One of the reasons behind the massive success of the GTA franchise is its creative game mechanics.
Game mechanics, by definition, are rules the player follows based on a game's response. If the player does a specific action, it should always happen based on the same sequence of inputs. For example, carjacking is a famous game mechanic present in all GTA titles. All the player has to do is approach a vehicle, and press a specific button (based on console) to be able to take the vehicle if it isn't locked.
Creative game mechanics are more than simple actions. Carjacking is an example of a creative game mechanic, as it isn't as dull as holding forward to walk. The action is simple, but the idea and execution are brilliant.
Of course, GTA has numerous creative game mechanics worth discussing, as it's a brilliant series full of terrific gameplay.
5 creative game mechanics present in GTA
#5 - Mission Markers
Most games tend to have the player go from point A to point B. However, that isn't the case with GTA.
Mission Markers are game mechanics that require the player to enter them in order to start a mission. However, if players do not enter the Mission Markers, they can do anything else in the meantime. As a result, the player can do some missions before others thanks to this game mechanic (multiple missions may also spawn at once, giving the player some freedom in the order).
The nonlinearity of the GTA series is often the focal point of its brilliant game design. Having said that, the game still follows a semi-linear storyline, and some missions have to be done in a specific order.
#4 - Drive-By Shooting
Sometimes, ramming one's vehicle into another isn't good enough to deal significant damage.
Fortunately, the GTA series introduced a game mechanic in GTA: London 1961 called Drive-By Shooting to give the player a different way of harming other NPCs and vehicles. Given the nature of a Drive-By Shooting, it's an appropriate game mechanic for a life of crime.
Typically, players can only do a Drive-By Shooting with weapons from the SMG subclass. Some games, like GTA IV, subvert this by allowing the player to throw grenade subclass weapons as well. Without Drive-By Shooting, the player would have to resort to them mindlessly ramming their vehicle onto an NPC.
#3 - Carjacking
GTA would be a completely different game if the player had to walk around everywhere and take public transport.
Carjacking is a staple of the GTA series and has been around since the very beginning. In fact, Grand Theft Auto also means a crime where somebody steals a vehicle from another person.
When it comes to carjacking in GTA, the player can steal any vehicle they want. Any vehicle from a luxury sports car to a beat-up pile of junk could be stolen, each with its own benefits and disadvantages for the player. Predictably, this game mechanic is essential for some missions.
#2 - Wanted Levels
Some players might hate Wanted Levels for limiting their chaotic rampages, but that's the entire point of having the system in the first place.
Wanted Levels bring some immersion into the GTA series, as a life of crime often needs law and order to play off of. This is especially valuable in some missions where the player's Wanted Level adds some difficulty to an otherwise simple task.
Limitations aren't always a bad thing; they can help inspire creativity for the player to work around. If a player could just kill anyone without consequences, then nothing would stop their rampage. Wanted Levels provide a challenge for players to try to overcome (plus, the vehicles are nice).
#1 - Minimap radar
The minimap radar is a game mechanic that has helped streamline GTA for casual players. The radar is constantly updated based on the player's movements and actions, making it highly useful for navigation.
If the player rotates 180 degrees, then the minimap also rotates 180 degrees. The one constant that helps players the most is the "N" on the minimap (which stands for North), as it can guide a player to a specific destination.
The minimap radar is an excellent game mechanic designed to help players who want to do missions. It's not just missions that are displayed on it either. Other points of interest such as Safehouses and Ammu-Nations are also displayed to the player.
Note: This list is subjective and reflects only the writer's opinions.