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Special Ability

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The Special Ability is a mechanic in the Grand Theft Auto series appearing in Grand Theft Auto V.

Each player has his own unique special ability which is based on his own "specialty"; Michael has the ability to slow down time during shoot-outs, Franklin can slow down time while driving, and Trevor can enter a "rage" mode where he is able to deal double damage to enemies while making himself nearly invulnerable to damage. Each player has a small yellow meter below the radar which indicates how much of the special ability the player has left. While playing as any protagonist, the player can activate the special ability by pressing L3 and R3 on PS3 or LS and RS on Xbox 360. Each player has his own way of refilling the meter.

Franklin Clinton

Franklin's ability, Improved Driving Handling, allows him to slow down time while driving any four-wheeled vehicle or motorcycle. This allows him to easily take corners at full speed and make precise maneuvers quickly. By enhancing this skill, you increase its maximum storage capacity, which directly affects its duration. Franklin's special ability begins at one third of maximum capacity, which lasts for 30 seconds of duration. As soon as the ability gets activated, the screen darkens and takes on a slight hue of green, during which the gameworld becomes very slow, and all of the lights on the screen become blurry and leave trails. Controls of the vehicle become smoother and allow Franklin to pass through narrow gaps between other cars to do dangerous turns and slides without losing control or speed of the vehicle and overall improve performance. This is reminiscent of the "Zone" ability in the Midnight Club series of video games, which were also made by Rockstar Games, which allows the player to slow down time to weave through traffic.
SpecialFranklin

Franklin Special Ability, from the GTA V Manual.

This ability only can be applied to ground motored vehicles like cars, motorbikes, even in the Rhino tank this ability can be used. This is particularly useful if Franklin is attacking someone with the cannon. The special ability also applies to drive-by shootings.

Just driving around with Franklin can increase his special skill although minutely. The more extreme the circumstance the better chance of increased skill. The following events give an increase to Franklin's special skill in varying amounts:

  • Drifting around corners adds a continuous bonus.
  • Near vehicle misses at high speed: small bonus
  • Driving on the wrong side of the street in traffic adds a continuous bonus.
  • Driving at or above 90% of vehicle's top speed: continuous bonus

According to Lamar Davis, he looks funny while doing this ability, "Like watching Chop try to read while you do that shit."

Michael De Santa

Michael's Special ability is called, "Area Kill." While active, Michael enters a bullet-time-like effect, allowing him to slow time and gain the advantage in shootouts. By enhancing this skill, you increase its maximum storage capacity, which directly affects its duration. Michael's Special skill lasts for 30 seconds when the Stat Bar for Special skill has been max'd out. Similar to other Rockstar titles such as John/Jack Marston's Dead Eye (rank one) ability in Red Dead Redemption and the Bullet Time effect in the Max Payne series, this allows Michael to focus and plan his movements and aiming while shooting. As he activates the ability, the screen gets a blue tint and the action gets slower.
SpecialMichael

Michael's Special Ability, from the GTA V Manual.

This ability can be activated only when Michael is on foot, cannot be activated when he's in a vehicle (unless when switching to him and he's in his car giving money to Tracey De Santa or Jimmy De Santa, the ability can be activated, but once the ability is stopped or depleted, it can't be activated again).

Special combat maneuvers increase Michael's Special. The following events increase Michael's Area Kill Special skill in varying amounts:

  • Headshot: 7.5% bonus
  • Stealth kill or knock out: 10% bonus
  • Health drop below 25%: 20% bonus
  • Maintaining high speeds in vehicles: small bonus

Trevor Philips

Trevor's special skill is Invulnerability, which allows him to take less damage and inflict more damage on others, practically making him invincible. As he activates his ability, the screen adquires an orange shade with a ripple visual effect and a buzzing sound effect, time slows down slightly, but never as slow as Michael's or Franklin's ability.
SpecialTrevor

Trevor's Special Ability, from the GTA V Manual.

By enhancing this skill, you increase its maximum storage capacity, which directly affects its duration. Trevor's Special skill lasts for 30 seconds when the Stat Bar for Special skill has been max'd out.

He practically takes no damage, able to resist serious to lethal damage like fire, explosions, cougar attacks and Rhino cannons. He also performs a special melee attack with up close enemies. Unfortunately, while he takes no damage, he's still susceptible to the reactions of these attacks (body flying during an explosion, cars can run over him, cougars taking him down etc.), sometimes rendering him defenseless if attacked constantly with grenades, rockets or run by vehicles. A modified version of Trevor's ability is featured in Rampages

He only can perform his special ability while on foot.

Things that make Trevor angry increase his special. The following events increase Trevor's Invulnerability special skill in varying amounts:

  • Failing a mission: small bonus
  • Fall over: small bonus
  • Take damage: small bonus
  • Rammed by vehicle: small bonus
  • Bumping into pedestrian: small bonus
  • Headshot: 7.5% bonus
  • Kill at least one pedestrian in explosion: 15% bonus
  • Maintaining high speeds in vehicles: small bonus

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