There has been plenty of discussion as of late about the development of the next installment in the Grand Theft Auto franchise. While players are likely years away from experiencing GTA 6, it is worth noting that the latest iteration is still alive and well.
And while the online mode in Grand Theft Auto 5 has kept many players busy, the game’s main story mode still stands out as one of the best the series has ever seen. One aspect of the main story that stood out was how incredible the story missions were, no matter how simple at times. Here is a look at a few of the best missions in GTA 5‘s single-player mode.
Updated June 15, 2023 by Chris Birsner: Nearly a decade since its release, Grand Theft Auto 5 remains one of the best entries in the acclaimed Rockstar series. The game itself has remained active thanks to its online services, with many new updates being added to the game for people to experience. But one of the biggest reasons why GTA 5 was such a monumental success was its story mode, and it still remains one of the more beloved single-player campaigns out there.
While not every mission was action-packed, each chapter was filled with great story moments that either made players laugh or sit at the edge of their seats. But while every mission is special, there are quite a few that still stand out.
25 Michael And Franklin Meet For The First Time In “Complications”
Most of the early missions of the game revolve around Franklin repoing cars for his boss Simeon Yetarian. This mission asks the player to sneak into a fancy house and drive a yellow SUV out of the garage and back to the dealership.
Part of the way through, however, Michael awakes from the back seat and points a gun at Franklin, telling him to drive the car into the dealership. It’s a fun stealth mission, which leads to cutting ties with an annoying boss. The player even gets to beat up Simeon as Michael.
24 Michael Gets A Job At Lifeinvader In “Friend Request”
Sometimes, the best missions are the ones where most of the activities are small and mundane but lead to a funny series of events. That is the premise of “Friend Request,” which is the player’s introduction to Lester in the main story. Here, Michael will be asking for Lester’s help with a heist, but Lester wants a favor in return.
Michael then is tasked with going to the Lifeinvader office to bug a phone prototype that will explode if a certain number is called. The mission involves Michael getting dressed up in casual work clothes and hanging out in an office of weird tech dudes as he is asked to clear viruses off a desktop and pretend that he’s just one of them.
23 “Marriage Counseling” Saw Michael And Franklin Literally Pull Down A House
This mission starts with Michael finding his wife cheating on him with a tennis coach. The mission involves him and Franklin chasing the tennis coach to a house on the side of the cliff. The insane aspect of this mission is that Michael destroys the house by hooking the foundation and pulling it down.
This leads to a chase where Franklin needs to avoid gangs that are shooting at them. Michael and Franklin learn later that they destroyed the house of Cartel leader Martin Madrazo’s mistress, which sets off a whole new chain of events.
22 You Can Land A Plane Inside Another Plane In “Minor Turbulence”
There are quite a few flying missions available in GTA 5, especially if players buy the McKenzie Field Hangar to run smuggling missions. These are all possible due to Trevor Philip’s experience as a pilot, though he was discharged from the army before receiving his license.
“Minor Turbulence” sees Trevor flying a small jet to intercept a large Merryweather cargo plane while also avoiding radar. Not only do you get to land a plane inside of another plane, but you can also ride a jeep out of the crashing plane Fast And Furious-style, further elevating the solo mission.
21 One Of The Few Stealth Missions Takes Place In “Friends Reunited”
After living in San Andreas for many years, Trevor has realized that his old pal Michael is actually alive. So, he and Wade go on a road trip to Los Santos to pay him a visit. Along the way, they take care of some loose ends with the remaining members of the Lost MC.
There aren’t many stealth missions throughout GTA 5, but one of the best ones is in “Friends Reunited.” It tasks the player to place sticky bombs on many of the trailers in the Lost MC’s park and set them all off as Trevor gets away. The reward is a hilarious back-and-forth between Trevor and Wade on their trip south.
20 Trevor Goes To War With The O’Neil Brothers In “Crystal Maze”
Through the first few missions with Trevor, it’s easy to see how he’s a lot more impulsive and has a lot more people after him, than Franklin and Michael. This is seen in Crystal Maze as he goes after the O’Neil brothers. After the family steals Trevor’s business, he decides that he’s going to take out every last one of them.
