Review Check-In

Anthony John Agnello answers your questions about Grand Theft Auto V

By John Teti • September 20, 2013

Earlier this week, we asked you to pose some questions about Grand Theft Auto V to Gameological critic Anthony John Agnello. Anthony’s review will be up this coming Monday, but in the meantime, he took a few minutes to answer your queries regarding heist missions, tennis, and more. Now we invite you to gaze upon him—and upon myself, I suppose, in miniature form—as he shares details from the front lines of the Los Santos crime world.

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66 Responses to “Anthony John Agnello answers your questions about Grand Theft Auto V

  1. Chum Joely says:

    OK, so the tennis is great… BUT CAN YOU PLAY AGAINST YOURSELF by switching bodies back and forth? C’mon, people, I just finished another body-switching game (Driver SF) and I need to know about my other body-switching gaming options!!!

    • SamPlays says:

      The GTA approach is far more pedestrian: you can play against a wall.

    • SamECircle says:

      Just commenting to say how happy I am my comment got 1. read out loud and 2. got a laugh! 

      Oh, AND 3. my username got pronounced correctly and 4. John Teti said I did a good job!

  2. Andy Tuttle says:

    Anthony, I’d love to hear your opinion of Michael’s “skydiving in his underwear” trip. I had such a crazy emotional connection to that mission, it was crazy. I can’t say that a GTA game has ever brought me close to tears before, but for whatever strange reason this part of the game did. Very surreal.

    • Kyle O'Reilly says:

       For me it was the mix of perfect music, perfect visual effects and the perfect amount of “Holy shit, Rockstar actually did this!  This is so crazy! Wow! I mean, this is so… sniff… sad actually…”

      • Andy Tuttle says:

        Oh for sure, everything about it was perfectly done. I’m not done with the game yet, but that mission was the high point so far, and you don’t even really do anything.

        • Simon Jones says:

           Yeah, I think for all that people shit on Rockstars would-be film maker sensibilities, they are capable of occasional moments on brilliance, like this or that first trip across the border in Red Dead Redemption.

    • Simon Jones says:

      I was felt the same about it was actually wondering if I was having an inappropriate reaction to that .

      “Am I meant to find this a bit sad or am I just being weird? Okay. Back to murdering.”

    • TaumpyTearrs says:

      Glad to hear this is the “trip” everyone was referring to, I thought people were talking about the “?” mission where the pro-weed guy gives you a joint and you start hallucinatings aliens. That wasn’t fun, amusing, or clever, so I was wondering why I kept hearing talk of the “crazy trip”. Looking forward to this now.

      Also, has anyone at Rockstar smoked weed? I know entertainment likes to go crazy with hyperbole when it comes to weed, but the super-intense short, hallucinatory trips Michael has when he smokes that joint or hits his son’s bong would be accurate for Salvia, but not weed.

  3. Smilner says:

    I want to know more about the hot dog stand.  Looks like I have a mission tonight.

    • Smilner says:

       While I’m here, a non-spoiler-y question:  if I run a mission for a friend/acquaintance, and I complete the mission, and the friend gets out of the car and dies in a hail of gunfire that WAS NOT MY FAULT, are they dead for good?  Will the future missions still pop up for them?

    • Chum Joely says:

      Thumbs up to John for interrupting Anthony’s story– save some of the fun for the rest of us! (Note: I personally have no intention of ever playing any GTA game.)

      • There’s nothing to ruin in that moment, I swear! They were just two totally random NPCs hanging out, not even the kind that offer an impromptu task (stop a mugging, retrieve a car, etc.) When I reloaded a save they weren’t even there anymore.

        Smilner, not sure about losing a Contact during a side mission. Hasn’t happened to me yet. Unlike some people, I protect my friends from gunfire… YOU MONSTER.

  4. ShrikeTheAvatar says:

    Hey, my question got answered!

    I’ve made the decision to hold out, though.  I’m not buying this on current generation consoles – I’ll either buy it on PC if that actually happens, or I’ll buy it for whatever next-gen console I decide on (since that is obviously inevitable).

    Some of the framerate stuff I’ve heard is a little disconcerting.  I’d rather play it on a next-gen console and have it run more smoothly.

