5 Worst ‘Grand Theft Auto’ Gameplay Mechanics

Published 1 year ago by

Grand Theft Auto 5 Worst Mechanics There's just no way to overstate how much the video game world loves Grand Theft Auto. Despite falling in the crosshairs of every politician out to slam video games as encouraging mischief and violence, gamers have spoken with their wallets, making Grand Theft Auto 5 the fastest-selling billion-dollar game in history. Occasionally, that kind of widespread acceptance and popularity can lead consumers to forgive more than a few shortcomings here and there. And in the case of GTA5 - all controversy aside - there are a few mechanics and design decisions that Rockstar Games seems to be too stubborn to address; shortcomings that would be downright unacceptable in other franchises. Some are old, and others are new, but here is our list of the 5 Grand Theft Auto Gameplay Mechanics That Need To Go.

Stand on the Dot, Please

Grand Theft Auto Worst Mechanics Yellow Markers There was a time when requiring a player walk over a single spot to trigger content made sense. But in 2013, demanding that a player not return home to speak to his family members - but approach up the driveway and stand on a brightly lit halo of yellow light in front of the garage - is just absurd. Nothing breaks an immersive experience like discovering that you didn't actually start a conversation with your friend by approaching him, all you did was hit your mark, and cue a cutscene. This mechanic has stuck with the series longer than it has any right to, but GTA 5 makes it even worse. We'll give the developers credit for removing the yellow ring in particular places, but the inconsistency is even more confusing. Want to trigger a mission? Stand on the yellow dot... or walk in the front door... or approach a false storefront and let the cutscene take over. Frankly, we'd prefer this glaring, 'arcade-y' gimmick be put to rest.

Humans, or Tanks?

Grand Theft Auto 5 Walking Problems If there's one thing that fans and critics of the GTA series have apparently accepted as par for the course, it's Rockstar's unique understanding of how human beings operates. Realistic animation isn't easy, and the team has continued to outdo themselves. But controlling the stars of the game: that's where Rockstar epitomizes stubbornness. In the midst of combat, players might actually think they're operating a form of Soviet-era tank disguised as a human being. Slow reaction times, imprecise jumps, and overall, a total lack of realism makes GTA pale in comparison to other top-tier third-person games in this respect. Forget the subtlety of animation or added maneuverability seen in The Last of Us, Assassin's Creed - hell, even Lost Planet 3 - Grand Theft Auto's leads may be menacing, but they're always laughable (and downright clumsy) from a control perspective.

The World Hates You

Grand Theft Auto 5 Pedestrian Fights Tell us if this ever happens to you: you're taking a stroll along the boardwalk when a good-looking individual catches your eye. So you sidle up for a chat... and they scream at the top of their lungs, run for their lives, and call the police? It hasn't happened to us either, but in the world of GTA, it's the norm. While other games attempting to simulate living worlds add spoken lines of small talk, one-liners or flirting when a player approaches an NPC, Rockstar has made it clear for years now: prostitutes and strippers will want to talk to you - everyone else simply fears for their lives. With every week bringing a new case of police using excessive force or using stun guns on the elderly, maybe Rockstar's offering commentary. But when simulating a real city is your claim, a police officer who attacks you for standing next to him on the street (and sends SWAT when you defend yourself) is massively disappointing.

Tap 'A' To Sprint (And Then Keep Tapping)

Grand Theft Auto 5 Tap A Sprinting How could we not point out the most mind-bogglingly stupid game mechanic that Rockstar still refuses to address (in more of their franchises than just GTA!). Yes, we speak of course of the inexplicable need to tap the 'Run' button, non-stop, to make your character move as fast as they can. Aside from the fact that it's actively annoying and irritating (not just for the one playing, but any who happen to be within earshot), the decision is just bad game design. It's hard to even name another series that still employs the tactic as a core element of gameplay. A few seconds here and there, sure; but now that game designers aren't trying to suck quarters out of arcade patrons, this mechanic is pretty insulting. In this day and age, a studio showing so much contempt for their players that they would make them tap a button constantly just to get back to the fun part can only be due to stubbornness, or a lack of attention.

Does This Even Qualify as a Shooter?

Grand Theft Auto 5 Worst Mechanics Shooting The control and precision of Grand Theft Auto's combat encounters have always been a criticized portion of the series - not based on difficulty, but the fact that experienced shooter fans aren't given the tools or systems to put their skills to use. First off, GTA 5 deserves some credit for introducing a weapon wheel and cover mechanic that help to alleviate much of that frustration. But the 'Whack-A-Mole,' 'State Fair Shooting Gallery' auto-targeting removes every ounce of frustration entirely; even the good kind. The immediate snap-to shooting is a welcome feature for those who don't necessarily enjoy shooting, and a clever way of erasing all criticism. But that seems like an easy solution to a complicated problem; acceptable on an 'Easy' difficulty, but turn off the aiming assists, and it's right back into the same old problems.


