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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