Well a big fat game has taken over the gamerverse for the moment and I would feel like a big fat sphincter if I didn’t just go ahead and blog some pointless toss about it. Here we are then…..
So, Grand Theft Auto V is out. (The ‘V’ is apparently a ‘5’ in some weird, alien language). That is to say, officially out this time, not the Amazon-related f*ck up of a few days ago when they accidently sent some out before the release embargo was lifted…dur. But yes, Rockstar’s latest instalment of their open-world, violent crime RPG behemoth has hit the streets faster than a poor old lady dragged from her car and dumped to the curb for the sake of a 1998 Renault Espace.
Remember that ^
If not you probably think I’ve gone all bat-shit Charlie Sheen crazy on you, but no, that is what the original Grand Theft Auto looked like waaaaaaaaay back in 1997. A top-down, arcade-style run around car-chase of a game which hit the headlines because you could run over pedestrians and carjack any old motor you so desired, and of course those specific automobiles that needed pinching as your chosen mission. And let me tell you, carjacking never gets old. Neither, for that matter, does running over pedestrians……mount the curb and watch them scatter like roaches. See, Grand Theft Auto was really one of the first games where you could be a right bastard, and a violent bastard at that. This at a time when most games were played by kids. Obviously it caused uproar.
But that was then. Now though, Grand Theft Auto is a powerhouse in the industry. We are talking big numbers here; The Grand Theft Auto franchise has sold more units than The Who have sold albums. Smarter people than me estimate around 135 million copies. It’s expected GTA V will be one of – if not the – biggest selling game ever, and if that’s the case it will make it the single biggest selling piece of entertainment in history in terms of raw cash, which is currently held by Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. The numbers have increased, thing is though, so has the uproar.
Problem is, lots of people have lots of problems with it. No one really cared when Avatar stormed the box office and made 2 billion green-sheets, no, that was fine. But then, in Avatar you can’t go to a strip club, have sex with a whore, then beat her to death, nick her cash and wind up with VD for your troubles.
Look, I’m not going to get into all that, suffice to say that my views on whether or not violence in games is a bad thing generally is probably pretty obvious. I don’t want my kids playing Grand Theft Auto V, but then, they are both under 5, and that’s why we have game ratings, just like films. There’s an argument to say that age restrictions should be implemented more robustly – perhaps, but quite frankly I don’t have much time for the ‘violent games breed violent people’ toss. It’s a load of bollocks. End of.
But anyway, for all the talk, headlines, hype and hysteria about GTA – despite aaallll that, it just isn’t all that. Ok, perhaps that’s not fair, I haven’t played GTA V yet, but based on my previous escapades into Vice City, Liberty City and San Andreas, GTA V is not something I’m particularly fussed about playing. GTA sits in with Assassins Creed, Halo, and a bunch of other MASSIVELY commercial games that dominate the industry in many ways. Fact is, they just ain’t that good. They are ‘hardcore for the masses’ in my humble opinion, and that certainly does not equate to ‘hardcore for the hardcore’. They’re not gamers games. They are repetitive, over egged, console-dull, tent-pole, fillers. They are shallow and flabby, with lots and lots of time spent on cinematics and open-world detail and not nearly as much time spent on real hardcore, dynamic and enthralling gameplay. Dull, dull, dull.
Rockstar are absolute legends, and that cannot be denied. For me their attention to character and story can be the kind of thing that elevates a game to another level, the kind of game that you can call a piece of art without the need to feel silly for saying it among non-gamers. The Max Payne series is undoubtedly one of the finest examples the medium has offered, and Max Payne 3 was not just one of my favourite games of last year, but one of my all time greats. Rockstar made Max feel like a friend of mine; a good friend. The detail in the script, character (both dialogue and animation) and story served to elevate that game beyond the outdated, flat, back-of-the-fag-packet clichés most games of last year (and indeed any year) had to offer – Resident Evil 6 (although great fun) is a prime example that stands out.
I’m sure I will play GTA V; it’s Rockstar and I feel I owe them for Max. Plus they started out as a British (specifically Scottish) outfit called DMA Design and it’s always good to support the British games industry. They started the GTA franchise, and now they continue it as Rockstar North. I’ll play it, but I don’t know when. When I do I may well eat my words and realise GTA V is a true classic, and leaves behind all the flabby shite that riddled the other (post top-down-arcade) instalments. Maybe.
But then, from the original game that hit the PC so hard back in the nineties and spawned a world crunching, cash stealing franchise, GTA V doesn’t even have a PC release. That’s a shame, and to be honest makes me care that little bit less for it. Could be a long wait.
Anyway, no need to hit you with links to this that or the other, typing ‘GT’ into Google gives you more hits to GTA V related websites than you can shake baseball bat at. I will leave you with this though. A GTA V inspire rap by Brit rapper Dan Bull. Check out his youtube page for oodles more game-related raps. He actually is really f*cking good.