‘Grand Theft Auto V’ review: Stubborn sexism, violence ruin game play

Sept. 20, 2013 | 4:01 p.m.
This publicity photo released by Rockstar Games shows a screen shot from the video game, "Grand Theft Auto V." (Associated Press / Rockstar Games)

This publicity photo released by Rockstar Games shows a screen shot from the video game, “Grand Theft Auto V.” (Associated Press / Rockstar Games)

In 2001, the “Grand Theft Auto” franchise landed on the radar of mainstream culture by offending most everyone who wasn’t a gamer. Its carjacking, prostitutes and murder scenarios were defended as a satire of violent and misogynistic video game culture. Watchdog groups and politicians didn’t see the irony.

But beyond the controversy, its appeal was in its danger — a place where the kill-at-will, hypersexualized fantasy worlds of interactive entertainment were let loose in cities based on grown-up, real-world places (New York, Miami and now, once again, Los Angeles).

Today, the series has become a well-honed formula, a place guaranteed to deliver top-of-the line game mechanics in the most fully-realized digital worlds. Culturally, however, the franchise has hardly grown since 2001.

The first rape joke is delivered by a college-age boy who’s playing a violent video game. “I don’t care if you’re 12, I’ll still rape you,” he shouts at a character in the fictional game-within-a-game titled “Molested.”

Many “Grand Theft Auto” staples later — strip clubs, robberies and murders that come as easy as blowing bubbles — characters tune into a talk-radio show in which they’ll be advised to crush a woman’s sternum during sex. “Most women,” it’s reasoned, “love that.”

The need to offend has become shtick for the 16-year-old series, and at this point, it’s a tactic that’s exhausting at best. Consider it the video game equivalent of the MTV Video Music Awards. It exists because it’s too big to fail, and where it once represented risk-taking unpredictability, the franchise is now simply twerking its way into the headlines.

This week the game raked in $1 billion within three days of its Tuesday release. And it isn’t just the public who made this installment of the series the fastest-selling entertainment product ever. On the aggregation site Metacritic, it’s trending close to a 100 out of 100 among video game cognoscenti.

“Grand Theft Auto V,” which follows three morally corrupt men in “Los Santos” (the franchise’s take on Los Angeles), is technologically impressive in its re-creation of the world we actually live in. Its open universe is unparalleled, allowing players to go anywhere at nearly any time via cartoonishly high-speed car chases and an ability to swap between three characters at once.

But its stubborn sexism and stale social commentary is lazy at best; a relic from a time when games weren’t regularly offering thoughtful experiences.

Here a fancy boat is described as the kind “that makes a young impressionable girl drop her pants and spread her legs.” Lap dances are a game where you attempt to grope a girl out of view of security guards.

Yet the majority of the game critic community has decided to treat “Grand Theft Auto V’s” rampant misogyny and violence against women as a pesky housefly, a slight annoyance that doesn’t detract from all that’s remarkably polished. Though some of the defensiveness may be genuine for this ambitiously free-form game, it’s also rooted in the fear of being labeled as one of those clueless souls who doesn’t quite get the joke or, worse, is offended by it.

But much of this knee-jerk cheerleading is a lost opportunity. If “Auto V” had advanced as much culturally and emotionally as it has mechanically, it might merit the kudos and prove to those who write off games as immature just how far the medium has come.

Even attempts at social commentary here are embarrassingly one-dimensional. One hip coffeeshop brags that its tea is exploited from the Third World. There’s the Whole Foods-like store with a “shop with superiority” slogan, and a dumpster-diving movement of “freegans” are described as “nonproductive members of society by choice.” Perhaps they need to go back and take tips from “South Park,” a series that started around the same time.

As for its treatment of Los Angeles? Our city is certainly deserving of satire, and had “Grand Theft Auto” created a restaurant with a 45-page water menu, it might have been funny, but even LACMA’s Ray’s and Stark beat them to it. Instead, the denizens of Los Santos complain about casting directors, whine about scripts and sleep with producers. All that’s missing is a dingbat blond. Oh wait, that’s in there too.

