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2013 is quickly coming to a close, which means it’s time for the video game industry to place awards upon the best games released over the course of past twelve months. Every gamer will have their own opinion about which video game should take the lauded “game of the year” award, which will surely cause some heated debates in everyone’s personal gaming circle. At least three titles could win GOTY in 2013, but one in particular is the true champion.

Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto 5 is a masterpiece, and this is coming from a gamer who hasn’t enjoyed a single GTA title since the franchise’s inception. Everything about the game oozed triple-A excellence, and there’s hardly anything to knock. I truly was blown away by its offerings, and have now become a believer in the GTA hype machine. Below you’ll find five great reasons for why GTA 5 has to be GOTY in 2013, because there really can’t be another champion ;)

 

5. Impressive Day One sales

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Within just 24 hours GTA 5 sold over 11 million copies and made $800 million dollars. Within three days the game went on to make over $1 billion dollars. In total, GTA 5’s release netted Rockstar 6 Guinness world records for sales, which is proof enough of this game’s popularity. COD: Ghosts went on to sell $1 billion worth of copies during its first few days as well, but it was available for more than just two platforms, so naturally more copies will sell at launch. GTA 5 managed to blow the video game sales charts out of the water on just the Xbox 360 and PS3, which highlights this game’s ability to hype up gamers into a frenzy and actually pay off with a great experience.

4. Massive scope

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GTA 5’s scope is out of this world. The single player campaign itself could last for over 50 hours if you choose to complete every side mission and challenge, plus there’s a multiplayer component. Driving around Los Santos also opens up your eyes to how large the physical game world is, and how much detail went into crafting each unique location’s landscape. Each section of the map felt like a different world, be it the mountains in the north, or the concrete jungle in the south. GTA 5’s world always felt fresh and alive thanks to the diverse locations.

There’s so much to do that you could spend an entire day playing this game and not actually achieve any of the campaign objectives. Just ask me, I spent close to 4 hours just trying to hijack a jetliner from the airport and had a blast doing it even though the feat didn’t achieve anything related to my campaign’s progress. GTA 5 is definitely the definition of a digital sandbox thanks to its massive scope.

3. Multiplayer

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The single player campaign featured in GTA 5 is no joke, but the multiplayer may be even more impressive. GTA 5’s multiplayer mode effectively recreated the entire Los Santos map for you to explore with friends, or other wannabe gangsters. It allows you to interact with characters from the main game en route to building up your own criminal mastermind. If you want to airlift a bunch of cars to the roof of a Los Santos skyscraper to have a demolition derby in the sky you can do that as well in GTA 5’s multiplayer mode. The possibilities are endless, which gives GTA 5’s multiplayer component unlimited potential for keeping gamers exploring Los Santos for many months to come. This gives GTA 5 a ton of replay value, further supporting the case for it to be game of the year.

2. Engaging story

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Rockstar took a different approach to GTA 5’s campaign by creating three main characters. This allowed GTA 5 to have a much more colorful cast of protagonists, which could be rotated at times to keep the story feeling fresh and unique. Watching how Franklin grew as a gangster thanks to the tutelage of Michael and Trevor was like watching a dysfunctional after school movie. GTA 5 told three individual tales that each had weight behind them to set up the individual characters to make you care about each one. Most games have trouble establishing one main character, so the fact that Rockstar was able to create three engaging leads is another reason why GTA 5 is so special. The story not only tells three different narratives, but it also managed to tie them altogether for an engrossing overall plot that pays off in the end. You can even have alternate endings depending on the choices you make in the game further bolstering GTA 5’s narrative power.

1. Colorful cast of characters

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GTA 5’s strongest case for game of the year in 2013 is without a doubt its colorful cast of brilliantly written and executed characters. The Big 3 are great, but the supporting cast may be even better. If anything, the Big 3 would have suffered if they didn’t have a solid supporting cast to flesh them out and give them character. Everyone from Lamar to Jimmy De Santa had at least one scene or moment in the campaign that stood out, and probably stuck with you for a few hours after you stopped playing. The dialogue that each cast member is given fits their personality perfectly, and the voice actors each provided noteworthy performances. At times it was more fun to just talk to the secondary cast or other NPCs just to get a feel for the world that they lived in. Each one had his/her own backstory, and each one was indeed a living part of the GTA 5 game world.

Many games don’t pay much attention to NPCs or secondary characters, but that’s clearly not the case in GTA 5. Rockstar painstakingly created a massive world full of living characters that each had a unique story to tell. This gave Los Santos a feeling of being alive, and reinforced the GTA open world motif. You didn’t need a mission to stay entertained, you could just watch a TV show, or talk to the De Santas to provide plenty of entertainment. When it comes to playing video games all we can truly ask is to be rewarded for our purchase with great gameplay and a memorable world, which GTA 5 has in spades thanks to its cast and the usual Rockstar polish.

 

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Matt Heywood

The author Matt Heywood

Matt Heywood is the founder and EIC of EntertainmentBuddha.com where he strives to make you a better geek, one post at a time! When he’s not scouring the Internet for interesting nuggets of awesomeness he can be found in his secret lair enjoying the latest and greatest video games, taking pictures of toys, or talking Star Wars on EB’s Star Wars Time podcast show.