    • I had some framerate concerns before buying in, but based on the videos/Digital Foundry comparisons I’ve seen it’s a decent 25-30 frames.  The uglier stuff seems to be in texture pop-in, with the disk-based versions better than the downloads/installs.

      In any event I don’t dare touch this until I clear Saints Row 4 off my plate.  Soon, soon.

  5. Unexpected Dave says:

    To be honest, I’m a little disappointed that everything in GTA V “works.” Half the fun in previous GTA games is finding creative ways to break through the game when the “right way” seems impossible.

    • SamPlays says:

      In my experience with GTA, it’s less about “breaking through” and more about “forcible entry”. At times, playing GTA has felt like slapping around those CRT TVs from yesteryear when getting physical with technology was a legitimate form of troubleshooting.

    • mizerock says:

      One of my friends is bummed that he hasn’t been able to steal a tank yet. Shouldn’t that be something you pull off only with a fully coordinated attack, after weeks of accumulating weapons? Was it really just a matter of “stand in a spot half inside the wall where they can’t see you and then jump in the tank” in previous games? I prefer big tasks to actually be a tacticaly challenge, one that doesn’t involve exploiting glitches.

      Until I get stuck in the game, weeks for now, then yes please let me luck into a few items.

      • Unexpected Dave says:

        I’m not sure about other games, but there were two ways to get a tank in Vice City:

        1) As a reward for finding 80 hidden packages

        2) Steal it during one particular mission

        It wasn’t something that was just lying around from the beginning.

        • mizerock says:

          Yeah, I think the guy is just impatient, though it’s possible he’s already played through half the game already. What’s wrong with savoring the experience?

      • HobbesMkii says:

        Part of the army base has a fairly easily thwarted gate (in the Northwest) you can just breeze through from the start of the game. There’s a video over at Kotaku (they make it look easier than it is):

      • JamesJournal says:

        So pretty deep into this game now, and high end military stuff is a bitch to steal because it only exists on military bases off in the wilds. One mission I did recently required me to steal a military helicopter and that was not easy. 

        I’m sure there is a code that lets you swan one, if you just want to create chaos

  6. Enkidum says:

    Oh man I’m avoiding buying this for the time being because of my ridiculous backlog and my new job… but some point in the next couple of years I’m going to have two weeks or so to sit on my ass and just sink into this like a warm pool of life-sucking evil.

  7. SamPlays says:

    A bit disappointed to hear about the soundtrack woes because the radio plays a pretty important role in my enjoyment of the time spent between missions. I guess this means the game won’t be getting the hallmark Gameological 10/10 rating. As per the consumer strategy outlined by @Enkidum:disqus , I’ll live vicariously through my online peers (and subordinates) until I buy the game roughly 12-16 months from now. 

    • There’s a ton of great music still, just not a really rich selection. There’s a sweet Motown station that great, the funk station is great, and the old Hip Hop station is great. There’s just nothing as out there and diverse as the Eastern European pop or jazz stations from GTA IV.

      • SamPlays says:

        That works for me. Those sound like the stations that would best satisfy my default preferences in music.

      • mizerock says:

        Yeah, so far I’ve found the stations “fine”, with at least a few “oh, hell yes, I’m thrilled that they put this song in” moments. But the earlier games really spoiled us.

        I’m not laughing as much at the talk radio / commercials either. Have I become a joyless prude?

        • Simon Jones says:

          I think the issue with music is that they’ve gone for a ‘cooler’ selection of stuff, so the game does have a great soundtrack, but they don’t have many Amos Moses’s or similar.

          As I said, I like the soundtrack a lot but there’s just not enough Wacky Music To Run Dudes Over By.

      • Simon Jones says:

        There’s a Mexican station, complete with Narco Corrida’s.

        Also, here’s something really cool:

        The station selection actually changes depending on what part of the map you’re in.  Head into the country and a couple of the stations, both music and talkback, get replaced.

    • JamesJournal says:

      For me the soundtrack only REALLY mattered in San Andreas/Vice City because the music had to set you in a specific time period.

      In a game set in 2013 LA though, I adjusted to not paying attention to the radio on missions and letting the OST heist music take over, which is highly appropriate for this game’s scenarios anyway

      • M North says:

        I thought Radio Broker in GTA IV sardonically captured the zeitgeist of the mid-2000’s New York hipster scene pretty well in all its ironic glory.

