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One outlet does “the unthinkable”.

Critically, Grand Theft Auto 5 is a triumph. Out of 37 current reviews for the Xbox 360 version, 28 read perfect. For a game to get absolutely perfect from anywhere is a rarity, but for two thirds of published reviews to read that is a resounding success. It speaks to that once again, if you trust reviews, Rockstar has delivered in creating a game that simply wows.

The level to which 2k allowed Rockstar is astounding. Purportedly the most expensive title in history (a $270 million budget accounting for both labour and advertising), the game had been in development since early 2008, shortly after the release of Grand Theft Auto 4.

With so many positive reviews, that mostly drowns out criticism. Of the five or so perfect reviews I’ve read so far, I couldn’t find one piece of criticism. No game is flawless; even GTA 5. GamesRadar had one critique, but turned that into a positive: That the world is so massive, pushing the console to the limit, texture and object pop-ins are common.

One review did give the game a lower score. The Escapist gave GTA 5 a 70. The writer, Greg Tito, cited many of the awesome things that other reviews noted–the gigantic map, fantastic game play, plethora of mini-games and side-missions–but his takeaway from the game was lessened by the characters’ vile attitude. He even begins the review: “In GTA 5, you play as a terrible person.”

His reasoning has resonance. For one, he mentions how Niko in GTA 4 was forced into an impossible situation without any real escapes. Or how Tommy Vercetti committed the acts he did to “mete out justice”. In other words, there was a reason these characters were driven to commit vile acts. According to Tito, in GTA 5, Trevor, Michael and Franklin rob and kill purely because they are terrible people.

Until I play the game personally, I can see his problem. Most of what has made Grand Theft Auto compelling in past iterations is that raison d’être, whether a character has a personal vendetta or a desire to reach improbable heights. If these characters have no other purpose than to be bad, I can’t see the story being as effective. Thankfully though, if the plot is weak, the apparent thousands of side-things to occupy time makes up for it.

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  • dirkradke

    You don’t play a game like this because the characters are the kind you want to take home to meet the family or even root for because they are underdogs. This is just about every persons dream to be a bad guy in a fake world that feels real. If you really want to find problems indicate why you don’t like the story or indicate the graphical glitches with screen tearing and texture pop-in. These are legitimate issues people can get behind and say: “wait – this game is good, but 10/10 – nonsense!” – I think Gamespot was more accurate when they gave it a 9.0 vs everyone else gushing with 10/10, 99/100, etc. Of course it doesn’t really matter to me – I pre-ordered the game and I’m still gonna buy and hopefully love it.

  • Anon

    Never cared for GTA. Played every one since GTA 2. GTA 3 was alright. GTA IV was terrible. This one is just more of the same boring, crime simulating crap. Seeing all the high reviews only proves to me that the industry and these “critics” who review games, don’t know shit about what makes a quality game. They only seem to know how to praise violence, sex, and other substantially traumatic situations and events that should be viewed and discussed with respect, not this socially inept, culturally prejudice, and utterly distasteful and disrespectful perspective of modern American society.

    • The Truth

      You haven’t even played the game you ignorant douche. What about the racing? What about Golf? What about Tennis? What about car customization? You just want people to listen to you whine. Giving judgement before even playing the game, typical attention whore.

      • Anon

        I have played it. It seems you’re the ignorant douche. Also, add the adjectives whiney, presumptuous, and asshat to your title. Because you obviously are all of those.

        • Some British Chap

          Are you somebody’s mum by any chance? By the way, if you had actually played the game, you would realise that it actually parodies modern day America. Hence why the game shows America in this way. Finally I don’t even think you played the game. I think you just read the (utterly biased and heavily flawed) review from The Escapist, or the ramblings of those people you see on the news, who treat video game violence as worse that the Holocaust, 9/11 and Hiroshima all rolled up together. If you actually played the game, you would realise that the game is actually very detailed and well made. You can’t go on about how how critics “don’t know shit about what makes a quality game” when talking about a game that is universally acclaimed by critics and players alike for it’s detail and quality.

          • JeffHeilig

            That’s the common defense that people use to justify GTA V’s portrayal of violence. To some people, saying it’s a parody is a gross mischaracterization of a serious issue the country is dealing with. Saying GTA V is very detailed and well made isn’t justification for the absurd amount of violence one can commit in the game. Personally, I don’t have an issue with that. But some remain sensitive to it, and you have to respect those boundaries. You can’t lead in any comment calling someone a woman because you lose validity of your argument. Just saying. :)

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