The 'GRAND THEFT AUTO V' Sequel That Never Was

"If it bleeds, it leads."That's an old saying in the news media. Basically means  violence equals ratings. If you’re putting together a newscast, you put the violence at the top. Funny, then, how that same media just loves to point fingers when violence happens. In fact, that's a perfect example of media reflecting society. It's never our fault, you know? It’s not light parenting, its heavy music.


 It’s not violent people, its violent video games. On the other hand, you have to admit  video games don't do themselves any favors, you know? I mean, there are innocent victims  but in this game, they're usually being run overbuy cars. There are easy targets, and then there's Grand Theft Auto. Grand Theft Auto V is just  a conundrum, of a thing. 


It's a thing that really thinks it’s something profound, and it expresses that by letting you tow plastic cars and touch plastic tits. It's a thing people defend from critics, right after slaughtering their eighteenth police squadron. So in a way, it's also a fitting thing. It's fitting that a game so critical of modern society would have so much in common with that society. 


Assign blame, but don't worry much about your own responsibility. Criticize everything, even if you don't have a point. It’s, like  Grand Theft Auto V is like the interactive equivalent of an Internet troll. It has boatloads of snarky, and about enough ideas to fit on a jet ski. 


The thing is  jet skis are a pretty f*caking good time. So for obvious reasons, there's a lot of hype over this thing. And that hype is both deserved and overblown. Beneath all the sex and violence and Grand Theft Auto-nests, there's just more  Grand Theft Auto-nests. 


It's the same open-world celebration of depravity that it's always been. Lots of driving, lots of shooting, a little tennis and alien invasions, caused by bad pot. Or maybe good pot depending on your preference. See, it's less a video game than a toy box for your inner-most hedonistic desires. 


You’re free to do whatever you want; wherever you want with whomever you want. Unrestricted freedom. That's the driving point of GTA V. Of course, that's also the only point of GTAV, but to its credit it really does try to be more. You play as three very different people, with very different backgrounds and unexpected parallels. In fact, that's the most interesting thing about GTA V. 


Franklin is this young thug who dreams of something bigger, but doesn't even know what that might be. Trevor is this deranged sociopath, as well as a former friend of Michael who's a middle-aged ex-criminal with lots of money, even more regrets and a broken family. And he'd fix things, but he has no idea how. And his shrink isn't much help. And you know, it's a weird juxtaposition.


 You swap back and forth between these interesting, interconnected characters, which drive this rich story, with great writing it’s those moments when GTA V really is the smart game it thinks it is.  And how does the gameplaycontribute? Oh, you know shoot people; steal cars, run from cops. Don’t get me wrong. GTA V is a bigger and prettier GTA, on a scale that is genuinely stunning. But on the other hand it's still just a bigger and prettier GTA. Which is ironic, given how much the game criticizes other games, for being "pretty much the same as the last game.


"Now, to the game's credit while one is definitely more interesting than the other, the gameplayand the story have a brilliant contrast in terms of tone. And to me, that's when the game felt special. For example, Michael is this broken man genuinely trying to fix his relationship with his kids by swimming out to his daughter, tossing some guy off the boat and escaping on a stolen jet ski. 


Yeah, the game play is mostly familiar  but in GTA V, there's always this great dynamic between what you're doing and why you're doing it. That contrast of placing the game's trademark excess within the context of everyday, domesticated situations that's when GTA V is really onto something brilliant. Brilliant. A lot of people will tell you this thing is just that. Brilliant. And in a lot of ways, they're right. The writing, the characters, this huge, dynamic setting brilliant. 


Button me; the idea has always been more brilliant than the product. To me, Grand Theft Autos like the boardwalk of video games. There are lots of places that do this stuff better, but the boardwalk brings them all together, in one place, with hot chicks everywhere. Make a bigger boardwalk, multiply the games and add hotter chicks. And that's Grand Theft Auto V.


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