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Review

Grand Theft Auto Online Review

  • First Released Sep 17, 2013
    released
  • Reviewed Oct 11, 2013
  • PS3
  • PS3
Aaron Sampson on Google+

Rough and semi-ready.

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She came from far away, flying in to Los Santos International late one night. It wasn't what she was running away from that mattered anymore. The past was past. It was the opportunities in her future she cared about. As her plane flew over, she looked out at the city, thinking of the possibilities that awaited her there.

Grand Theft Auto Online is full of possibilities. My character has engaged in some run-of-the-mill criminal activities, holding up stores and getting into shootouts. But this isn't what excites her about Los Santos. No, what she loves are the opportunities to race helicopters over the mansions in the Vinewood Hills, to get into tank battles near the forests of Great Chaparral, to dogfight in fighter planes over Fort Zancudo. For a while, she fell in with a mysterious criminal wearing a pig mask, and they committed crimes together and played golf and tennis together like a modern-day, fitness-oriented Bonnie and Clyde.

Glory days.
Glory days.

The sheer variety of things to do with and against other players in Grand Theft Auto Online's open world is its greatest asset. No individual element measures up to more focused games. As a multiplayer racing game, it's no Forza or Burnout. As an online shooter, it's not as exciting as the multiplayer in The Last of Us. Its sports offerings aren't going to compete with Tiger Woods or Top Spin. But none of those games let you do more than a fraction of the things GTA Online lets you do, and GTA Online does the things it does well enough for them to be really enjoyable. When you're hopping along from one exciting activity to the next, GTA Online is exhilarating.

I've found myself more invested in the stylish, enigmatic character I created than I ever was in Michael or Franklin or Trevor.

Unfortunately, sometimes the world behaves in ways that put a stop to your fun. GTA Online's stability has improved considerably since it first launched, but in that time, many players have lost characters and properties they've purchased, which is no minor setback. Low-level characters don't have access to most of GTA Online's best content. Early on, your mission options are dominated by bland last team standing deathmatches. GTA Online doesn't put its best foot forward right away, which is unfortunate even for new players, but it's doubly unfortunate to have to rise through the ranks a second time. Losing property is also a tremendous setback, given that it takes a lot of time to earn enough cash for the nicer homes in the game.

Then there are a host of smaller but still significant issues. Matches sometimes fail to start, leaving you stranded in lobbies. Races sometimes hitch up, and competitors sometimes warp around the environment. You might be cruising along minding your own business only to get a message informing you that you've been kicked from the game by other players, and when you return, even though you didn't do anything wrong, you're warned that if you keep behaving like this, you'll be designated a bad sport and be forced to play with all the other jerks.

Don't question the idea of a two-bit criminal being given access to a fighter jet. Just go with it.
Don't question the idea of a two-bit criminal being given access to a fighter jet. Just go with it.

Rockstar is giving everyone who has played GTA Online up to this point half a million in online cash, a nice gesture, but there's no replacing lost characters you might have grown attached to. GTA Online doesn't attempt to create a tightly woven narrative around your character's exploits. Instead, it provides a very loose-fitting structure in which your silent character occasionally comes into contact with the likes of Lester, Trevor and other characters from the single-player game. As my imagination has filled in the gaps, I've found myself more invested in the stylish, enigmatic character I created than I ever was in Michael or Franklin or Trevor.

As other players approach you, you might feel a knot of anticipation in your stomach as you wonder if they'll ignore you and go about their business, or risk their lives in an attempt to kill you and take some of the cash you're carrying.

The world is identical to that of the single-player game, but with all the outlandish activities you constantly get up to, it feels pleasantly disconnected from the Los Santos of GTAV. This is a Grand Theft Auto fever dream in which no narrative justification is needed before you're parachuting off of a skyscraper or hopping into a jet to pursue opposing players speeding down the freeway in sports cars. GTA Online largely does away with story to make room for gleeful chaos.

