I have finally got my hands on a copy of Grand Theft Auto V. I have been promising to get my hands on this game for a while now and only now have I begun my journey into the murky worlds of bank robberies, ex-crime lords and the strangest drug trips known to man. I will not be ready for a review for some time now. I want to fully immerse myself into the game and it is basically a black hole for my free time, so I have no idea how long it will take before I have a firm hold on my thoughts of the game. However, I thought I would write a quick article to let you all know how I am getting on.
Badly. It’s not that I do not love the game, because I really do. The storyline seems more than a flimsy excuse to break cars and be a Grove Street baller (never learned what that was supposed to mean). It has so much detail put into the world that there is never a lapse in things to do. This is a Grand Theft Auto game that has not been rushed and I really appreciate the finer details in this one, that were somewhat lacking in San Andreas and the fourth game. But there are three little details that are getting in the way of me fully enjoying this game. I wonder if anyone out there will agree with me.
3 – I CANNOT DRIVE TO SAVE MY LIFE
I am a terrible driver when it comes to games. Sure, I am a professional when it comes to 17 point turns, but when it comes to racing around a city, making sharp turns and getting close enough to a limousine, so the paparazzi pervert can take photos of a celeb snorting coke through the windows, I am totally useless. Missions that involve chasing a moving vehicle over steep hills and through tight roads usually take far more attempts than I am comfortable with. The worst feeling in the world is almost killing the boss fight I am in the middle of, and then clipping a tree, spinning my car out and letting my victim make a getaway. It is a frustrating experience.
It’s weird that people tend to forget that Grand Theft Auto is a driving game. Grand Theft Auto even means ‘stealing cars’. But after San Andreas, we seem to see the game as a crime thriller based in an open world environment. We think of the brief shootouts on the streets, the mode where you customise what your character wears and the dating sites on the game, where you try to make sure your girlfriend stays alive until the very end of the date, so you can slam your three pixels into her at her place (or four pixels, in my case – ladies ;)!) However, the actual game hasn’t forgotten that it is essentially a driving game and most of the playing time is spent behind the wheel of a car. And therefore more often or not I find myself getting stuck, because I miss the correct turning on my map and end up stuck in a pile-up on the motorway.
2 – I AM THE LEAST GANGSTA PERSON IN THE WHOLE GAME
I have mentioned before how I like to role play in games. Not in a creepy way, but when I am meant to be playing a character in a story, I like to really become that character. Besides, most of the time is for a RPG, which encourages injecting personality into a blank portrait. Is your Skyrim Nord going to be a vengeful killer or a soldier of justice? So when GTA V gave me three characters to flick between, I enjoyed the idea of changing my style of play for each one. Michael would be world-weary and unforgiving. Trevor would be unpredictable and likely to kill whoever slightly annoyed him. And then Franklin would be the most kind-hearted of them all, but street-wise at the same time.
However, role-playing was shot down fairly soon into the game. Franklin just completed his first mission in the game and it was tied up by me, giving my homeboy Lemar a lift home. We were talking shop, the usual bickering between GTA characters, mainly establishing our dominance as males in a world full of cold-hearted kill… OMG STFU! Misteeq – Scandalious came on the car radio. Thus commenced two minutes of me serenading my ‘homeboy’ as I drove him home. I realised that I just totally killed the mood of the game by turning into the campest gangster in San Andreas. I still haven’t shaken that side of myself. Yesterday, I was about to pull up at a new mission, when Britney Spears – Gimme More came out. I genuinely circled the block for three minutes, savouring every last beat of the song.
1 – SHOOTING SPREES FEEL ‘WRONG’
However, joking aside, I do have a serious point as to why I haven’t got as much enjoyment out of Grand Theft Auto V as I wanted to. Everyone says that one of the best activities in Grand Theft Auto is simply breaking away from the story, picking up a gun and launching an one-man assault on the public, until the police or military manages to bring you down. I tried this and I just couldn’t enjoy it. Sure, you guys can call me sad or a pansy, but it just felt so wrong.
I think a massive part of this is the recent shootings in America. When randomly opening fire on a businessman obliviously walking to work in the game, I couldn’t help but have my mind flash back to news stories of people suddenly going out and doing similar things in the real world. The Boston bombers. Robert Hawkins. Anders Brevivik. As I stand there with my smoking gun and people fleeing from me, screaming, I suddenly feel twisted and unbelieving that I even thought I could squeeze some enjoyment out of such brutal actions. Another big part of this is that this is the best Grand Theft Auto when it comes to graphics. In San Andreas, it was vaguely human looking pixels, who were amusing stereotypes vaguely brought to life. Now, in the fifth game, people look all too real. I opened fire on a group of people and a woman tried to flee. She was so terrified that she tripped in front of me and just raised her hands, sobbing and begging me not to shoot. She was helpless and I could not bring myself to pull the trigger. I felt like a monster.
I am not condemning anyone who does carry out random shootings in Grand Theft Auto V. As I said earlier, this is a big part of the enjoyment of the game and you shouldn’t have that taken away from you. If anything I respect that you do not let the horrible mass murders in America and around the world affect you as it has me. Those bastards don’t deserve any impact on the world, even if it is something as trivial as my gaming experience. I just find myself unable to continue with that avenue of the Grand Theft Auto games. Then again, it’s hard to complain about a game that has both Britney Spears and Misteeq available, so I still won’t hear a word said against this game.