Grand Theft Auto 5 Worst Mechanics Those are only a few nagging issues and mechanical shortcomings that we find irritating about an otherwise fantastic open world game. Do you share the frustration over any of our points? Or do you have some of your own to add to the list? Be sure to name them in the comments, and as always, try not to keep them from hindering too much of your enjoyment (with GTA 5, we don't think that will be an issue). _____ Grand Theft Auto V is available for the Xbox 360 and PS3. Follow Andrew on Twitter @andrew_dyce.

TAGS: Grand Theft Auto, Grand Theft Auto 5, Rockstar Games

  • Officer Indy

    Wait a minute. This is all there was to complain about? This is stuff I wouldn’t think twice about! I mean the one about police using excessive force I totally agree with, but the rest seems pointless.

    The police need to be toned down for sure. Starting shooting rampages in the old GTA’s were fun, if you were in a 5 star chase….you knew you were having a good time! But this one just seems to ruin any fun of starting a rampage. Heck even when you are trying to mind your own business they are excessively annoying. Just do folks a favor and make it 4 stars. Everyone knows the first wanted level star you get in GTA V is just pointless. Goes from 1 star to 2 stars no matter what you do. At least in GTA SA you could actually earn 2 stars rather than receive them for just walking up and punching some guy in the face who threw the first punch!

    For shooting back at an officer or for even merely knocking them out, you get 3 stars. And what does 3 stars get ya? Roadblocks with spike strips, helicopters, and to top it all off, both of them come with their very own “super expert impossible shot sniper guy”! I wouldn’t mind it if at 3 stars they sent a helicopter to follow you or maybe even the spike strips. But having these ridiculously great shots from a moving vehicle on your vehicle that’s usually doing 100+ mph is absurd!

    The mechanics for the police overall are the worst I’ve ever dealt with in any game. Not only do their cars magically outrun yours (even if you’re in the same car they are driving) but they also get what appears to be a random boost. It’s like something out of ‘Driver San Francisco’, are all the police in the LSPD Tanner with the abilities to lunge their cars into yours? On top of that, they control where you veer off to after they bump you. Not like a little tap to make the back end shake…..no it’s more like having them jump inside your car and grab your steering wheel to give it a good yank. If they are going to hit you, how bout the pit maneuver? They’ve been doing it right since GTA SA.

    And for anyone who thinks “well they didn’t want to make the cops easy and fun to run from like they were in GTA SA, they wanted to make it “realistic” so people would appreciate it”. I’ve got news for ya……..”realistic” police don’t place you under arrest for looking at them funny or making a rude remark. But they do come after you for doing 125 in a 35 zone while plowing into the rear end of a truck. So what’s this about realistic police? Exactly……realistic police aren’t fun unless you actually make them realistic. The police in game are just annoying and retarded as all hell.

    I could go on and on about the police and what needs to be fixed but I think everyone has had enough of my rambling speech and to be honest, it would be easier to get rid of the GTA V police and replace them with the police from GTA IV. If not at least add a court system so I can sue the GTA V police for excessive use of force + plenty of other charges that would get a REAL police officer fired.

    Maybe I notice a lot of this because I’m looking into my future career as law enforcement for a small town, but even when I’m fighting the police in this game, I still put the controller down and go back to GTA SA or GTA IV if I’m looking for a police rampage that doesn’t suck. There’s a ton more about the police mechanics that I’d love to go into such as their “realistic” bullets passing through 6 ft of water, or the pointlessness of having a police baton and taser when the police don’t use either. For now, I will leave it at this; GTA V had good intentions I think, but they toyed with the police which have a big impact on the game being as they are the expendable enemy you run into half the time. The police attitude got worse in GTA IV but just when I thought they’d fix that, they made it 10x worse than it already was.

    Not having the Police side missions or any side missions except the taxi was a huge disappointment, makes stuff like traditional yellow enterable circles and tapping to run seem like the most pointless topics to cover for complaints. Maybe someone who was just as disappointed with not having the trucking, police, ambulance, firetruck, etc. side missions can take it from here….

