By Frank Lucci ( | First Posted: Sep 17, 2013 04:54 PM EDT

(Photo : Rockstar)

Grand Theft Auto 5 is now officially available for everyone, even those who didn't accidently receive it early, and so far both critics and fans seem to have fallen in love with the open-world game, despite the fact that the online multiplayer portion won't be available until Oct 1. Let's take a look at the overall cirtical reaction to the game to see if it's truly is as good as advertised.

IGN notes that GTA V has a variety of impressive moments, and says that the game improves on the standard set by the previous entry in the series:

"GTA V has an abundance of such moments, big and small, that make San Andreas - the city of Los Santos and its surrounding areas - feel like a living world where anything can happen. It both gives you tremendous freedom to explore an astonishingly well-realized world and tells a story that's gripping, thrilling, and darkly comic. It is a leap forward in narrative sophistication for the series, and there's no mechanical element of the gameplay that hasn't been improved over Grand Theft Auto IV."

While the narrative of the game is pretty solid, Polygon says that the game lacks interesting female characters, and that its representation of women is the most glaring fault:

"I counted roughly (and generously) six semi-important female characters in the game, maybe a couple more if I include the occasional quest giver or victim of theft. None are playable. All but one are shrill buzzkills; the latter has Stockholm syndrome. And the two grisliest murders in the game happen to women. One side story involves the persistent and unsettling harassment of an absent female character, the purpose of which is to show the cruelty of Trevor, but which goes upsettingly far beyond what feels necessary to the story."

While the characterization of some of the people in Grand Theft Auto 5 is off, the gameplay is spot-on, according to Gamespot, which notes that the heists found in the game are some of the most thrilling sections of a video game in recent memory.

"These are elaborate, multi-stage sequences that involve prep work. You might need to acquire equipment ahead of time, find a good place to hide a getaway car, and make other arrangements before you're ready to pull off the job. You also need to select supporting members for your crew, as some jobs may require a hacker, an additional getaway driver, or another gunman. More skilled crew members typically take a bigger cut, but if you hire cheap, inexperienced people, they may end up failing at their tasks and compromising the operation. Of course, not every step of this process is thrilling, but these early steps make you feel more invested in the job when it does go down, and they evoke the feeling of films like Heat in which the slow buildup to the crimes makes the payoff in the action-packed scenes more intense," wrote Gamespot. 

Overall, the game is hugely impressive even without an online version, and should be on every gamer's must-buy list for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.

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