This is a typical shootout mission where players must kill all the targets after them. The cherry on top, though, is being able to blow up their house at the very end in a dramatic fashion.
19 Going On The Wrong Type Of Trip In “Did Somebody Say Yoga?”
Michael has a lot of family drama throughout the game as it is a consistent theme, but it all boils over in “Did Somebody Say Yoga?” The mission starts with Michael being invited to do Yoga with Amanda by the yoga instructor Fabien. After the players do a few poses, things go haywire when Michael gets jealous of Fabien’s touching Amanda.
After Amanda and Fabien storm away, Michael convinces Jimmy to spend time with him. They stop at a Burger Shot for Jimmy to pick up a drink, but when Michael goes to sip that drink after driving away, he realizes he has been drugged by Jimmy. This leads to a series of hallucinations that end with Michael being truly alone.
18 “I Fought The Law…” Features High-Speed Races And Hilarious Fake Cops
Franklin’s special driving ability comes in handy during the “I Fought The Law…” mission as players are forced to race a couple of supercars that have been targeted by Devin Weston, one of GTA 5‘s main antagonists.
However, players also get the chance to play as Michael and Trevor, who are hilariously posing as fake motorcycle cops to pull over the speeding supercars. Both angles to the mission offer different ways to enjoy the three main characters while taking part in a high-speed chase on the freeway that is instantly memorable.
17 Franklin Steals A Stunt Vehicle In “Deep Inside”
Continuing with Devin Weston’s obsession with collecting cars, he tasks Franklin with breaking into Backlot City and stealing a JB 700. In other words, a stunt car that is used in the movies being filmed there. What follows is an absurd yet hilarious mission that gives players a choice.
While players can come up with their own way of getting to the vehicle, they also can steal the costume of the main actor to get the easiest access to the JB 700. When Franklin drives away, there will be an actress in the passenger seat. Luckily, the vehicle is equipped with a unique eject button.
16 Michael And Trevor Team Up To Take Down A Plane In “Caida Libre”
The “Caida Libre” mission is one of the many jobs to come from Mexican Cartel leader Martin Madrazo. He enlists Michael and Trevor to help him take out his cousin Javier, who is flying into Los Santos to testify against Madrazo.
Players get the chance to first shoot Javier’s incoming plane out of the sky using a high-powered mounted sniper rifle. The mission only gets better when it switches to Trevor, who hastily follows the crashing jet on a dirtbike to finish the job, which includes an amazing in-mission jump.
15 “Three’s Company” Is The First Mission That Unites All Three Protagonists
This is the first mission that involves all three playable characters in the main storyline. The mission is to help the FIB steal Ferdinand Kerimov, an individual the FIB presumed was dead but turns out is alive and is being interrogated by the IAA.
This mission is a blast because each character serves a different role in the mission and the player gets to experience each of them. Trevor flies the helicopter while Michael rappels down to kidnap Kerimov. Meanwhile, Franklin is on standby for backup with a sniper rifle.
14 Trevor and Ron Take On The Lost MC’s Airplane Deliveries In “Nervous Ron”
The player first meets Trevor as he killed Johnny Klebitz, ticking off The Lost MC. This leads to a series of missions of taking them out, but one mission, in particular, goes from zero to 100 in a way not many missions do in GTA 5. In Nervous Ron, after finding out that the gang went through his trailer, he decides to intervene in a weapon shipment the gang was going to receive.
At the Sandy Shores airfield, Trevor uses a sniper to take out gang members and lights that would catch Ron planting a bomb on a gas tank. This leads to an epic shootout on the airstrip, Trevor and Ron hijacking the two planes, and killing numerous gang members including one hanging on a wing. The rest of the mission gets players used to flying around the map.
13 Michael And Trevor Fight In A War Between The FIB, IAA, And Merryweather In “The Wrap-Up”
There are a number of different organizations at play in GTA 5 that get involved in the affairs of Michael, Trevor, and Franklin. “The Wrap-Up” sees these various factions ignite in a violent, action-packed war that finds Michael caught in the middle.
As players are forced to escape the Kortz Center museum, they get the chance to play as both Michael and Trevor at a unique point in their relationship. The dual-perspective mission gives both sniper and duck-and-cover shooters ample opportunities amidst the chaos that includes an air-to-ground battle with a helicopter.
