Believe it or don’t, but I’m actually ahead of my blogging schedule for once, with a few reviews already queued up and good to go. Finding myself with free time on my hands, I decided to go back to Grand Theft Auto V to finish up the last of the story. Unlike my run on the Xbox, this time I chose to spare Trevor because even if I still don’t like him, the idea of getting rid of Steve Haines and Devin Weston was more appealing after putting up with their crap a second time around.
I’ve actually been playing GTA V a lot on PC, though I’ve frequently restarted without getting very far beyond the second heist. This is because I’m not really playing the game like other folks. I don’t go in for crazy stunts or skillful getaways from higher level police pursuits. I watch folks do that on YouTube, and of course I find it impressive. But mostly, I play to chill out.
I might get in a car and cruise around the highway while listening to the radio. Other times, I like to play golf with Franklin and his golfing buddy, Castro Lagano, or play tennis with Michael against his wife Amanda, or against a random dude at the public courts. (Though I prefer playing random strangers because Amanda was working on her backhand almost as she was on her reverse cowgirl with her tennis instructor. She’s set me up with that cross court backhand so often, I’ve had actual nightmares about it.) Sometimes, I like to steal the faster cars and get on the highway late at night to get a mostly free length of road for a real test run. And sometimes I just go for a walk to take in whatever is happening around my character.
I don’t run mods, and I’ve never really been a fan of GTA Online. But I love Los Santos and all the possibilities that any visit can offer. Once I get tired of chilling out, there’s always someone whose pockets are a little too heavy and need lightening.
Obviously, hearing the details on GTA VI from the leak have me intrigued, but I tried to keep away from the larger pools of information because I’d like to go in mostly blind like I did with GTA V. I do know the plan is to make a Bonnie and Clyde couple, and that sounds good to me. I also know that there’s some features I’d like to see in the next game, and I’d like to share my thoughts with y’all. Don’t think of these as my list of demands, or even requests. I’m sure that even if nothing I want is in the game, it’s going to be an experience I’ll want to immerse myself in for a long time. So, let’s dig in, shall we?
Better companion AI
One of the main features of GTA V was swapping between Michael, Franklin, and Trevor during missions and heists. While it could be cool in some places, it often led to moments in firefights where I was doing alright clearing a wave of cops, (or gangsters, usually to save Lamar from his terrible schemes) only to have one or the other of my crew shouting that they needed help. So I would swap to them to find that the AI had run them into a circle of gunfire, then left me to mop up the mess.
If I’m meant to swap between the two characters in GTA VI, I want the AI to be better about sticking to cover and letting the waves come to them. This is assuming that like its predecessor, GTA VI will let me level up my character’s skills. So if I don’t put in the work and they’re inexperienced enough to run into an ambush, that would be on me for not putting in the effort to train them. But if all my character’s skills are maxed like they were with the GTA V trio, then I expect them to be slightly less stupid about firefights.
Better car/aircraft handling
While I love driving in Los Santos, it’s generally only in low traffic or low speed drives that the experience is truly relaxing. Any time I’m looking at a chase with multiple cops on my tail, trying to get away in cars that handle like a bar of soap on a hotel shower floor can seriously be a buzzkill.
It would be nice to see better handling, particularly on those super cars at the top of the line. Smaller cars should still handle well, of course, but they shouldn’t be so unbelievably fast. Each vehicle should feel more like their particular class, kind of like how it is in racing games. So yeah, a van will still be a nightmare to slalom, but a high end sports car should feel a lot smoother.
On a similar note, I’d love to be able to fly without having my aircraft swaying all over the place because the slightest push on the analog stick sends the craft halfway into a diving barrel roll. I especially hated having to pilot helicopters in GTA V because the slightest tap of the shoulder button to maneuver with the back rotor would cause the craft to pivot fifteen to twenty degrees instead of the four or five I wanted. Just try getting one to go forward at a slow speed without diving and having to constantly hold the right trigger to gain altitude.
The whole thing would be so much less stressful if I could push lightly on the stick and get a slow forward movement, like how so many games will let characters walk with the same nudge, graduating to jogging and then running depending on how far the stick travels. Give me more control so I can stop looking like a drunk stole a jet or chopper for a joyride.
