Yeah it's that time again. Your residential Beacon of Truth is here, to shine that white hot light of truth for those who need it most. In today's case it's Grand Theft Auto 5. Which I just got done beating, and I'm even going to piggyback off from someone. Hey remember I never claim to be original, just right all the time.
As always, know that your crying feeds my arrogance so please, don't bite your tongue. Spread your denial with every fiber in your being. It should be a good show. And since Justin is doing the review for endlesbacklog, and I don't have to do it. I get to be as unfiltered about my thoughts on this, without having to worry about grammar or being f*cking politically correct. Let it begin.
The Truth: Grand Theft Auto 5
Now I'm not one to shy away from my thoughts on Rockstar. I think they are criminally overrated to the point that it is disgusting that they are given so much praise, for being somehow worse than their closest competitors. But I will meet them half way here with GTA 5. I had fun, it was a good game. I had a good time. Missions were fun, I wasn't mechanically unsatisfied, the movement was overall better, some of the controls were dumb. Which lets focus on right away.
-FREE AIM is too loose: I don't like GTA"s brand of auto combat. Metroid Prime is allowed to get away witth this because you face larger enemies with extensive health bars, and you're trying to knock the enemy down piece by piece. In GTA 5? it's a shooter, in the vein of cover shooters. No f*cking point in auto combat. Why is it there? Simple. The free aim is way too damn loose and scittery for a dual analog. It's just not snug. Compare how this game feels to a Gears of War, Uncharted 2, or a Max Payne 3 and there is a substantial difference in how the basic act of aiming and lining up shots feel. GTA 5 in that regard is behind the 8-ball a little.
You plebs: But GTA 5 isn't a cover shooter
No, stop, get that rockstar c*ck out of your throat please. It's embarrassing. Any mission that asks you to kill things in GTA 5 will ask you to shoot them 90% of the time. of that 90% of the time you need to shoot people, 100% of that time you will have to use GTA 5s cover scheme. Point? It's a cover shooter. The sandbox part is a game structure thing, it doesn't overrule mechanics. And pretending it does makes you a mentally challenged person not worthy of my spit, much less a rebuttal.
But free aim is not the most noteworthy offender here, of course there is the return of
-TAP A TO RUN: ...why is this a thing? Why is Rockstar committed to this shit? You know that makes it worse? The very opening mission of this game you can hold A, and the dude runs. But then he steps out side, and for the rest of the game it is tap A to run. It is just the lamest thing this side of...
-Cinematic Walking: I am personally amused by the people that love talking about how Uncharted is this sinful cinematic game that takes away control from the player, and GTA 5 does the exact same shit when it comes to the missions. Cinematic walking being the number one offender of worst things in modern videogames. Also not a fan of other moments the game takes control. Such as this one part where instead of landing a plane into this larger jet, I had to watch it via cutscene. Why?
-Because the controls for planes and choppers suck: Listen we just established that mowing dudes down with guns is not difficult. It's not presented as a challenge, it's not asking much of the player, the vehicles are less heavy compared to what they were in GTA 4. So why the f*ck do the choppers and planes control like doo-doo? There is this artificial sway to these things that makes the mother f*ckers seesaw like crazy that drove me f*cking insane. And because of this entire scenarios are toned down for the sake of balance, because I feel like someone at Rockstar realized you don't have the controls to be as finese as you need to be in those sequences.
You're not going ot be shot down out of your chopper/plane, you're not going to be tested, most of your struggles in missions with planes and choppers is getting to a certain point. And really any struggle you have in those missions is battling the vehicle and less the enemies. In fact this one part where I had to land a giant tanker thing on a flat bed was probably the most infuriating thing I dealt with in a game.
How about this for a solution Rockstar? Make less shitty controls? why is basic shit a thing? All I read on Gaf or SW about this game is Rockstars attention to detail, but all I see is them messing up basic shit. It's okay this warm up.
More F*cking Grand Theft Auto
If you haven't gotten the hint, yes I am far away from calling GTA 5 great. But it's not a mechanical thing. Mechanics are workable, something I can deal with. The real issue here with GTA 5 is that it's just ....well Liquid described the game as ambitious, and polished, and blah blah blah and devoid of fun. I disagree. It's not devoid of fun, it's fun in spots definitely. It's a much better playground than GTA 4 ever was. GTA 4 was boredom fuel in the form of a 60 dollar videogame. RDR had you doing chores. And well I'm against doing work in videogames. I like Marston, but that game was far from being devoid of boredom.
GTA 5's real problem is that it isn't ambitious at all. Not one bit. Not even remotely. At least not in single player. Still remains to be seen if the MP is legit, but the solo play ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, cry babies of all ages is the same f*cking game Rockstar has been making since 2001. The city might look bigger, it might be more detailed, there maybe novelties in this game to sell the immersion and everything, but the game? The fundamental what you are interacting with game? is the same f*cking game they made for the last 12 years.
