Tuesday, October 22, 2013


You're probably wondering where I've been the past few months. You've probably wondered if I've been brutally murdered after finding myself in debt to the Underground Ostrich Racing League (UORL). I have. I'm writing this from another plane of existence.

But we have more pressing matters to discuss. Grand Theft Auto V was released about a month ago, and, naturally, one would think a guy who writes about prevalent pop culture odds and ends would have a few words to say. And I do, now that I've actually finished the main campaign and can talk from a place other than my butt. Although, admittedly, it's a nice butt - just misinformed in a few areas. Since I, the writer, and you, the reader, lead very busy lives, I don't have time to carefully construct an in-depth article about GTA V, the game. Instead, here's a quick blow-by-blow question-and-answer setup with several queries I see often asked about the game along with my responses. So basically, heres a page of me talking to myself - kinda like Garfield without the Garfield. Oh yeah, there's spoilers, too.

It's the saddest thing you'll read without "Nicholas Sparks" in the byline.
I'm poor/stupid and haven't picked up the game yet. Should I?

Yes. GTA V is one of the most fun games I've ever played. It takes the immersive world of GTA IV and removes all the grittiness that took the joy out of that game. Missions range anywhere from assassinating a CEO to flying a biplane into another larger plane and then jumping out of that plane. I might be underselling it, but this game is mad creative. The world of Los Santos alone is worth the price of admission. It's about a 10 minute plane ride from one side of the map to the other - that's really freaking big if you're confused. And it's so crammed with secrets and side-missions that you could easily spend a day exploring.

Is GTA V misogynistic?

Absolutely. The series continues to feature male protagonists while presenting the only female characters as idiots or prostitutes. And the only serious woman in the game gets killed - in spectacular fashion, might I add. While I continue to play and see unimportant female characters, I also get the idea that the lovely designers at Rockstar don't really have an interest in adding more women. The world seems content with its depiction of each sex.

Did the torture mission go too far?

Yes, there's a mission that requires you to torture a man for information. No, it's not fun in anyway. And if I'm being honest, I don't think it really worked, even in the game's context. GTA V attempts to make a statement about torture as the mission wraps up, trying to say how torture doesn't work and it's only for the empowerment of the torturer. Nevertheless, it still puts the subject in mini-game form, and everything ends up as a really mixed message. The whole event seemed like a misfire to me.

Should Grand Theft Auto V win Game of the Year?

At this point, I don't really care about game of the year awards. For a long time, GOTY was won by whichever title had the most explosions or the badassiest characters. Now, that's all gone out the window. The Walking Dead threw a wrench into the whole operation by winning a number of GOTY awards and by being a point-and-click downloadable adventure game. This let me realize that there's no point into throwing such different titles together into one pool and deciding which one is objectively the best.

But if you had to ask me, I'd still go with BioShock Infinite for game of the year. Yeah, remember that one from way back in March? It's still in my head for having one of the best stories in gaming, told in a way only games could. And the actual gameplay of it isn't anything to sneeze at. I found myself several times having to take a moment to catch my breath after the big set piece battles. Most of that's from being overweight, but a good portion was caused by the sheer fun of the game. Lastly, Infinite did something GTA V never could - feel things. Like emotional things.

[SPOILER] It made Booker feel questionable things.
So there's a few of my thoughts on one of the biggest games to ever be released. Until the next undetermined time, stay classy, friends.

The man who killed me is named Eddie Thomas. Bring him to justice.