At least, the chaos is usually gleeful. Sometimes other players in the open world can go out of their way to be jerks and keep attacking you, but you can enable passive mode for a paltry $100 which makes it so that you can't shoot or be shot, and the fact that activities are instanced means that you won't find your golf game interrupted by joyriders mowing you down in a sports car. When you're not doing an activity, there's typically an exciting element of danger as you traverse the open world. As other players approach you, you might feel a knot of anticipation in your stomach as you wonder if they'll ignore you and go about their business, or risk their lives in an attempt to kill you and take some of the cash you're carrying. Smart players bank their cash frequently to avoid significant losses, and although the game advises you to go to the nearest ATM, you can actually do this quickly from anywhere just by using the internet on your phone, which almost makes the entire distinction between cash and money in the bank pointless.

Someday, this could all be yours.
Someday, this could all be yours.

You can interact with other players indirectly, too, calling Lester and kicking in cash to put bounties on other players, which marks them as red blips on the map. (It's exciting and scary to be on the other end of that situation, too, getting the message that another player has put a few grand on your head and knowing you're about to be hunted by every lowlife in town.) Events occur periodically in the world, too, that foster competition between players. Sometimes a particular vehicle that car dealer and legitimate businessman Simeon wants becomes marked on the map for all players, and whoever gets it back to the dealership first reaps the rewards. And often, the mayhem that other players are generating on their own contributes a surreal sense of life to Los Santos. You might see a huge police chase go speeding past you, or happen upon someone just cruising down the street in an propeller plane for no apparent reason.

For me, though, it's the structured activities that will keep me coming back to Grand Theft Auto Online. It's missions like Roadgame, in which you race other players up the beautiful coastal highway to collect some coke, then go on a winding car chase through the hills to deliver it first. It's the opportunity to race planes through the skyscrapers of downtown as the sunset paints the sky gorgeous shades of orange and purple. Even though homes in the game are essentially just places to take in picturesque views of the city and spectate other players in "news broadcasts" on TV, I've got my eye on a particular highrise luxury apartment. I actually want my character to succeed, to make something of herself here and rise above the brutal streets of Los Santos.

Los Santos doesn't look as sharp or lively online as off. Texture pop-in is much more noticeable, and there's less traffic on the roads. But it's still a diverse and gorgeous setting, and in GTA Online, it gives you more fun stuff to do with other players than any other open world action game. The unpredictable human element is both an asset and a liability, and the technical problems that have plagued it are far too significant to be ignored. But when it clicks, as it often does, there's nothing quite like GTA Online.

Back To Top
The Good
Wonderful variety of missions and activities
Gorgeous, diverse world serves as a backdrop to your adventures
Plenty of opportunity to have memorable adventures with friends
The Bad
Plagued with bugs and performance problems
Most of the early content is bland
7
Good
About GameSpot's Reviews
Other Platform Reviews for Grand Theft Auto V

About the Author

Carolyn has been a huge fan of the Grand Theft Auto games ever since she hit the streets of Liberty City in GTA III. She is definitely not currently wanted by police in 17 states.

Other Takes on Grand Theft Auto V

Brett Todd loves the GTA series, and untold hours of his life have gone into playing GTAs III through V.
Read Review
747 Comments  RefreshSorted By 
GameSpot has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to toxic conduct in comments. Any abusive, racist, sexist, threatening, bullying, vulgar, and otherwise objectionable behavior will result in moderation and/or account termination. Please keep your discussion civil.

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Cromash

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Once again ruining GTA reviews.

Why didn't you wait for the major update this week before writing your array of sodomy and self-reflection? you big nipple

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dutchgamer83

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@Cromash *sighs* Once again gamers get a bad name cause they have people like Cromash calling themselves gamers. Look dude, get over it.


Why they didn't wait a week for the major update? Cause so many games come with major updates but already recieved a review. They can't keep waiting weeks and weeks for a major update. Hell Rockstar should have beta tested it better, and other studios as well. Many things could have been prevented and dealt with before launch. If they don't well this is the result.