You go to point A, you watch a scene, you got to point B, you kill dudes, you run away from cops, cops lose you, and the mission is completed. The curtains might be new, someone bought new furniture, and you even went through the trouble of redoing the entire garden. But the house is still the same house it always was. It just got a face lift. And that's all GTA 5 is. It's GTA 3, Vice City, San Andreas, 4, and hey lets throw in Red Dead while we're at it because get real it basically was a GTA game, but in a western. Most of the missions you do in this game you have done time and time and time and time again in plenty of other sandbox games. Except without the effervescent personality of a Saints Row or the raw badassery of a Sleeping Dogs.
But just as mind numbing as those two games,and yeah just as erratic in its pacing. What makes the game enjoyable so much are the heists. Those are the big new kids on the block for GTA, and those are what Rockstar bet their marbles on as far as the main plot line was concerned. Most of those are good misisons. They are lenghty, have you switching between characters, and juggling multiple gameplay mechanics to get the job done. There is a sense of accomplishment you get for these missions if you get everything to go smoothly. Especially given the preplanning and work you have to do. But none of that boring real life work, with no payoff like most videogames. Set up for a gameplay sequence work. Justified within the context of the game and the narrative to make me go "okay I'm willing to meet you half way here".
Sounds too nice for you guys? Okay, well Rockstar being the kings of underwhelming decision makers that they are pulled punches. The system is shallow. First of all it's a basic binary decision making moment. Where you either do it one way or another. But, once you pick you are stuck down that route. The Last of Us is a binary game as well. Action or Stealth, but you have more room to do a little bit of emergent gameplay. Limited and shallow sure, but enough to make it more than a binary game. GTA 5? Binary. Don't tell yourself otherwise.
And when it comes to the preplanning it never evolves past the initial mission. You pick dudes, they will either be good or sloppy on the mission, and they might cost you some money. They can't die, they improve after every mission, and their price stays the same. The thing is once you do that first heist, you have enough money to never worry about money as far as the game is concerned. Unless you're that into buying property(which meh), you can do that heist, and then just keep going on your missions. You have enough money to keep buying guns and extra shit. There is no weight to your planning and picking people. No punishment.
You plebs: Um there is a scoring system champ
A half assed one that you don't know the criteria for until after the mission ends. Yes a lot of them maybe simply do the mission really quick with x amount of head shots. But in between there is random requirements, like don't run over dudes on the movie set or some other crap you don't know about until you finish the mission. Meaning to actually care about getting gold medals, and be challenged by the game you need to essentially beat the game to know the requirements of those missions. Way to Go Rockstar.
So every new addition while adding enough to make the game more fun than its predecessor(and lets be fair GTA 4 sucked), but not enough to overrule the fact that really you spent 60 bucks on a videogame that is a better looking version of the type of videogame Rockstar has now officially made 5 times(4 if you don't want to count Red Dead Redemption). Get mad.
ROCKSTAR, Story, Come on Son
And normally I just dismiss videogame stories, as LOL VIDEOGAME STORIES. Because what kind of profound sadness has to enter your life to need to go to a videogame for a narrative fix? I mean seriously. But again I like John Marston, and after this game, I discovered Red Dead Redemption is either
A: A fluke
B: I'm completely ignoring the poorly written middle section of that game way too much.
Yes like all of you I thought Trevor made a great first impression. He's exactly the kind of anti-hero modern TV has been built upon lately, Franklin was likeable and set to be CJ tier, and Michael was generally funny. But, LOL ITS A VIDEOGAME STORY. The plot is way too contrived, with one too many scenarios just falling into everyones lap, with no rhyme or reason or any sort of cohesion that is going on.
The game has all these enemies for our 3 protagonists. Gangbangers, Triads, shady FIB, private military douche bags(probably could have just stopped at private military to get that point across), and they all bounce around with no real sense of progression until you deal with them all in one pretty badass final mission. Again good gameplay payoff, but it creates a lot of narrative filler.
It also doesn't help that all 3 of our leads are completely uninteresting as characters. You see while Rockstar may understand what an ANti-hero is, they don't get why they get liked so much on TV or in film. What makes an anti-hero doesn't necessarily require the audience to find the character likeable. Sure it helps, but you don't necessarily need to settle for likeable, bad guy. No what they also can do is try to make the character intriguing, interesting, or fascinating to their audience. Rockstar doesn't do that.
Trevor before it's all said and done is one note of pure crazy, and that shit becomes grating. That style of character has historically worked as a parallel(see Joker to Batman) or a side character that isn't in the limelight. But pure crazy without anything to keep the player interested gets tiring, and that's Trevor. You get over his political bullshit, his "unhinged and disconnected from society" life style, and what you get is a crazy character. Who has his moments, but ultimately is one note(read one note, not one dimensional, they are two different things).