This goes hand in had with my last request, as I’ve frequently been driving at what I thought was a legal-ish speed, and then I had to take note of how terrible the AI drivers are. They’ll make sudden lane changes, only to swerve back into the lane they came from. Drivers will pull around my car to rush into the intersection if I leave so much as half a car length between my car and the next. I used to wonder why the cops didn’t bother with me making illegal turns right in front of them, until I noticed the number of illegal turns made by the AI that led to vehicular manslaughter.
Even with the crappy handling and me going three times the speed of the other drivers, I can still dodge pedestrians with ease. So these supposedly law abiding drivers need better coding so they’re more capable of following basic traffic laws. I don’t expect them to use turns signals, since no one does in the real world, either. But it would be nice if they’d leave the vehicular manslaughter to the professionals.
More interactive locations
Before my PS4 started acting up, I got to play quite a bit of Judgement, and what I absolutely loved was being able to go into the fast food places and eat all the foods for XP. While I’m not asking for the same XP boost, I would love to be able to go into an Up n’ Atom, or get lunch from the traveling taco trucks. I want more clothing stores to check out, and even more convenience stores with more products I can carry. Let me go into a shop to pick up a beer and nurse it on my way to my next mission. I mean, I love the city of GTA V because it feels so alive. But the next city would feel even more alive if I could go into the shops and restaurants to further live out that fantasy of being a part of this world.
More (and better) movies
Okay, honestly there was more than enough TV shows to keep me entertained anytime I turned on a TV with any character. The same goes for radio stations, as I loved everything except for the talk radio channels. But I saw all the movies of GTA V, and while I get that they were supposed to be parodies, they weren’t very good.
I’m not asking for award winning material, but give me something at least on par with the cartoons on the TV, you know? Give me more reasons to visit the theaters in the city, and make it feel worth the ten minutes I’m sitting there instead of debating which film was the worst of the bunch. (It’s a hard call, because they all sucked really bad.)
Eighteen-hole golf course (Or two separate nine-hole courses)
I can’t tell you how much time I’ve put into trying to perfect Franklin’s golf game. I’ve got him up to a near perfect par run, but getting an Eagle eludes me because I always botch the putt on hole five, and holes eight and nine are a nightmare of sloppy swings and slow rolls into the rough.
I still love it, and while it’s a long shot that golf will be in the next game, a girl can dream, right? So if I’m dreaming, I want to go big. Either give me a full proper course, or give me two different courses with radically different layouts to really test my virtual golfing skills. (But do keep that one guy randomly yelling “Gah! I missed the fucking putt!” Because that line is comedy gold right after I just missed my putt a second before he did.)
This one is a sore spot for me, so I need to provide examples. I’m doing a mission to recover a film canister, and knowing I need to slip through traffic quickly, I decide to send Michael on a super-fast motorcycle. But I end up crashing while chasing Devin’s assistant and have to retry the mission. But then I reload to discover that the motorcycle isn’t where I parked it. So I reload from my save file to discover the bike isn’t even back at his garage.
Another example: I sent Franklin to steal a train as part of the final heist of the game. The next segment has Trevor flying a helicopter, and of course I crash it. (See my previous request on aircraft.) So the game reloads, only now it’s Michael at the train station. I get that there are a lot of variable ways a mission can be done, but I’d like if the game could at least remember what choices I made from one retry to the next.
For that matter, I’d like it if the game would remember what outfit I put on a character. I swear, I go to all the effort of getting Trevor into something from Binco that looks nice, and one character swap later, he’s right back in blood-covered sweatpants and a puke-covered T-shirt. (Or worse, just his stained underwear.) Just try to remember what I’m doing in the game, and stop making random swaps.
Oh, and when I steal a high-end sports car and park it in a safehouse garage, it’d be really swell if the game remembered that I parked it there the next time I load my game.
Fewer Mountain Lions
Dear God, please let there be less mountain lions. Seeing my guys get mauled to death is a traumatic experience I could do without, or at least see it a few less times. Please.
Well, that’s about it. Again, I’m okay if none of this stuff is addressed, (except the mountain lions, please) but even having a few additions would elevate the next GTA into the perfect time-sink for me, and I’m sure most other players would like to see these changes made as well.