Really, why o why am i as gamer getting compared to people like you? Who demand someone getting fired cause she didn't give a 9 out of 10....who send death threats too developers for alterning the stats of a gun in CoD.....really, stop calling yourselfs gamers this gets anoying and redicoulase. 9 out of 10 was a great score, 10 out of 10 shouldn't even excist for games cause there is no such thing as the perfect game. And a 7 out of 10 for the MP doesn't make the score for GTA 5 lower then the 9 out of 10. Get over it, continue to play the game you love and stop the ethernal crusade and insults. Grow up, cause they way you post doesn't sugest you have the age to even play GTA 5.

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Cromash

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@dutchgamer83 @Cromash Dutch people shouldn't be allowed to write in English it makes them sound like little otters in the wind.

Did I ask for her to be fired? She's the editor you massive shlong.

In this analogy are you asking others to compare myself to you or are you just flouting your gaming attributes? i.e. inappropriate, infertile & incredibly boring.

If you believe that you can deny my right to comment on an open-comment review then you are mistaken. It seems like your post belongs on your twitter account so people know how you despise death threats, you big celebrity protector you. DEFY THE MASSES.

Listen, strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony.

I don't want to talk to you no more, you empty headed animal food trough wiper. I fart in your general direction. Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries.

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Cromash

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Edited By Cromash

@dutchgamer83 @Cromash Read a fucking book. Put your shirt on and stay the **** away from nightclubs. This experience has been most influential in my learning the way in which to speak wurdz. Try watching Monty Python you kanigget!

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dutchgamer83

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@Cromash @dutchgamer83 Lol:

1. I don't even have twitter i despise twitter.

2. Atleast i can speak another language.


3. You just proofed to everyone you don't have the age to play GTA 5

4. I think its time you people stop bitching about the score when it was a high score. Or do you feel less of a man in RL cause your game didn't get a 10 out of 10.


5. People like you really shouldn't be allowed comment indeed. Cause you little kids need to insult people all the time. Not having the capacity to write normal comments. Try that for once instead of proofing my point you aren't mature enough to play GTA 5 with such childish insulting posts. Do you talk like that in RL too others hm? Do you think this reviewer will quit her job cause you called her a big nipple? Really, grow up, you should be denied commenting yes if you can't comment on a normal level.



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NYSailorScout

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@Cromash Stop weeping. And the only one who brought sodomy into the picture was you, so we know what is on your mind.

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Cromash

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@NYSailorScout @Cromash How very profound of you, sailor boy. Are you discriminating against me because I appreciate 10+ inches of filling? I fart in your general direction you english pig dog.

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Xyllix

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Edited By Xyllix

@NYSailorScout @Cromash Nice comeback full of insight, clearly demolished all of his valid points. Good job dude.

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Assassingirl015

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@Cromash Lol

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Deamon59

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i would say this review is fairly accurate and well written, having played gta v online, but to go back to the whole single player rating controversy, i can see the game being a 9, but i do agree that the misogynistic comment did not fit the game in the sense that it took away from it. it was simply a part of the game that was designed as satire, just like violence, pop culture, etc.

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Warlord_Irochi

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It's fun. A big multiplayer playground. Still nothing as shocking and amazing as the single player game is.

A 7 suits it fine.

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Gomtor

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I cant comment on the online, because Im still busy with the SP. The game is good, with excellent open world, but I struggle to really get into the game. It is beautiful on the outside, but it is kind of hollow inside.

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analgrin

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@Gomtor It depends on how you play. The only minor trouble with GTA is that it mimics real life too closely, in that life itself can be boring. I find the missions themselves are entertaining but driving from one side of the map to another just to start a mission can get tedious. That is why from the start I use taxis to fast travel anywhere that would take more than a minute or 2 to drive. That alone helps the game move at a faster pace. Or steal a helicopter or plane if you're close to a helipad/airport.