    • http://gogle kayden

      this isgoing too be asowem

      • http://gogle kayden

        this is going to be awsome bro

        • http://gogle kayden

          can i r play


    • shawn

      Everything is wrong except for the shooting. Shooting is ridiculous; auto aim should be taken off of online mode, as every player with an mg can gun you down before you can get close, no matter how good you strafe, duck, and cover. The only way to get close is to try to use your aim and hope for the best. (I try to snipe)The blip mission thing is ok, cops are just wacky, and i dont care if i have to tap “X/A” to run, its not loud and annoying as you claim.

  • Stuh

    The cover system and the “targeting system” along with everything mentioned in this article are just some of the many, many ways GTA V sucks d***. Cover system makes you cover in the worst possible spots and angles I’ve ever seen in a video game, not to mention the fact that the auto-aim feature only works half the f***ing time and you can’t even turn free-aim on in online. F***king pathetic excuse for a game.

    • Tanner

      Actually you can turn auto-aim off…

      Plus the reason why the police act wacko is because it’s simulating our world today, or what it could possibly be; corrupt cops that shoot to kill no matter what, and guess what; THEY ACTUALLY GET AWAY WITH IT THESE DAYS, not all the time, but most of the time.

  • http://gogle kayden

    this is going to be awsome bro

  • umair

    I have to agree with all your criticism expect the shooting mechanic. You have to let it go in this kind of game. My biggest critism is the new need for speef style driving mechanics is the most disappointing in an other awesome open world game.

  • Asherandai

    I agree with the first 4 of these, they really should be improved by now. But the 5th, the snap-to shooting, I find a refreshing change that prevents GTA from becoming “just another shooter game” in my opinion. And honestly I’m tired of seeing my favourite games devolve into the mindless mechanic of running through a linear, one track map shooting anything that moves…. And everything that doesn’t, just incase. (Case point: the evolution of the brilliance of mass effect 1 through to the garbage that was No. 3) please don’t ask they do the same thing to GTA…. There are few enough games that ARENT mindless shooters these days.

  • Montalban

    dont worry, pc version will be much better. Ops no PC? Damm…

  • crazypeople

    Yeah take auto aim off. That makes sense to losers who game 18hrs a day. . But some of us don’t and prefer a little realism in aiming. If someone was shooting at me I’d bring my weapon up pointed directly at them not at a 90° angle like in free aim. And yes the tip of my barrel would follow you when you moved.. but I digress. Maybe if I had 18hrs a day to play video games like the people in their moms basement wanting auto aim removed I too would want it removed.

  • Some Dude

    “But when simulating a real city is your claim, a police officer who attacks you for standing next to him on the street (and sends SWAT when you defend yourself) is massively disappointing.”
    That’s actually very realistic. Especially if you’re playing as Franklin.

  • John

    The stupid first person gimmick gets boring after about 20 minuets and is the only reason the game is full price on next gen (people really need to stop calling it next gen when it is current get)


    You know what is sad? They have fixed none of the aforementioned issues this game has.

  • gta fan

    For tapping sprint button, in earlier GTAs you could complete paramedic missions and unlock infinite sprint, no need to tap spint button anymore. As for police, i agree, i have a fun time with 6 star wanted level in gta 3, vc and sa but in iv and v, i hate the cops so much, especially in v where you will die pretty quick. I hate peds too in v because of the reason mentioned, which is bullshit, i cant enjoy free roaming because of some stupid ped calling police. I also hate something that people never seem to mention but i always disliked the huds from gta sa and above. I miss when games showed the percentage of your health (gta 3 and gta vc), in other words health was displayed as a number rather than a bar. I hate huds in sa and above its hard to tell how much health i have when i just have a stupid bar.

  • Sara

    Peds only scream or call the cops if you sprint into them or past them. People don’t seem to know you’re not supposed to sprint but JOG. You can jog by briefly pressing the sprint button while walking. Jogging won’t trigger anyone. Sprinting is supposed to be seen as running for your life, drawing suspicion. If I see someone sprint right past me I’d call the cops too, thinking someone stole something and went running for their life. 😛

  • Mauro

    The worst thing about GTA V wasn’t mentioned. The cover system is just like ultra bugged. I just think that the ads and merchandises works like an indoctrination into some minds. If we criticize it, most of those zombies wouldn’t even bother to rationalize it. Instantly they would try to kill you instead. “THIS IS GTA” and that’s it, it’s like the game should be immune to bugs, glitches or problematic core mechanics. I never saw a “shooter” like this, GTA IV was much superior than the V.

    What reallies bother me isn’t just this ridiculous honking from npc’s cars or those perfect aim from the police, but the cover system just don’t work when you really need it.

    This piece of crap is the most overrated game of all times. Can’t believe that I would miss GTA IV that badly.