GTA 5's single-player campaign still holds up very well today.
It's easy to forget that the base game of GTA 5 is a masterpiece when GTA Online gets all of the attention from Rockstar Games. Any gamer can spend hundreds of hours in GTA 5 and still discover new things. The amount of attention toward detail is god-like for a 2013 game, with only a few modern AAA games coming close to GTA 5's brilliance in this regard.
For some players, it might be the single best single-player experience any GTA game could offer. While the storyline might not be as strong as other GTA titles, the gameplay is fluid and there are loads of activities to participate in within GTA 5.
How does GTA 5’s campaign hold up in 2021?
GTA 5's single-player campaign is a timeless classic that players can always go back to. For some players, a game like GTA Vice City is a blast to play in 2021. All 3D GTA games have their fans and detractors, but even the latter group would be hardpressed to say that GTA 5 doesn't have its redeeming qualities as far as gameplay goes.
Objectively, there are more activities to partake in within GTA 5 than in most other GTA games. While some features are missing from prior GTA titles, the amount of activities and new features easily make up for it. As far as main content goes, GTA 5 has no equal within the GTA series.
The uniqueness of every protagonist
Having three protagonists being playable is more than just a marketing ploy. Franklin, Michael, and Trevor all have different aspects about them that make some players prefer playing one over the other. At the start, each character has varying stats in Strength, Stamina, etc.
While players can max out all of these stats for every protagonist, that doesn't take away from their individual uniqueness at the start of the game. Even once all of these stats are maxed out, each character still has their own unique special ability and activities that only they can use.
For example, Trevor can take random characters to the Altruist Cult to get easy money. Alternatively, he can participate in bounty hunting, an activity that the other two protagonists cannot do. Likewise, there are some activities that Trevor cannot do that the other two can do.
Even the friends the characters can hang out with vary based on which protagonist the player is playing as. Even minor differences, like Trevor not allowing Jimmy to drink but Franklin not caring if he does drink, can demonstrate the differences between the three protagonists.
GTA 5 isn't like some other open-world games where the player only does the main storyline missions and that's it. In GTA 5, players can participate in a number of activities to their pleasure. While some of them are character-specific, some of these features are available to all protagonists.
There are dozens of random activities that a player can do in GTA 5, with some of them having multiple ways to complete it. Likewise, there are various collectibles for players to collect, particularly if they're a fan of the old collectibles found in the earlier GTA titles.
If a player really wants to, they can even replay the old missions to their heart's content. They can aim for all gold medals, or they can just play casually; the choice is theirs. GTA 5 appeals to a lot of different playstyles, which makes it understandable that the game has overwhelmingly positive reviews from critics and fans alike.
One of the main draws from GTA 5's storyline is the inclusion of heists. Compared to the heists of previous GTA titles, GTA 5's version is the best in the series. Unlike the other GTA games, GTA 5 focuses heavily on heists as one of the main motifs of the game.
As a result of GTA 5's focus, the heists in this game come across as some of the cleanest and most innovative found in the series. There are several heists for players who love them to partake in.
Players can pick their crew and their approach to the heist, making some players' initial runs different than their later ones. It might not be as robust as GTA Online's heists, but that game constantly gets updates and GTA 5's base game doesn't.
As a breather for GTA Online
If players are bored of GTA Online for one reason or another, then playing GTA 5's single-player campaign is an excellent decision. It shares a lot of GTA Online's core gameplay, except for the frustration of having to deal with other players all the time.