On September 17th 2013, Rockstar Games released the 5th game in the GTA series, unsurprisingly called, Grand Theft Auto V. As with previous GTA titles, this one features a vast open-world environment allowing enormous opportunity for exploration, leisure play and side missions. Grand Theft Auto V is played from the prospective of three different characters, Michael, Trevor and Franklin and the story takes place in the fictional city of San Andreas, a stand-in for Los Angeles. In keeping with its predecessors, the game is played is an action adventure title, played in the third-person.
The player employs melee attacks as well as the use of firearms, weapons and explosives to defeat their enemies. In addition, vehicles such as cars, helicopters, boats and planes are used throughout the game. The continuing goal of the game is to complete missions such as heists etc, in order to further the game’s story. If the player breaks the law, they may be pursued by the authorities, which results in the measurement of their “Wanted” meter.
The game has come under fire for it’s glamorization of extreme violence, crime and adult themes. Now this is nothing new to the GTA series, in fact, according to the Guinness World Records 2009 Gamers Edition, GTA as a franchise has more articles written about it citing it’s controversial nature than any other, with more than 4000 articles published to date.
The series has always been bashed for its misogyny, sexism and violence and many shootings in the US have been linked to the series. Although I’m sure most of those tragedies happened because of some underlying mental problems of the perpetrators. The fact is there are a lot of studies now that suggest a link between violence video games, TV shows and movies causing a temporary reduction in feelings of empathy and compassion towards our fellow humans.
In short, observing violent materials isn’t good for us, participating in it, even in a virtual context, even less so. And it is worrying. GTA 5 is a magnificent technical achievement with a truly immersive experience and fans of the series will be quick to dismiss such concerns. But its main selling point is its environment, dynamic gameplay and open ended storytelling. Is all the violence necessary? I’d like to see a game perhaps a detective story, an MMORPG incorporate such a vast game engine into a title without such violent components. The truth is, I wouldn’t want my kids playing GTA 5. Simple as that.
But taken on it’s merits GTA 5 is still a milestone action game and one that has now set a new benchmark for the industry. In today’s featured poll, I’m asking you, is Grand Theft Auto V too violent? Check out our full video review of Grand Theft Auto V below.