        • JamesJournal says:

          There is still a difference between capturing the present and capturing the past.

          Playing GTA4 in 2008, you don’t exactly go “Kanye West! Yeah this is just like two weeks ago!”

          Maybe the games will feel like time capsules 15-20 years from now, but that just isn’t but they are designed to be the way Vice City and San Andreas are.

          Well *minor spoilers* the missions where you take down Mark Zuckerberg and Ryan Seacrest stand ins will feel really nostalgic and retro down the line. Like playing a game with a Jerry Springer parody

  8. patagonianhorsesnake says:

    the siren song of tennis is almost, almost enough to make me want to think about wanting this game. i don’t know why i love video game tennis so much. it’s a sickness.

    • Chum Joely says:

      Every play Snoopy Tennis back in the 80s?

      • patagonianhorsesnake says:

         i’d never even heard of such a thing. every match ends with snoopy throwing down his racket and making growly fake curse noises, right? like in that one special where snoopy was at wimbledon for some reason?

    • mizerock says:

      I only won 6 points in my first match. I’m hoping it’s because Michael is out of shape, but maybe my rudimentary video tennis skills are just that bad. My 2 rounds of golf as Franklin both ended under par, I was pleased.

      1p tennis is absolutely not worth buying the game for.

      • JamesJournal says:

        I was in a dead heat with Michael’s wife Wednesday, but ultimately lost, I have not gotten to gold yet. But I did do a side mission where a random dude invited me to play

  9. Citric says:

    I find it’s easiest to go Russian when I’m trying to go French. 

    I don’t know why.

  10. Fyodor Douchetoevsky says:


    *Dies on return trip to home planet*

  11. OphoLafto says:

    Its so confusing to see the guys on this site salute SR4 with open arms but try to chastise the GTA franchise as if its like, wrong to want depth to a world/gameplay and not just dubstep gun gimmicks. GTA 5 is so compelling in the amount of things to do in its world. It really feels like its for you and not a bunch of inauthentic little marketing ploys to keep a franchise from dying.

    • OphoLafto says:

      Oh, and FlyLo FM is fucking awesome.

    • Simon Jones says:

       Speaking as someone who doesn’t particuarly like SR3 or SR4, I don’t think anyone is really doing that as such. It’s not really a war between the two franchises.

    • Weirdly, I’m not much of an open world game fan at all. I’m usually dissatisfied with them because it’s impossible to build narrative momentum in them. Nothing ever feels urgent, but then nothing ever feels like it’s really changing either. There are exceptions, but tend to avoid the genre. That’s why I’ve never played any of the Saint’s Row games actually. Aren’t they pretty linear ultimately? Should I play them?

      • Simon Jones says:

        They’re Grand Theft Auto only they lean heavier on the wacky and have a customisable main character. As the series goes on they get internetier and wackier. In the 4th one you get superpowers.

        One is kind of a terrible GTA clone released to take advantage of there being no 3rd gen GTA as yet. Two is brilliant. 

        I am less fond of the series as it goes along because it starts to lean heavier on the wackiness and grind a joke into the ground and kinda have less stuff to do and less of a sense of there being a world.

        None the less, you could do worse than trying them out.

        Some people like them a lot and will probably be along shortly.

      • OphoLafto says:

        Would you rather an open world game that doesn’t have a narrative core? This could be done with a charming or interesting enough character who simply acts out little errands in an open world environment. Maybe change the dynamic and have the open world change as the main character doesn’t. That is a pretty cool critique on the modern state of games in this genre.

      • huge_jacked_man says:

        I couldn’t get into SR3 because I really don’t like the setting and wackiness. For me to have fun in an open world game it needs to be somewhat grounded in reality. For example in GTA V I used a jerry can of gas to blow up a petrol station, hid through people’s backyards and swimming pools as cops jumped fences looking for me, and ultimately a police helicopter was sent out so I drove to a  train tunnel to lose it only to be crushed to death by an oncoming train.  To me that’s a lot more engaging and fun than beating up pedestrians with a giant purple dildo and piloting spaceships like in Saint’s Row. 

        • JamesJournal says:

          I’m with you there. I wackyness of SR 1-3 was just off putting. And SR 1 was this giant revelation in that I didn’t really feel like I’d appreciated how well written the humor was on GTA until I’d seen a similar games completely botch trying to do the exact same thing.