Just like life it's as interesting or boring as you make it.

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ianpac

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OMG! the misandry spoils the whole game........ Oh wait ,you get to be a female murderer and the man is a pig. Guess everything is right with the world again

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felipe_k3

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Edited By felipe_k3

@ianpac It is just hipocryte

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plark2

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PS: NICE REVIEW CAROYLN

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plark2

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THE ONE WHO CAME WITH THE IDEA TO TAKE "DOWNLOAD OPTION" OUT, SHOULD GET FIRED!!!!!

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metalguitar13

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Edited By metalguitar13

Point of the online is to play with your friends and explore the city. The problem with reviewing stuff like this is it's always going to change and improve. The point of an online game is to have fun with your friends and if every game's online was given a score then I can imagine that coop and open world online games will get 7s all around.

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AyatollaofRnR

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Yes, but is it politically muddled and profoundly misogynistic?

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bledsoe45sbc

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@AyatollaofRnR then turning around and giving a "profoundly misogynistic" game a 9.0 is beyond cowardly . everyone that agrees needs to watch the annoyed gamers on gametrailers , because this reviewer and gamespot in general is a major offender

http://www.gametrailers.com/videos/qnu5mq/annoyed-gamer-taking-on-the-serial-complainers

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felipe_k3

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@bledsoe45sbc @AyatollaofRnR All this modern era crap, having to agree with every crap society throws at you is annoying. Now it made its way to video games and it's only going to get worse. Trying to force their opinions on people's face, seeing what they think it's normal as normal, when it isn't.

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D-Man

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Edited By D-Man

@bledsoe45sbc @AyatollaofRnR I read your comment three times and still can't figure out what you are trying to say. Video didn't clear anything up, either. Some dude still in his bathroom and unshaved at three in the afternoon, whoopdeedoo. Carolyn gave the game a 9.0 but also mentioned it was "profoundly misogynistic", which was totally within her ethical right to do. It sounds like she doesn't need to stop complaining so much as you need to stop taking game reviews so damn seriously.

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AyatollaofRnR

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Edited By AyatollaofRnR

@bledsoe45sbc @sadface1234 @d-man Yes, I think it was far more a political point than anything. Using the review as a platform.

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bledsoe45sbc

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@sadface1234 @bledsoe45sbc @d-man sorry i find the charge "profoundly misogynistic" is much more serious than you . in my mind its like she just call rockstar racist , and not because she believes they are , just because she wants to change the gaming industry

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felipe_k3

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@sadface1234 @bledsoe45sbc @d-man She didn't, because her ******** thirst was fulfilled by killing men online( she was a man, the irony)

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felipe_k3

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@d-man hey there white knight, came to save the day?

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sadface1234

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Edited By sadface1234

@bledsoe45sbc @d-man after watching the video you posted, I kind of laughed. I don't see Carolyn shoehorning in anything. How I understood her review of GTAV SP she didn't think the misogyny was that big of a problem to warrant more then a point deduction. You seemed confused why she didn't knock off more, you seemed to be getting caught up more in a comment then she ever was...

So watching the video when he basically states "its a video game, but some people see things in nothing" I can turn around and say the same thing. What Carolyn's said and what I saw was that she created a female character and she met a random guy in pig mask, She did not make any connection in her review of GTA online to misogyny. You did and the other commentators did... Who are the serial complainers?

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bledsoe45sbc

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@d-man and for the record , I don't disagree with carolyns goals of gaming being more inclusive to women , gays , and all races , I do have a problem when its shoehorned in to everything she writes .

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bledsoe45sbc

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Edited By bledsoe45sbc

@d-man I have no problem with a game being criticized , I have a major problem when fault is found to further a political agenda and not inform the consumer about a games content . calling a game and by extent its creators profoundly women hating then giving it a great score is muddled and definitely has a political agenda .

