As of this week, “Grand Theft Auto V” has broken seven Guinness World Records, including the fastest game to gross $1 billion in sales. Multiple gaming sites, IGN among them, have given the latest “GTA” installment a perfect rating. Critics and gamers alike praise the title as a “masterpiece” and proclaim that it is “utter perfection.” Why, then, do I disagree?
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This isn’t one of those “video games are too violent” rants about how the gaming industry needs to change. I’m all for bringing the pain, and occasional smackdown, on CPUs… but for a purpose. In “Tomb Raider” my ship crew was being held hostage and I had to fight my way to them to survive. In the “Arkham” games, I was making Gotham a safer place (criminals needed a good beatdown). Granted there are storylines and missions, but, let’s be honest, people love GTA because of the crazy antics you can get into at any point. Beating random civilians to a pulp for no reason just isn’t my thing.
SNL’s skit involving the game hilariously summarized what people did while playing and further strengthened my thoughts that this game is so huge because of the unconventional antics within it.
The “GTA” series is known for its implementation of taboos and immoral acts. You can do anything from run down people with your car to solicit prostitutes over and over again. You can go spend your days in strip clubs if you choose to or do some drugs. Now that animals have been added in “GTA V” people have enjoyed uploading videos of the horrible things you can do to them, like shoot them while they are mating (really?).
The game receives so much praise due to the open world it provides, but the concept of an open world isn’t anything new. Many games have the ability to free roam. They are not all great, but the concept is there. Sometimes games require you to complete the main story mode before you can roam freely. Adventure games, such as the “Tomb Raider” reboot, use this to allow players to find special artifacts or upgrades that may have been missed the first time around. Another popular series, “Assassin’s Creed,” has been expanding the size of the game map and area the player can roam with each new title.
There have been many new features added to “GTA V” that can make me overlook the crude happenings, such as the great music selection and the being able to switch between the playable characters in different missions.
“GTA V” is in no way a horrible game, but let’s be honest, people aren’t buying it for the thrilling character development. Mayhem is fun and creates endless hours of gaming, making the $60 spent seem worthwhile since the game isn’t over just because the story has been completed. The success of the franchise doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon so it is unlikely that “GTA V” will be the last of the series.
The game is well made and if I wasn’t so turned off by the prostitutes and senseless murder, I might actually buy into it. If you aren’t phased by over-the- top violence and graphic sexual encounters, the game offers thrills and adventures that make for a fun gaming experience.