          But once SR4 introduces aliens, virtual reality and superpowers it FINALLY became ridiculous enough to qualify as a viable alternative to GTA.

          SR4 can let me be a super powered psycho with a dildo sword. But GTA5 can give me those edge of your seat heist missions that are far more grounded. 

      • JamesJournal says:

        I don’t blame people for having this attitude, but its like … I can kill things in a line or in a circle. It’s all the same.

        I don’t really need EVERYTHING IS COMING APART urgency in to enjoy a story driven game.

        In GTA4 I just lived as a criminal in the world. The same with Skyrim etc

    • Roswulf says:

       *Gazes at the storm clouds on the horizon*

      It has begun.

      • Simon Jones says:

        Ehn. Not really.

        Ophlofto does make a valid point about the fairly calculated nature of the latter episodes of the Saints Row series and the lack of critical examination of this, despite his combative tone.

        • Roswulf says:

          A Q&A (not even a review) that praises GTA V for the depth of its worldbuilding and the workability and fun of all its disparate elements is criticized for “chastis[ing] the GTA franchise”.

          That’s an it. A definite it.

        • Simon Jones says:

           If you think that’s an It, you, sir, have never seen an It.

        • OphoLafto says:

          I’m sorry. I didn’t want to be combative. I was also making note on some of the comments I’ve seen in the past on the site rather than the comments made in the video. Chill out with the ‘oh no fanboys have rallied’ panic @roslwulf.

    • Andy Tuttle says:

      Did they say that about GTA V? From what I could tell Anthony really enjoyed it. If anything maybe they seem more critical or perhaps wary because GTA is held to such a high standard.

    • Citric says:

      As someone who spends probably too much time bitching about GTAIV, I only chastise it for having serious gameplay problems that make it a chore. 

      GTAV might be a lot better about this. I hope it is! If it fixes what I don’t like about its predecessor maybe I’ll give Rockstar my money and play it a bunch.

    • KidvanDanzig says:

      The great thing about SR is that it doesn’t take itself seriously and thus doesn’t suffer from the jackoff tonal issues of GTAs IV/V. It’s also a more fun game franchise to play.

  12. huge_jacked_man says:

    This game fixes a lot of issues I had with boring old GTA IV.

    Better car handling (and a much higher ratio of good cars compared to IV), many incentives to drive properly (the driving skill levels up if you drive without hitting other cars or getting into accidents, story missions often have safe driving achievements, plus the fact that you actually own a car and spend money on it to make it look good tends to make you more careful), the option to  play through most of the game without stealing cars (again each character owns one that spawns nearby, some are provided for missions and you can even buy cars on your in-game phone), improved shooting and cover, the road system there is actually fun to drive in and they finally revamped the boring old police chase system that was still unchanged from GTA III and implemented vision cones for individual police units that allow you to hide from pursuers as they exit their cars and jump fences to search the area. 

    I’ve been trying things out, exploring, getting into trouble and otherwise fucking around in this game world for about 15 hours (I’ve barely touched the missions) and so many things happened that made me want to tell my friends about them – an “open world” excitement I thought long gone, and for Rockstar to bring it back is to me a tremendous achievement.

  13. DarkVegas57 says:

    Here’s the thing: I was expecting an awful lot with GTA V, and somehow it still managed to amaze me. The sense of scale, this massive but populated world… It’s more alive than ever. Entirely unexpected. It’s crazy. I’ve been playing for 7 days now and I’ve barely scratched the surface. Every other open world -past GTAs included- pale in comparison. Only the storytelling is a step down from V, since there’s never a feeling of tension or escalation. But it never hurts the game. Just wait till you just jump on a train and jump in a beautiful river to escape the cops.

    • JamesJournal says:

      GTA5 does lose something by giving you everything at once.

      In GTASA being tossed into the country after all that time in Los Santos and suddenly the new situation felt monumental. Going from a street thug to having your own penthouse high rise felt like a massive thing

      In GTA5 you flip from Franklin to Michael to Trevor constantly so the game feels fresh all the time, but the end feels just like the start

  14. leeroy says:

    I had 60 million dollars today got in to play now 84,000 I do not know what happen