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For a game to get so much critical acclaim, it seems crazy for me to say that I don’t care for GTAV. I HATE the characters and find the gameplay to be a bit too close to its roots. It’s not a bad game by design or scope, but I have been playing since GTA III. It doesn’t seem that much different.

Yo Dawg, Where My Character Development At?

I bought the game excited to pull heists and play this new story that Rockstar developed for me to enjoy. I loved Red Dead Redemption, adored Max Payne 3, and played the crap out of LA Noire. So the bar was set pretty high. But as soon as I found myself in Franklin’s house after the first mission, I found it quite stale. A closet to change clothes, a TV to watch, and a bed to save in. I remembered that I had done this four times already.

Not to mention that these new characters weren’t compelling in the least.

Maybe it’s that I have been spoiled by Red Dead Redemption. Was it wrong to think that Rockstar had left behind the truly despicable characters in the past for more–with lack of a better term–“redeeming” ones like John Marston. But the gangsters, low life characters and awful (in terms of personality, not design) people are extremely off-putting and make me hate every second I hear them talk. I don’t want to hear the N-Word from Franklin and his gang every five seconds. And if I have to hear anyone in Michael’s family bitch any more I might blow my brains out. We deserve better development than tropes.

I Can Watch TV and Play Tennis! Yay?

But, of course, the GTA world itself is impressive. I am not denying the achievement in open world gaming by Rockstar. It is beautiful, vast, and filled with things to do. But the problem is I don’t want to do them. I don’t want to drive across the map to the next mission. I don’t want to run down pedestrians. I don’t want to play tennis. When in a mission (that isn’t towing a broken down vehicle or stealing a cop car to help my nagging, adulterous wife not go to jail) I have an exhilarating experience. The getaway from the first heist and chasing down my yacht WAS fun. But everything in between is boring filler.

I have to admit that I have never finished a GTA game because eventually I get tired of the mission structures, and the “I wanna be like Scarface” over-arching story is a little old at this point. I also don’t find the killing and mayhem-causing as fun as I did in the old days. Maybe it’s because I’m not twelve anymore but getting 5 stars, blowing things up with a rocket launcher and mowing down helpless civilians “just ’cause bro” has lost its appeal.

The Diet Coke of a Review, Just 1 Calorie, Not Review Enough

I can’t call this a review because I didn’t beat the game. It’s an impression. I got past the first heist, played with the cheat codes for about 30 minutes, and traded the game in. It’s just not for me. I want more out of my games than modern day gangster attitudes and hookers.

Grand Theft Auto V is an impressive feat in technology and open-world gameplay. If you like it–many of my friends and fellow Once & Future writers do–then please keep enjoying yourself. For me, I’ll wait for an open world game that appeals to my sensibilities like Assassins Creed IV: Black Flag. If I am going to be a despicable character, I’d rather be a pirate.


Scope/Aesthetics/Stuff you can do: 5/5
Same basic principle as GTA III, Vice City, San Andreas, and IV with truly unlikable characters: 3/5
Even though I didn’t like it: 8/10*

*This is not a real score, nor can it be counted as a full review to harm the metascore of GTAV due to my lack of completion of the story.