First person mountain biking: the go pro experience

First person mode at first glance

When Rockstar Games made the announcement that their remastered version of Grand Theft Auto 5 for the next generation of consoles would include a first person camera view, it seemed like gimmick.  The power of GTA thus far had come from its focus on being a solid third person action adventure game, introducing a first person perspective brought on a great many challenges including the need for an entirely reworked series of art assets and animations.

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(Trevor (in the traditional third person view) with his road bike getting ready to tackle a challenging mountain biking path)

Tinted shades

Reserving judgement until seeing the final product I was very impressed with the attention to detail Rockstar had put into translating their third person game into a first person experience.  Not the least of which is how switching to first person, when the player character has sunglasses on, tints the color of the screen.

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(The color of the world changes when going into first person with sunglasses on)

Hold on tight

One of my favorite pastimes in GTA has been to take the bicycles for a spin. There is something special about being able to feel pedestrian in the world, being close to the streets while rolling along that the biking experience delivers that sense of inhabiting the world at a slow pace.  Out of the available bicycles, I thought my favorite would have been the BMX with its ability to pull of bunny hops with impressive heights, but in first person the road bike stole the show for me.  On the road bike, the jump button becomes a pedal modifier sacrificing the ability to jump for increased speed. In first person mode you see the sway of a person riding a light and nimble road bike turn into a steady tuck and it really pulls the player into the experience of being on a bike.

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(First person view of road biking)

Being a Go Pro hero

The visceral experience the first person camera brings to the game is one that makes a lasting impression. A fantastic example of this comes from trying to take a bike down a narrow mountain at top speed; it brings to mind the gut wrenching stunt videos professional mountain bikers post from their Go Pro cameras going down steep mountains.

(Video from my First person mountain biking: challenge)

I’ve included a challenge for you all to try out this type of gameplay in my article First person mountain biking: challenge, check back on Thursday for the full challenge details.

Andrew Mantilla is a ludologist and video game journalist for Play Professor.  You can check out more of his content on FacebookInstagramand Youtube.

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