It also doesn't help that Franklin is just there after a point. After about the half way mark he might as well not even be involved in the plot, as he just seems to be third wheel in this story. And too much of the story relies on the innevitable Michael vs Trevor face off where they go over what happened 9 years ago. It's stupid, you figure it out on your own, and it fails in providing a cathersis for either character or the player involved. Also Michaell seems super f*cking oblivious to how much of a dick he is up until the end.
And as far as satire goes? Like the game it's the same shit Rockstar has been f*cking make for 12 years. It's the same joke, it's updated with the whole 1 percenter routine, but they are like a year or 2 behind on making those jokes. Rockstar we get it at this point. America is super full of shit, that was funny, the first 400 times you said it. But the last 300 times have been kind of a drag, get a new set of jokes. You're as devoid of new material as I am. That's kind of lame, considering I have like 3 or 4 jokes max, and most of my routine is just cursing and belittling my audience.
Oh and for everyone that again knocks UC2, I never wanna hear you talk shit about that game and then not say it about GTA 5. This is a cinematic action game in every sense of the f*cking word. There are plenty of sequences where control is ripped away from the player for them to watch Rockstar do something pretty with their graphics engine or create a cinematic view. I get it Dan Houser, you couldn't make it in the realm of a good artistic medium, so you settled for videogames. But this is just sad at times.
But it's okay, I got one more thing to kick GTA in the gut for.
Not to Use a Cliche, But
It's a god damn Novelty. Everyone is going to point out to me how you can golf, how you can play tennis, random events, deer, this big open city, 3 protagnosits, strip clubs, how seanmcloughlin made a pretty funny video about stealing a jet from the army base, blah blah blah blah blab blah.
Listen I am not discounting the game as a playground. It's a fun play ground, it's the most fun playground Rockstar has had since San Andreas. It's kind of a shame there isn't a jet pack, but Rockstar wanted to have their playground cake with their we are serious and up our own ass cake as well, and eat both(fat asses clearly). Listen if you're into that stuff, more power to you. Me? I'm into that in a MP environment, but for solo play that shit becomes mind numbing.
Can it be fun? sure
But it's limited, it has a shelf life, it has a "why the f*ck should I care" feel to it. Which actually is my response to all the extra shit. I could do it, but why the f*ck should I?
Fun? I can play better tennis or golf games. The main missions are more attractive than the rampage missions. The assassination stuff is fun, I'll admit that. I definitely won't do anything that requires me to use a chopper and plane when I have the option to avoid it. Also Tow trucking? I don't hate myself enough to do that. That is work inside of a videogame. I won't do work. I work 2 jobs in real life, why would I want to work in a videogame?
Still not getting the point? Anything you can call "ambitious" or "impressive" or "detailed" or "they thought of everything" when it comes to GTA 5 is superficial stuff. Novelties. Fluff. Bullshit not actually worth my time or effort. It's devoid of any meaningful subsance both on a gameplay level or a narrative level, it doesn't mask your interactions being by the numbers wack a mole cover shooting.
Wack a mole cover shooting that just feels archaic in comparison to games that focus on being cover shooters. More to the point? Grand Theft Auto since 2001 to today in 2013 with GTA 5 is a Jack of all trades, master of none type of game. It has all these elements in the game, and does none of them at a high enough level to satisfy in any meaningful way a videogame can. You can't really be challenged by it, it's lacking in depth, and it doesn't have the bonus of doing something new as it's usually behind the curve of a game that already has those mechanics and does it better.
Make no mistake about it, I think you should definitely play and enjoy GTA 5. It's a fun shooter. It's a solid shooter. It's a polished videogame. It's the best videogame Rockstar has made since San Andreas. Hell it is their best videogame(yes Liquid, that is how low I think of Rockstar if that was your reaction to that statement).
But as far as Champ Hall of Fame is concerned, or how they stack up in the white hot light of truth? It doesn't do anything to change my opinion on Rockstar. In fact I'm happy enough to say that I ate zero crow because of this game. It's more f*cking Rockstar, with less of the suck.
For all of the Rockstar is above Saints Row, above Voilition, they can barely make a better game, while spending way more money? At least Saints Row is aware of how shallow it is, but Rockstar? Not really. They seem to think they are kings, and sure their financial side is definitely the stuff of kings. But the quality of their work? Well they are like Lamar from GTA 5. He thinks he's some hard ass f*ck tough guy, really he's a punk ass bitch.
Rockstar? Meh it could be worse, they could be Bungie out of 10
What can I say Mooksi, we'll meet each other halfway on every other videogame opinion, but Rockstar.
Oh and side note. Rockstar. I want a game with a character like Trevor(no I don't care how one note he got, I still remember the parts I liked) in a game that plays like Max Payne 3(mechanicallY). Max was a total pusscake in that game ruining all my fun. Trevor is perfect for a game where you are killing people in such badass ways.
She would be a horrible hand job, but I imagine she's an amazing anger bang. All that strength just hitting you, while you're hittin it.