS updates waiting to interrupt me once I do get my copy. And by the time you read this, you might want to send someone over to my house to make sure there’s not a bloated, festering corpse sitting in front of the TV from not moving, eating, or sleeping once the game does show up.

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