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xnight_ninjax

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This persons voice is just awful.

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Slade968

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@DarkTempest7

I had to whitelist GS

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SurfaceNerd

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Well now i started GTA online, and let me tell you i am having a blast! level 18, i am in the gamespot crew! so if there are people to do missions 3 hours straight count me in !

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G4mBi7

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@DarkTempest7 My adblock is on and i can watch the videos, what kind of shitty adblock are you using.

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G4mBi7

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Edited By G4mBi7

Oh man where to begin, another review riddled with contradictions. How can you say "Wonderful variety of missions and activities" yet critique it for "Most of the early content is bland". Do you even understand the nonsense you are spewing?

Moving on, I lost character data as well however, Rockstar mentioned that the first two weeks would be like open beta and that people can keep playing but there is the risk, we were all aware so i can't really hold them at fault especially since they have had a stellar performance compared to other launches, such as sim city and diablo 3.


The impression i get is that you just don't know how to have fun in this game, from the story mode to online. You haven't had a single credible con in relation to this game, in a years time after more content is added and all of the bugs are fixed are your going to review the game again? Highly doubtful, so as a "credible" journalist, shouldn't you have waited until the game was in a stable state and heists were added before doing a review?

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Warlord_Irochi

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Edited By Warlord_Irochi

@G4mBi7 Put his comment in bold letter to call people's attention... I automatically ignore it because I see self-entittlement incoming.

EDIT: Ok, read a little bit: yup! self entitlement galore.

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sadface1234

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@G4mBi7 @G4mBi7 Dont think you understand what she was trying to say. She said that GTA online does not put its BEST foot foward, as in the missions you are pigeoned holed into doing in the early levels are bland and you get to the "good stuff" later. BUT since peoples profiles are being reset you need to do the "bland" early level stuff multiple times potentially which can get annoying.

She didn't use any complicated vocabulary, don't see how you thought she was contradictory. considering that other people understood her clearly I think you are the barrier. Also she gave GTA V a 9 out of 10. More like she said one sentence that you didn't like and you got your panties in a twist... I am not the biggest fan of Carolyn's reviewing style, but you are clearly the biased one NOT her.

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woodyfr

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@sadface1234 @G4mBi7 Good stuff later ? Not really. It's mainly go to point A, kill/destroy/steal the THING, go to point B.

When I want to play tennis or darts no one wants to play, and don't forget those who play the same mission or race again and again.

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analgrin

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@G4mBi7 Even though you've spelled out exactly what she said you seem to have trouble understanding her meaning.

Let me re-phrase it. When you first start the game you have no (or very limited) access to good weapons, Flying vehicles and the only missions you get are death matches. (This is what she means by "most of the EARLY content is bland") . . . the key word you seem to have missed is "EARLY"

Then once you level up to double figures or more you gain access to more weapons, more varied missions (drug runs, aeroplane races etc) and generally have much more fun stuff to do. Therefore after a good few hours of play there is a "Wonderful variety of missions and activities"

Both statements are true and are not contradicting each other. I think you are spewing more nonsense than Carolyn


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dutchgamer83

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@G4mBi7 Just get over it okay? Had they given GTA5 a 4 out of 10 cause of her point of view how woman are portrayed in this game you would have all the right to make such a huge deal out of it. The game scored a 9 out of 10. And frankly any reviewer giving GTA 5 a 10 out of 10 is full of BS. There is no such thing as the perfect game. But sadly to please the mainstream kids these days they have to trow out 10 out of 10's cause most reviewers these days are mainstream fanboys as well and no longer game journalists. Really people get a F'ing life or stick to your F'ing game and don't come here when you keep crying about a 9 out of 10 and how much injustice has been done to you. Really i hate this generation of gamers, what a bunch of spoiled pathetic kids. I remember a day where a 7 out of 10 meant your game was a great game to play. But now we go on crusades cause it only scored a 9 out of 10.