12 The Crew Is Involved In A Shootout Of Major Proportions In “Blitz Play”
In another FIB mission, the three protagonists are tasked to rob an armored truck filled with funds for the IAA. Michael decides to go with a blitz play approach, where they block the path for the armored vehicle with a garbage truck right before it pulls up.
Then, while it’s parked, they ram the car with a tow truck to destroy the vehicle and collect the money. If the player is successful with this, they then will need to deal with a shoot-out of major proportions. The joy of it is being able to choose which character to use during the fight, occasionally switching to a character in need of help.
11 Franklin Helps Michael Rescue Jimmy Off A Boat In “Father/Son”
After losing his job at the dealership, Franklin goes to Michael to get tips on how to get into a better position in life. This is interrupted when Jimmy calls to say Michael’s boat has been stolen with Jimmy on it. The two jump into Amanda’s car and go speeding after it.
Players will chase the truck that has the boat down but will never be able to pass it, which is the point. Players will need to get close enough to get Franklin on, then be able to drive alongside it, so Jimmy can fall into the car and for Franklin to get off as well. The car will eventually break down, which leads to lots of frustration and a bitter back-and-forth conversation.
10 Chasing Down An Important Film Reel In “Legal Trouble”
Michael’s relationship with Solomon Richards becomes one of the few things he actively cares about during the storyline of GTA 5, and Solomon needs him the most during the “Legal Trouble” mission. Devin is looking to cancel Solomon’s latest film and tear down the movie studios, and Michael is tasked with chasing down Devin’s assistant Molly to get the film back.
The chase sequence takes place almost entirely in the airport, with many set-piece moments that require Michael to dodge incoming debris from Molly’s reckless driving. Succeeding at the mission will have players witness a gruesome scene while finding out it was all for nothing. Also, the chase sequence can be viewed from the perspective of a news broadcast if players went to that view.
9 “Lamar Down” Highlights The Benefits Of Strategically Working With A Team
Lamar Davis is one of the best characters in GTA 5 who first appears as a long-time friend of Franklin’s before he also befriends Trevor. However, after Lamar was betrayed and taken captive by the Ballas gang, all three crew members teamed up to assault the gang’s sawmill hideout in the “Lamar Down” mission.
Michael, Trevor, and Franklin launch a three-way attack on the sawmill that allows players to strategically take out the Ballas and rescue Lamar. “Lamar Down” is fun to play repeatedly because it is one of the best-developed non-heist missions in the game.
8 “The Jewel Score” Is One Of The Most Authentic Feeling Heists In GTA 5
This heist gives players the first taste of what heists are like in the game, including preparing for the heists in mini-missions and choosing their crew. This is one of the many heists in the game that give players multiple options on how to approach it.
Michael and Franklin can rob the jewelry store by either posing as a fumigation company after they knock everyone out with sleeping gas (“Smart” approach) or by approaching it head-on as an old-fashion stick-up robbery (“Loud” approach). Regardless, be prepared to drive away quickly from the cops.
7 Michael Must Save His Family In “Meltdown”
With the film saved, Michael and his son Jimmy can go to Vinewood and walk the red carpet. The “Meltdown” mission starts tame with Michael going to pick up a suit but then escalates when Devin shows up and drops a hint to Michael that Amanda and Tracey are in danger.
Michael and Jimmy will then have to rush home and take on Merryweather soldiers who have taken over Michael’s property and are holding Amanda and Tracey hostage. This is an intense mission that involves getting home and taking out all the soldiers in a limited amount of time but ends with a little bit of levity from Jimmy.
6 Michael And Franklin Assault The FIB Building In “The Bureau Raid”
Steve Haines, the arrogant FIB agent Michael has been doing jobs for, asks the main characters to steal any record of Haines’ crimes from the FIB building. This is one of the later heists in the game, but one that also only includes Michael and Franklin (Trevor isn’t present as he is angry at Michael). This one also has two options.
For “Covert,” Michael poses as a janitor and rigs the FIB with bombs. After they explode, they infiltrate as firemen to get the files. “Roof” has all of them take a helicopter to the top of the FIB building, parachute down, and steal the files from the top.