Monday, 16 December 2013

Grand Theft Auto V

It’s worth noting that the only movie to have cost more than GTA V to make was Pirates of The Caribbean: At Worlds End and GTA V more than recouped all of its 270 million dollar production costs within a day of its release.

It’s certainly a dramatic improvement on GTA IV – the game that decided to make it difficult and tediously unenjoyable to drive cars in a game where all you can do is drive cars.  In GTA V the driving has been made fun and you can fly planes again.  Much like in 2004s GTA: San Andreas...

It’s all still a triumph of glamour over substance however.

GTA games are often held up as being an ‘open world’ experience but unfortunately this is something of a misnomer.  Missions will see you repeatedly drive through the gloriously rendered world by staring at your GPS system and then get led through a series of tightly scripted often uninspiring set piece routines.

The open world elements in the game have no point to them.

As fun as it is to fire rockets at police cars there’s no reason to do so and this is GTA’s biggest crime. 

It builds a game out of its weaknesses rather than building it from its strengths.

Sure you can mow down policemen or businessmen to your heart’s content but aimlessly doing this for days on end loses its shine rather quickly.

Sure you can race cars in mini-games found around the map but there’s plenty of other similarly average racing simulators out there that I could pick up and similarly never want to play more than once.  You also don’t win any money for winning a race or unlock any new items.  So why bother?

Sure you can play tennis and golf or go skydiving but the same applies.  Where’s the reward?

As a game GTA V is weaker than the heavily GTA influenced Red Faction: Guerrilla and Assassin’s Creed 2 which were both masterpieces in their own right.

If you’ve seen the extensive marketing campaign this game is still putting out now Christmas is nearly upon us you’ll see it has essentially been marketed as a film.  I’m usually an enormous critic of video game stories and characters but I have to admit the ghoulish character of Trevor is interesting enough and I actually related quite well to Michael.  There’s also a guy called Franklin in it.

The story is good to a point but ultimately nowhere near strong enough to be sustained over the time it takes to complete the game.  Within about an hour you’ll have sussed out everything the story has to say.  The rest is an awkward attempt to stretch and pad out its content.

And for a game that places such a massive emphasis on story this is a fundamental problem.

Cutscenes are at their strongest in video games when they are used to reward the player for completing a section of gameplay.  GTA V instead uses a few minutes of gameplay, often driving to a point in the map, as a reward for watching its self indulgent cutscenes.

The open world it creates is a technical and graphical marvel.  This is undoubtedly where the several hundred million dollars really show themselves.  The attention to detail is staggering. 

If you beat someone up a member of the public might film it with their camera phone.  The changing moon phases dictate the contrast of the night lighting.  Puddles form over time when it rains.  You can invest in the stock market.  Characters sweat when they run.

All of which is nice enough, but it’s a bit like a girl proudly swallowing your cum after a bad blow job.

And if that joke seems distasteful then if you plan to play GTA V you better get used to it. Because GTA V is also frequently crass and misogynistic in a way that is neither clever nor funny.  The game contains no strong female characters and it openly mocks and belittles the ones that it does have.

And in 2013 that’s a real shame.

No comments:

Post a Comment