And really G4mBi7 you post it every where in these comments. Saying it makes no sense that she gives it still a high score if she doesn't like how woman are portrayed. Well then you clearly didn't even take the F'ing effort to read or watch the review. Cause then you would have heard her say that it doesn't hinder the fun of the game. That the game is great but would have liked to see more developed female chars as the male chars are strong well made characters. Yeah it is silly to say that in a GTA game where they just take a piss on society and how idiotic the world has become. But the game didn't score a whole point less cause of not giving the woman a better role in the game. Other reviewers who didn't blindly gave it a 10 out of 10 mentioned issues performance wise and such too.


Now stop childish crusade, this isn't a great game that scored a low score. This is a great game that scored a great score and if you can't accept that, then dudes go to the F'ing shrink cause you people have some serious issues in life when you entire life derails cause of a 9 out of 10. Really you need help if you a month after still feel like your world has been shattered. And don't go like "Its not that, its because we think your political points of view should stay out of a review" blabla BULLSH@T. Most of you burned her down cause it wasn't a 10 out of 10. You didn't give a single F about a political point of view at all. This pisses me off, its not like other reviewers here who burn down a game that scored high every where else just to be that other reviewer who gave a low score and really had no meaningful reasons to do that. This was a 9 out of 10 get over it.

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D-Man

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@G4mBi7 LoL yeah she just "doesn't know how to have fun with it"! That makes sense!

The game has flaws, get over it.

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RobDev

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Edited By RobDev

@G4mBi7 "Oh man where to begin, another review riddled with contradictions. How can you say "Wonderful variety of missions and activities" yet critique it for "Most of the early content is bland". Do you even understand the nonsense you are spewing?" because once you get through the early bland stuff the rest is good. Do you even understand what YOU are posting?

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JimmyCos

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It's a good start, but sadly they were not prepared for this. I think they should have started with multiplayer early as San Andreas, but they postponed it to V. Bad idea.

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ItsEvolution

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Edited By ItsEvolution

@JimmyCos GTA IV had online multiplayer.

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pwc2

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Very good review in my honest opinion. There aren't that many online games that is as diverse in different activities as GTA Online.

Is it perfect? Well No, Does it have issues? Yes, ....but at least RockStar is a much better company than EA!

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metalguitar13

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Edited By metalguitar13

@pwc2 At least EA can get their servers working in a day and not delete your characters because of faulty cloud servers.

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mestre12

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Edited By mestre12

@metalguitar13 @pwc2 It just delete your Entire City.

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tntgrunge5

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Not homofobic, but Im sick of this individual.

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VillNess

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@tntgrunge5 Why do you hate yourself..?

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TonnFool23

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@VillNess @tntgrunge5 He means the bloody reviewer...or are you just dumb to understand that?

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NYSailorScout

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@TonnFool23 @VillNess @tntgrunge5 It went completely over your head, eh?

Grand Theft Auto V More Info

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  • First Released Sep 17, 2013
    released
    • PC
    • PlayStation 3
    • + 3 more
    • PlayStation 4
    • Xbox 360
    • Xbox One
    Grand Theft Auto V is an open-world crime epic set in the LA-inspired city of Los Santos around the lives of Franklin, a street hustler looking for real opportunities; Michael, a professional ex-con whose retirement isn't all he hoped it would be; and Trevor, a violent psychopath.
    8.9
    Average Rating4961 Rating(s)
    Please Sign In to rate Grand Theft Auto V
    Developed by:
    Rockstar North
    Published by:
    Rockstar Games, Take-Two Interactive
    Genre(s):
    Adventure, Open-World, 3D, First-Person, Third-Person, Shooter, Action
    Theme(s):
    Crime, Violent, Modern
    Content is generally suitable for ages 17 and up. May contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language.
    Mature
    Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Mature Humor, Nudity, Strong Language, Strong Sexual Content, Use of Drugs and Alcohol