Grand Theft Auto has earned a reputation for both representing the best and worst in video games, its free form, open world environment offering gamers an excess of exaggerated action and violence to revel in and explore. However the fifth installment set in a barely disguised Los Angeles (Los Santos), is a truly massive virtual city populated with an array of intricate details, amusing conversations between characters, and an assortment of normal activities to keep you preoccupied...
1. Play a Set of Tennis
Accessible early in the game, tennis courts are scattered throughout the city, available to use; there's even one in the main characters house. Controls are basic but responsive, making it an easy break between hours of exploration. Every now and then I find myself coming back to the hardcourt for a quick set or two in between missions.
2. Play Some Golf
Right away I knew GTA V
was going to be huge when I heard about the 9 hole golf courses revealed in the trailer. It may not be the flashiest experience
, but the charm of driving from hole to hole in your own golf cart more than makes up for the basic gameplay.
3. Take a Flying Lessons
Los Santos is bigger than GTA IV and Red Dead Redemption combined
, so you might find it's just easier to commute by air. Flying a small plane (or helicopter) is very different from driving a car, so you might want to take a few lessons. At first it's incredibly frustrating, as the controls can make flying a harrowing experience. But once you get the hang of the controls, the experience proves to be a rewarding way to explore Los Santos from a new perspective.
4. Go Mountain Jumping
There's a sizeable amount of rural and urban territory to explore in GTA V, and one of the scenic areas to explore is Mount Chiliad (likely based upon the real world Mount Whitney), where you can jump from the peak, parachuting with full apparatus. However, in this virtual world there's absolutely no danger or consequence after jumping off the mountain side, so enjoy it, couch-based thrill seekers!
5. Take Photos
Each of the three playable characters are equipped with a different smartphone (each based upon iOS, Android, and Windows Phone models). All of them have the Snapmatic app which allows players to take photos of the detailed world in-game (how meta!), the inclusion of selfies a cheeky nudge to Instagram's popularity.
6. Learn Scuba Diving
GTA V is the first in the series to include diving underwater rather than just swimming along the surface. Players can rent some scuba gear and take a dip on the beaches to admire the clear water and hunt for hidden treasure. Just watch out for the sharks!
7. Compete in a Triathlon
Running, swimming, and traveling by bike are all activities available in the game; put all three to a test of endurance with an actual triathlon competition! Keep up the pace by tapping "X" or "A" and pit your physical skills against a group of virtual competitors with nary a real drop of sweat.
8. Relax With Some Yoga
Rockstar did a fantastic job replicating the laid back Californian lifestyle, complete with sunny beaches and serene outdoor activities like cycling, boating, running, and of course, yoga. I found following the timed prompts on screens and holding the shoulder buttons to breath in and out is actually quite challenging, stretching my hands in strange positions much like required by the exercise itself.
9. Walk Your Dog
Franklin's dog, Chop, plays prominently in GTA V's smartphone companion app as a Tamagotchi-type side game. Through vigorous training Chop will stop leaving messes in Franklin's backyard. In-game you can have Chop accompany you on walks where he can do his business and play fetch, and he can even come along for car rides.
With a good portion of the map taking place on water there are various methods of traversing over the waterscape. The jet-ski is the quickest and most efficient way to nimbly weave through buoys and other boats. Just make sure not to get trapped on land.
Additional activities available to enjoy in the city of Los Santos:
- Watch a Movie
- Customize Cars
- Clothes Shopping
- UFO Investigation
- Ride the Rollercoaster
- Ride the Cable Car
(Images: All characters, logos, artwork and properties are copyright of their Rockstar)