Rockstar's critically acclaimed series debuts on Xbox One with upgraded graphics, wildlife, and a first-person perspective in Grand Theft Auto V.
Players take on the roles of Michael, a retired bank robber dealing with his dysfunctional family; Franklin, a repo man trying to avoid the pitfalls of inner-city life; and Trevor, a psychopathic, drug-addled hillbilly who lives alone in the desert.
The main storyline finds all three characters working together to perform a series of increasingly risky heists around Los Santos, Rockstar's satirical take on Los Angeles.
Gamers draw up a robbery plan themselves, deciding which personnel to include and choosing whether to go in with guns blazing or take a more stealth approach.
Players can freely switch between the main protagonists during heists in order to provide backup, drive a getaway vehicle, or just witness the events from a different perspective, and when not on a mission, gamers can drop in and take control of any of the characters as they go about their daily lives.
As characters drive, shoot, and explore Los Santos they gain experience points in a variety of different skills, and each of the three characters has a special ability that can be activated when the action gets heavy.
While ostensibly the same city players explored in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, the Los Santos in Grand Theft Auto V does away with the former game's facsimiles of San Francisco and Las Vegas and instead offers a much larger world designed to reflect the extreme sprawl of Los Angeles as well as the vast and varied landscapes of California's interior.
And that huge game world offers no shortage of extracurricular activities, from criminal behavior like stealing cars and collecting bounties, to business pursuits involving in-game real estate and stock markets, to a wide array of recreational pursuits like hunting in wilderness zones, scuba diving, base jumping, competing in triathlons, playing tennis, and even taking on a full golf course.
The developers at Rockstar North placed a great deal of emphasis on improving all aspects of gameplay in Grand Theft Auto V, particularly with regard to combat and driving.
They have streamlined weapon management and targeting to make gun battles more fluid and enjoyable, while vehicle physics have been refined to make driving sequences feel more like a racing game.
And multiplayer action returns with Grand Theft Auto Online, in which gamers can join Crews of friends to take on a variety of modes and missions.