Grand Theft Auto V Review: A Triple Dose of Satirical Fun - HotHardware

Grand Theft Auto V Review: A Triple Dose of Satirical Fun

6 thumbs up
Let me state right off the bat that I'm primarily a PC gamer. You might not know it if you set foot in my living room, where you'll find an Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Nintendo Wii all jockeying for attention in my home theater rack, but outside of sports titles and the occasional party-type game played through the Kinect, I play games on a PC. I bring this up because Grand Theft Auto V isn't yet available for the PC, marking one of the title's few shortcomings in what's otherwise an engaging, open world with a connected storyline that's masterfully woven through the perspective of three playable characters, each with different skill sets and personalities. It's also relevant to understand my gaming background because it has a direct influence on my analysis of the controls. Savvy? Let's get to it.



You're undoubtedly familiar with the GTA franchise, if not from having hands-on experience with previous titles, then by the frequent media outcries about in-game violence. Developer Rockstar Games is often the recipient of criticism and moral outrage whenever a politician or media figure covers a real-world tragedy and tries to connect the event to violent video games. The most current GTA title at any given point in time is always an easy target, and GTA V is no exception.


If you're reading this, then chances are you're okay with that (and if not, I suggest reading what Todd Martens had to say in his short review for the Los Angeles Times), so I'm not going to spend much time focusing on the moral angle of the grossly inappropriate tasks presented in GTA V and what that says about our society. Perhaps we're all a little twisted on the inside, as evidenced by GTA V raking in over $1 billion during its first three days. I'll leave that for the licensed psychologists for figure out.



In any event, GTA V affords plenty of opportunity to engage in tasks that you wouldn't dare attempt to play out in real life. Like previous titles in the series. stealing cars is a basic skill, and also a necessary one in order to navigate the vast landscape in a timely fashion. What isn't necessary is running over pedestrians on sidewalks or crushing motorcyclists that get in your way, though until you get a feel for the unique handling of different types of vehicles, this type of illegal carnage is virtually unavoidable.

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Great review, Paul. This isn't my sort of title (console controllers especially) but I can see why the title is so popular.

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Fair, balanced review. I only disagree wit your inclusion of the torture scene in the NOT category. I didn't mind not skipping the torture scene, I just wish we were given a better understanding of why we tortured him. It seemed unnecessary since the guy was eager to talk before the torture and claimed to be an american citizen. I saw it as a satire of the revised national defense authorization act of 2012. Any american can be held indefinitely and have no trial if they are allegedly connected to "terrorism". I felt more of a connection with the victim than Trevor in that scene, but I still enjoyed torturing the sh*t out of him.

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See, that's the difference. You "enjoyed" torturing (at least virtually) in the game. Some folks, and I'd dare say a lot of folks, including me, would be disturbed by it. When you consider edgy stuff like that, it's best to give players and option to skip or even a setting for extreme situational game play. Then you've got both player types covered.

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Side note, KOwen, I respect your right to virtually torture of course. ;-)

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I agree with you Dave, but at the same time, you have to respect that fact that most people bought GTA V, to play GTA V.

We all know the GTA title is mainly that game where you can run around the streets of a virtual world, shoot people, gun down police, steal cars, everything, without any real consequence. The kind of people that bought the game, knew that the majority of the game was going to revolve around those general concepts of crime without consequence, and as a result I would think we have to look at the torture scene in context. If it was in a game less centered around maximum carnage and violence, I can see it being a bit more of an issue, but to be perfectly honest, I think it was expected to be seen in GTA, and anyone even remotely unsettled by the act of virtually torturing someone should also probably be unsettled by the rest of the murders, beatings, and other crimes that go on in the game, and shouldn't have even bought the game in the first place, but that's just my opinion.

I'm still on your side, I think it is always best to give them an option to skip the scene, much like what was seen in that airport level in Call of Duty Modern warfare 2. It's easier to implement a system to skip that than deal with all the hate.

Sorry for ranting, just trying to verbally understand both sides of the argument here. :)

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I've recently purchased a ps3 controller for use for my PC gaming needs - routing an hdmi cable through my wall so I can play on the couch but I too, am waiting for a PC release. I even own an xbox and am waiting for a pc release because my hardware outstrips the capability of the xbox. That makes me sound snobbish but I, like you, have been spoiled by crazy HD graphics.

Your review provides a good breakdown and some very good thoughts for someone who hasn't picked up the game yet - which is awesome. I'm also glad there is some controversy over the torture scene - it sparks some good discussion (in this forum even) which serves to fetter out some of the problems with parts of games like this. I think that regardless of your stance on the scene or the game as a whole, active discussion is healthy. It seems that so many in the gaming community are prepared to shut down any discussion about things like this from the traditional "girls in games" discussion to things like this.

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This is the best GTA game bar none.

My favorite character is easily Trevor because my inner demon comes out when I play as him. It's pretty funny how he is taking a crap behind a dumpster in one scene...LOL. But, I do like Michael and Trevor too. Pretty cool how you can switch from character to character. The story is much better than the last 4 games and I had a lot of fun seeing how everything came together. I like using chop to attack cops and other guys. But, I don't have a problem with the torture scenes. I mean GTA isn't a game that you should allow your 4 year old to play.

I do like the online play a lot. But, sadly I have been seeing a lot of people that are just using some hacks to get an endless amount of money. What are your thoughts on the online gameplay?

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"I don't have a problem with the torture scenes. I mean GTA isn't a game that you should allow your 4 year old to play."

Granted, nobody's going to argue that GTA V isn't suitable for children, but that's not the issue. The problem with the torture scene isn't its inclusion, but that Rockstar doesn't give you the option of skipping it even though it's pretty damn graphic and controversial.

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