Unpitchable

Sometimes Samantha writes things that don't fit anywhere else. This is where they live. For more of her work, go to samanthaleighallen.com.

Grand Theft Auto V Review

At a total cost of two hundred and sixty-five million dollars, Grand Theft Auto V is the most expensive downhill dirt bike riding simulator ever made. Fortunately, Rockstar Games has made every penny count; careening across the slopes of the fictional Mount Chiliad is one of the most thrilling gaming experiences I’ve had this generation.

The primary goal of the game is to reach the summit of Mount Chiliad, hijack a dirt bike and skid down the side of the mountain. This cycle can and should be repeated several times. You can either hike to the top of the mountain or save yourself the exertion with a ten-dollar cable car ride.

Riding down the mountain typically results in death, it’s true, but resurrection at a nearby urgent care center costs a mere five thousand dollars. That’s just five hundred cable car tickets! With such a frivolous penalty, death is half the fun. You should hurtle your rider down the mountain with abandon, expecting only the poetry of a limp body somersaulting into the California night.

You can ride down Mount Chiliad as any of three men. Two of them are white, one of them is black, and all three make slightly different sounds when they die. One of the men (Michael) wears a designer suit, an especially comical wardrobe for dirt bike riding. I recommend that you play as Michael for this reason.

Whomever you choose, I should warn you that you might accidentally get into trouble with the law on your way from the urgent care center to the cable car station but Rockstar provides the player with a variety of lethal weapons in order to weather this eventuality. The shooting of police officers is a surprisingly polished game system considering how small of a role it plays in the core gameplay loop of ascending and descending Mount Chiliad. Rockstar Games has clearly spared no expense.

Rockstar’s costly and fastidious attention to detail pervades every square inch of Grand Theft Auto V’s game world. Mount Chiliad is circumscribed by an elaborate facsimile of Los Angeles complete with Hollywood sign and Santa Monica Pier. But because Mount Chiliad is the only substantial peak in the whole city, there is no reason to venture into the city proper.

Los Angeles, then, is but a garnish for the main course of dirt, rubber and sky. But when your dirt bike bounces off of boulders into the horizon, it’s pleasing to catch an immersive glimpse of your surroundings. Rockstar didn’t have to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on a downhill dirt bike riding simulator but, at moments like that, you’ll be so glad they did.

9.0 / 10