‘Grand Theft Auto 5’ Review Roundup: A Socially Reprehensible Masterpiece

By | 3 years ago 

In all of gaming, the release of a Grand Theft Auto game is a massive one for the medium, often only matched by a new generation of consoles, so passions are destined to run high as Grand Theft Auto 5 arrives on the horizon. The overall consensus is that the game is very special, giving one of the best open world experiences ever, with its gleeful wanton gameplay and satire that serves as a great bow for the current generation of gaming.

On the flip side, tempers have flared when reviewers have brought up questions such as the game’s indulgence in excessive violence, treatment of women, and reprehensible actions taken by the game’s three protagonists. It has been an intriguing build-up to release with comments sections being just as interesting as the reviews themselves.

Without further ado, here is a selection of reviews from around the web that point out the good, as well as the detractions of the GTA5 experience:

IGN (Keza MacDonald):

“It represents a refinement of everything that GTA IV brought to the table five years ago. It’s technically more accomplished in every conceivable way, but it’s also tremendously ambitious in its own right. No other world in video games comes close to this in size or scope, and there is sharp intelligence behind its sense of humour and gift for mayhem. It tells a compelling, unpredictable, and provocative story without ever letting it get in the way of your own self-directed adventures through San Andreas.
It is one of the very best video games ever made.”

Score: 10/10

Gamespot (Carolyn Petit):

“GTA V is an imperfect yet astounding game that has great characters and an innovative and exciting narrative structure, even if the story it uses that structure to tell is hobbled at times by inconsistent character behavior, muddled political messages and rampant misogyny. It also raises the bar for open-world mission design in a big way and has one of the most beautiful, lively, diverse and stimulating worlds ever seen in a game. Your time in Los Santos may leave you with a few psychological scars, but you shouldn’t let that stop you from visiting.”

Score: 9/10

Grand Theft Auto 5 Trevor Hunting Screenshot

The Escapist (Greg Tito):

“If only the morally reprehensible script written by Dan Houser lived up to the achievements in game-making that Grand Theft Auto V otherwise embodies, it would be not just the game of the year but of the decade. Unfortunately, you can only hear a character say “&^%@ you, Mother&*^%er” so many times before it starts to grate on you. You can only embody a vicious psychopath a short time before it becomes boring, at best, and soul-crushing, at worst. Forcing players to murder people, not in a gamey “I killed you to complete a goal” way that defines this medium, but in a terrorizing and demeaning way, is not what will make videogames great”

Score: 3.5/5

Destructoid (Jim Sterling):

Grand Theft Auto V is both a reflective and deflective game, diving into the heart of the GTA series with more than a few subtle things to say about itself. Michael is tired, and old, and wants to change, but he can’t, and eventually he grows to accept and even enjoy that. Franklin is smarter than his surroundings, dreaming big but held back by old fashioned ideas. Trevor is hilarious, surprising, and a disgusting degenerate. All three characters, in their respective ways, feel representative of the Grand Theft Auto series as a whole, and contribute to making GTA V what it is — the ultimate culmination of Rockstar’s beloved and despised series. Personally, I think that’s a fine thing to be.

Score: 9/10

The Guardian (Keith Stuart)

“Yes, some people will hate GTA V. Some, like me, will thoroughly enjoy it while acknowledging its complications, its shortcomings as a narrative adventure. Last of Us says more about humanity in five minutes than GTA V does in its 70-plus missions. Five stars for such a troubled proposition? That’ll confuse and anger a few people, I know it. But no one constructs worlds like Rockstar and this one is worth many, many hours of exploration. It is fun, so much guilty, ridiculous fun. It is beautiful to look at, it is jammed with ideas, and when the free add-on, Grand Theft Auto Online, comes out in October, it will offer a compelling multiplayer experience, where participants combine and face off in gigantic turf wars.”

Score 5/5

Grand Theft Auto 5 Franklin Fast Life Screenshot

Video Gamer (Simon Miller):

Both ‘the best of’ and the best offering in the entire series, GTA 5 easily lives up to the hype. The ultimate swansong for this console cycle, but also a game that’ll cast a long shadow over the next one too.

Score: 10/10

Official Xbox Magazine (Mikel Reparaz):

“It doesn’t quite hit the epic highs and emotional swells of Red Dead Redemption – but then, it’s more comedy than drama, and it offers more than enough action to make up for it. Grand Theft Auto V is one of the most impressive games of its generation – and a great last hurrah before we step up to the next one.”

Score: 10/10

Eurogamer (Tom Bramwell):

“There’s so much excellent stuff to do, see and hear throughout the dozens of hours you can spend touring Los Santos that you’ll easily overlook the inconsistencies in storytelling, if that stuff even bothers you in the first place. This is also the slickest, easiest GTA game Rockstar has ever made, full of fine detailing that smoothes your experience moment to moment, like proper checkpointing and gentler law enforcement.”

Score: 9/10

Grand Theft Auto 5 Screenshots

Joystiq (Xav de Matos):

“Story complaints aside, it’s the world of San Andreas that is the main attraction, and it does not disappoint. For every narrative quibble, there are dozens of discoveries to be made, and many of the best moments will be the ones you create yourself.

Grand Theft Auto 5 is an ambitious game, attempting to meld three very different characters together to tell one encompassing story of survival in what amounts to the worst place in America. That story stumbles, but the open-ended gameplay remains a showpiece for the vast amount of content that can be poured into a virtual world.”

Score: 4.5/5

Polygon (Chris Plante):

“Rockstar have expanded and improved so much about what is special about video games as main stream spectacles, from the playful use of characters, to the refined take on world design. The developers progress make the aspects left in cultural stasis, the poorly drawn women, the empty cynicism, the unnecessarily excessive cruelty especially agitating.

How fitting that the game comes at the cusp of the next generation consoles. Here is a game caught mostly for the better, occasionally for the worse, between the present and the future.This is what a modern blockbuster looks like, and will probably continue to look like for years to come.”

Score: 9.5/10

Games Radar (Hollander Cooper):

“Five years ago, it looked as though it would’ve been difficult to make a bigger, more impressive game than Grand Theft Auto IV, but Rockstar didn’t just settle for improvements to visuals. Instead, it polished and iterated upon every single element of the game–and the genre. The world is massive and detailed, the gameplay is damn near perfect, and though there are some lacklustre side missions, the actual story is filled with memorable personalities that feel more fully-realized than even the best of GTA’s previous characters. It’s a remarkable example of open-world gaming at it’s finest, and while it doesn’t reinvent the genre or do anything all that new, it does so much so well that it’s hard to find flaws in Rockstar’s massive blockbuster.”

Score: 5/5

Is criticism of the social depravity of some of Grand Theft Auto 5‘s content justifiable? Is it to be expected? What do you think of the game so far?


Grand Theft Auto 5 releases September 17, 2013 for the PS3 and Xbox 360.