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Grand Theft Auto: Light & Shadow or just Light & Shadow abbreviated as L&S is an in-depth fanmade concept made by Wiseman the Writer with a more focuses on the game storyline. It follows a much grittier side of a lighthearted Vice City, based on Miami in 2017 with a story that deals with themes of deception/manipulation and betrayal: The attempt to end a mysterious underworld plot by three equally manipulative criminals. A theme that allow players to experience both sides of protagonist and antagonist.
As the title explain, the main aspect of L&S is the balance between Light and Shadow. As the light, Vice City is a glamour city of major tourists destination for the 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; arms trade; a home for top kingpins and a capital city of crime in southern United States.
The concept influenced by the contrast of IV gritty storyline to V that more emphasize the glitz and actions, as well as "betrayals" that made a major role in many previous stories. Unlike any other game in the franchise, L&S has a more action-thriller theme rather than the traditional "over-the-top" action, the story of L&S is explored through this and player "forced" to understand the story to progress.
In fictional world, the game released on October 20, 2020 for Xbox One and PlayStation 4. Unfortunately, due to it advance mechanics, the game can't support multiplayer and never released for PC. Despite many controversy surrounding Rockstar decision to cast "top" actors for their experience before the release, reviewers praised the quality of the story and characters apart from the high-level visual graphics, reviewers also . Metacritic calculated an average score of 98 our of 100 based on 64 review. Although the narrative is the main selling point, it also generate controversy and some criticize it as "the most difficult GTA games to date".
- "Welcome back, but things changes when you're not here"
- ―Trailer #1
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.
Main Article: Story of Light & Shadow
- "Deception is the greatest yet dirtiest strategy in the world, especially in the dark gritty underworld. There's no different in Vice City, the most welcomed city for the neon nights and culture, rags to riches and the empire builder of the Northern American crimeworld. While the top kingpins tried to maintain peace, the other plot a conspiracy to take them down, a mysterious plot changes the situation, including the life of three very different criminals whose forced into an unlikely alliances to uncover the plot. In this kind of problem, are you sure that everyone on your side is really a good friends or someone with a knife behind them?"
On the Russian side, the head of Kirikov Bratva, Nikolai Kirikov reunite with his friend's daughter Maria Vinogradova (Aleksandra Bortich), now a professional hitwoman. While at first Nikolai gets Maria to help him finish the gang problem, he hides his true reason why he wished her to visit Vice City: "to fix her from the mistakes he had done".
Andrea Acconcia (Raoul Bova), a corrupt detective works for the Tacconi Family hired by their allies Concatenatio, whose planned to betray and take them down. Afraid that his brother Fabio may get into trouble if he refuses to involves in the conspiracy, Andrea initially planned to become a double-agent, but things not run so smooth.
The three crossing lines several times before eventually find out that they have the same problem. The Da Silva, Kirikov, and Concatenatio are having an even bigger plan in a secret movement known as "The Third Side", where the power hungry kingpins planned to take over the city.
With their friends worked on the side that put them in the danger by this movement, the three pulled a plan to tear down the movement. They used their manipulative skill to influences their own enemy to plan an unsuspected destruction. However, their morality and trust tested as they take one step on a time, with new people to met such as Charles Koch, Rodrigo Fernandez, and Sammy Rodriguez; they suddenly thinks "Why we're doing this together?". Are this similar situation friends are really friends or just people with their own interest.
The story will show how much IV and V event impact a place far away from nowhere, without including previous characters or altering the canon they've made (in response of fans criticism towards the death of Johnny Kleblitz). The story only features original character, but many references from past events.
With no direct connection to original timeline, L&S is an "optional GTA". You don't need to buy it to continue V or VI: "If you not ready and don't like it, then just don't buy it."
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. With a smaller weapon wheel more like Max Payne 3, which limits the number of weapons, ammunition, and other items in player inventory. Player clothing and presence of a duffel bag or briefcase may affect the number of items player can carried. Luckily, player can now stores some of this to safehouses and car trunk.
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.
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 compared to V, more like IV. No option to remove a character's top, bottom, or shoes. 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.
Utilizes an even more advanced Rockstar Advanced Game Engine, developed at the same time as the storywriting phase, L&S brings on a new level graphic and animations inspired from Nortlight Engine by Remedy Entertainment to create a realistic movie-like visualization in hope for a better taste in the storytelling.
In corporation with the Rockstar graphic teams are several game modders, most of them are known to working on previous GTA. Why hiring some fans? to know what exactly most fans wants. There's a rumors that the infamous Martin Bergman who develops the Toddyhancer visual mod also included in the team, creating a logical reason why his work never released.
Some fans and reviewers complaining about V story that not representing the truth about crime reality, not as gritty as IV or Lost & Damned storyline. In writer view, the two game itself wasn't enough to show the dark side of Liberty City. Furthermore, IV were complained for it's repetitive design that overshadowed with V's action style, which of course diminish the story quality.
In mission to deliver a well-written story that portray an even darker life of crime while maintaining the comedical relief and over-the-top actions, the writer decide to look for the opposite side of the story, the Antagonist whose usually shown as "Manipulative person that betrayed us". What if we're the one to have that trait?
Initially, it was planned to become the successor of V as the VI. But as the story writing goes on, the different and unique theme from other Grand Theft Auto series making the developer thinks it's not suitable enough for becoming the sixth main game. A new title of Light & Shadow was born.
The development remain undetected by fans and journalists as Rockstar "distract" them by constantly updating their Online game.