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Light & Shadow
L&S MiniLogo
Developers
Publisher
Release:
PlayStation 4, Xbox One
November 20, 2020
Game modes:
ESRB rating:
ESRB Mature
Platform(s):
Media:
SpeakerSymbolLogo
Official theme: Theron Kay - Rise

Grand Theft Auto: Light & Shadow or just Light & Shadow or GTA L&S is an action-adventure video game developed by Rockstar Studios (lead by Rockstar North ) and published by Rockstar Game . Released on November 11, 2020 for Xbox One and PlayStation 4. Unfortunately, due to it advance mechanics, the game can't support multiplayer and never released for PC. It's also features less moddable features than previous game.

Set within the fictional city of Vice City, based on Miami in 2017 (2018 after the story finished) and follows three criminals with a manipulative background who made an unlikely alliances to uncover a mysterious underworld plot that threat their life, friends, and families.

As the title explain, the main aspect of L&S is the balance between Light and Shadow. As the light, Vice City is a glitz and glamour city of major tourists destination for it beaches and entertainments; and a right place for elite people to build home or business. As the shadow, Vice City has a dark underworld with gang rivalries, drugs, and arms trade; a home for top kingpins, a capital city of crime in United States.

The concept influenced by the contrast of IV gritty storyline to V that more emphasize the glitz and actions, combined into a unique story that more inclined to the grittier side. Unlike any other game in the franchise, L&S has a more investigative theme rather than life of crime in similar manner to LA Noire where the protagonists search for clues about the underworld conspiracy and connects them. The storyline of L&S is explored through how far they investigate the conspiracy.

L&S received massive criticial acclaim. Reviewers praised the quality of the story and characters, the investigative concepts, and the open world. Metacritic calculated an average score of 98 our of 100 based on 64 review. Edge, Eurogamer, Game Spot, and IGN all gives their perfect score for the game. Although the narrative is the main selling point, it also generate controversy.

Settings

Vice
"Welcome back, but things changes when you're not here"
―Trailer #1
L&S was set in summer to winter 2017, then moves to summer 2018 after the main story finished. Although it released in 2020, the developer didn’t want a large gap between V and L&S timeline. Vice City (Miami ) return as main setting location. Great Deer Key (Big Pine Key ) and John Doe Key (No Name Key ) serves as the main location for Chapter III and it’s only accessible during this chapter or once player reach 100% completion.

Vice City nicknamed as “The Bridge” by criminals, as it connects North and South American underworld. Drugs smugglers from Latin America store their products in Vice City before distribute it further to North America and Europe.

Story



Main Article: Story of Light & Shadow
"Since the 80s, Vice City is the home of elite crimelords all around the globe, from elegant Italian mafia to classic Mexican drug cartels. Currently in the present day, the city was under a major war between this syndicates and one myth said that it was initiated by someone who displeased with their presence in Vice City, not the participants itself. Some attempt to investigate about it further and get lost or killed; some lucky enough to survive like this three very different criminals: Thomas, a manipulative and ambitious con-artist; Maria, a somehow attractive cold blood contract killer; and Andrea, a man with two-faced life between a honest detective and 'mad' mafia made-man. Knowing that the conspiracy may put their relatives and friends into danger zone, the three made an unlikely alliances and enter the other side of underworld that they’re never know before, although their relations with those who loved must be sacrificed and some bitter truth revealed that changes everything."
―Official Description

For the second consecutive time after V, player control three protagonists: The lead Thomas Kingston (Freddie Thorp), Maria Vinogradova (Aleksandra Bortich), and Andrea Acconcia (Raoul Bova). All the three shared the same mission to uncover an underworld conspiracy and ... manipulative personality, sort like "face of an angel, mind of a demon". Knowing they can’t take their mission alone, they need to go together, but can they really trusts each other?

Overview

  • Further read: "The Third Side"

L&S heavily focused on investigating the conspiracy that requires player to search for intel about them, from interrogating someone involved with it to infiltrate a meeting or stealing some documents. The three protagonists write down any information they got on their journal and piecing together the clues in a mosaic investigation wall. Later on, player need to theorize about the conspiracy to make their next step. Much like how the heist planned in V, except this time it's not so simple and more complex.

Gameplay

L&S is an action-adventure game played from a third-person perspective. Players complete missions—linear scenarios with set objectives—to progress through the story. Outside of missions, players may freely roam the open world Vice City and its surrounding. As the story progress, the surrounding environments may constantly changes and more map contents available.

The game features many new gameplay mechanics applied from previous Rockstar works, especially Red Dead Redemption II. In combat, auto-aim and a cover system may be used as assistance against enemies. Stealth mechanic was greatly enhanced from the previous edition which reworked from seemingly-abandoned Agent, including crouching and crawling. Should players take damages, the only way to replenish their health is by consumes medical kits or painkillers similar to Max Payne 3. Foods and drinks replenish health slowly.

L&S features a more complex weaponry mechanics. Players only able to brought limited weapons, ammunition, and other items by each characters are stored in “slots” and some items may cost more than a single slot in the player inventory, such as shotgun. Player clothing and presence of a duffel bag or briefcase may increased or decreased the number of slots available. Luckily, player can now stores some of this to safehouses and car trunk.

  • Polices

If players commit crimes and witnessed by innocent civilians, they may report it to nearby law enforcer or call them by phone. This witness marked by “eye” blip on the map and player can threat them to stop them for report the crime, with small chance that other civilians will become another witness. If the report successful, the law enforcement agencies will respond and player receive a “wanted star” to a maximum six-star level. The law enforcement AI was fully reworked in L&S, creating a more realistic and logical wanted system. Law enforcement officers will search for players who leave the wanted vicinity. The meter enters a cooldown mode and eventually recedes when players are hidden from the officers' line of sight that displays on the mini-map.

As the multiple characters system return, player able to switch between characters anytime during and outside of mission. Some missions features multiple protagonists and the game may switch characters automatically during missions to complete certain objectives. Player now able to give order to other character to shot down a target or move to a location in certain cases.

  • Maintenance

In addition, player need to maintains each characters in similar method to RDR II. They needs to rest, take a sleep, eating foods, or drinks to keep themselves healthy, otherwise, they'll feel tired, have less health and it took longer to replenish it when damaged if they were sick. Fat system isn't featured in the game, but a stamina bar has been added that depletes while sprinting or carried a heavy weapon. In addition, the unique ability from V for each character was removed for a more challenging gameplay.

Character customization are much more limited with no option to remove their top, bottom, or shoes (like in IV). Barber shop still available to edit character hairstyle. The developers aware that an odd taste of character appearance could lead to the lost of the story aesthetic.

While free roaming the game world, players may engage in context-specific activities ranges from darts to scuba diving underwater. Each character has a smartphone for contacting friends, starting activities, accessing an in-game Internet and enter cheat codes.

Development

It is unclear exactly when the core development started, but the story rough sketches already wrote since a week after V release. The developer focused on working the narrative first, following many negative reviews of narratives. Taking account from the previous game "Vinewood action tastes" and IV dark story, the two contrasted concept were evaluated and combined.

At first, here was four protagonists and the game set in a city based on real-life Chicago rather than Vice City. The developer however, find the settings wasn't gone enough for the story and one of the protagonist doesn't have a strong storyline compared to other three. It took a year and half before the main story as what we've seen today finished.

Initially, it's planned to become the successor of V as the VI. But the different theme from other Grand Theft Auto series, making the developer think it's not suitable enough for becoming the sixth main game.

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