CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- It was supposed to be a simple job. Walk into the convenience store, flash a gun to the clerk and clean out the cash register. What could possibly go wrong?
After a 15-minute chase that included two downed helicopters, multiple totaled police cruisers, a body count that rivaled any 1980s action film and an appearance by what may or may not have been the national guard, it turns out the answer to that question is "Quite a bit."
My short-lived crime spree behind me, I left the nearest medical facility with my health replenished and my wallet significantly lighter. Determined to leave my evil ways in the past and see what else the world had to offer, I headed north to the mountains. Perhaps a hike up Mount Chiliad, the tallest point in Blaine County, could help clear my mind and give me some peace. I passed fellow hikers ascending the peak. A few guys on mountain bikes kicked up dust farther ahead on the trail. The scene was tranquil, a far cry from the hustle and bustle of the Los Santos streets I could see in the distance. I stopped, pulled out my cell phone and snapped a selfie to capture the moment. Not pictured was the mountain lion that would soon ruin my perfect day.
Another trip to the hospital put another dent in my wallet, but I was undeterred. What better way to walk the straight and narrow than with a round of golf? I set off in search of the lone country club in Los Santos, my heart set on playing 9 holes. Unfortunately by the time I navigated through the city's congested highways and thwarted a potential robbery en route to my destination, the course had closed for the day. So I did what any semi-retired bank robber with anger issues would do -- I hopped in my custom SUV, ran over the guard on duty and proceeded to do doughnuts on the fairway. Within seconds, the whine of approaching sirens told me it was time to make my escape.
On my way out, I noticed the "For Sale" sign just beyond the course grounds. For a cool $150 million, the Los Santos Golf Club could be mine. Maybe then I could play whenever I wanted. When I had safely eluded the fuzz, I stopped and pulled up my phone again, this time to access the Internet and make a few moves on the stock exchange. A few clicks later, I was the proud owner of 1,000 shares of CluckinBell, a popular fast food franchise. With some smart investing, my returns could be enough to set me on my way to owning that golf course. And if not ... well, there's always that next big score just around the corner.
Indeed, "Grand Theft Auto V" is all about opportunity. The opportunity to get rich. The opportunity to explore. The opportunity to experience life in the enthralling metropolis of Los Santos as three separate protagonists -- a first for the franchise -- while at the same time crafting your own unique personal story.
When not on a mission, the ability to switch between leading men Michael (the ex-con living a life of luxury with his unfaithful wife and ungrateful children), Franklin (the hustler looking to escape the gang lifestyle) and Trevor (Michael's former partner and a Grade-A psychopath) allows players to view day-to-day life in Los Santos from multiple perspectives. During heist missions, a central part of the "GTA V" experience, switching between characters lets you participate in the way you feel most comfortable, whether it's piloting the getaway vehicle, providing covering fire with a sniper rifle or leading the assault, to name a few. Again, it's all about opportunity.