For all its expertly detailed traffic patterns on freeways and city streets, creative takes on places like the Hollywood Bowl and Pershing Square and intricate heists, “Grand Theft Auto V” lacks the deft narrative touches of its modern-day peers. Naughty Dog’s “The Last of Us” and Telltale’s “The Walking Dead” prove that you can wring tears out of the zombie genre, and the tiny little border control game “Papers, Please” shows games can capture human desperation almost as deftly as film.

As the biggest game around, “Grand Theft Auto V” should be able to reach these notes and more. But just when you think the game has hit a groove and maybe somewhere around Hour 30 will turn into “Breaking Bad,” you get in a car, turn it on and hear someone advising a character to crush a woman’s sternum. Nearly everyone who plays the game is smart enough to know this is all done in the name of satire, but to what end? One of the best-designed games in the world doesn’t even attempt to answer that question.

– Todd Martens | todd.martens@latimes.com


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330 Responses to ‘Grand Theft Auto V’ review: Stubborn sexism, violence ruin game play

  1. James says:

    To all the people who think video games like this bring young, impressionable children to violence:
    What video game did Hitler / Genghis Khan / Stalin / Christopher Columbus play?

  2. Lolreally? says:

    What’s really sad about this article, is that is was written by someone who is obviously offended by GTA V lol. GTA is not for the basement dwelling loner who lacks any social maturity and therefore can’t even take a joke from a video game… I bet real life is just way too hard for tr author, which is why they spend all their time alone, Here’s a tip. Before writing articles that other people can see, make some friends, increase your social capacity and abilities. Make sure that the things you say aren’t neurotic, before you go posting stuff online.

  3. david robinson says:

    this is such a biased article about a game that you probably haven't even played properly.
    this game is not only hilarious but also extremely fun to play.
    you might not be able to handle the jokes that are in this game but guess what… no one really cares, rockstar have made this game to be funny and they have succeeded greatly. I don't mean to be rude but we're all entitled to our opinions and I think that you have a very one sided view about this game but ask yourself this, if the game isn't good then why has it made over $1 billion and been rated 10/10 stars by most reviewers. so go play the game properly before you insult it.

  4. Chanze says:

    They merely are giving the people what they want to buy. You should ask the bigger question of why so many people want to buy a game considering the things you point out in the article.

  5. Dan says:

    Loooool this article is actually stupid…

  6. Nathan says:

    I would have to say I disagree overall to the above article. A lot seems of the focus on the games supposed sexism and violence. First of all what little sexist remarks are uttered within the game are not a childish ploy for humor but a satire of the still common sexism in the western world, to not include such vulgar and nasty characters would take away from a realistic experience somewhat. Also violence is common place in a lot of media aimed at adults, can a story about criminals involving themselves in crimes such as 'grand theft auto' be taken lightly? the movie 'heat' comes to mind in some of the games heist missions though with this film critics where not hounded at because of their approval. Neither was Red Dead Redemption another Rock Star North game of immense popularity that was never criticized for its violence, maybe the words Grand Theft Auto have a stigma attached. Its an interactive story and its popularity is much more than hype, Rock Star North have been creating games with character and play-ability and gamer's love them for it.

  7. Megadave says:

    I guess you must not like R rated movies either?

  8. Ratched says:

    Painful how many commenters, here, have missed the point of the article. The point isn’t that the game is sexist and thereby a bad game, it is that the satire attempted through the games abject violence and sexism is dated and unchanged from 2001. The point isn’t that the game is not fun, it’s that the game–for all of its technical mastery and breadth–merely functions as an elaboration of the earlier titles . In other words, if gtav is trying to be satire, the satire it’s bringing to the table is lazy and one dimensional.

  9. Marcus Aurelius says:

    Gamers really are the worst.

  10. @Will12hg says:

    If you don't like the game Todd Martens noone if forcing you to play it, obviously you can't even distinguish a game meant to entertain from real life, so you better stop watching TV and violent Movies as well.
    I haven't read so much garbage as was put into this short article in a long time.

  11. dang3rtown says:

    So the game you claim is "ruined" by "Stubborn sexism, violence" is the best selling game ever and universally loved by every gamer on the planet… I'm starting to think you're metric for ruining games is wrong or perhaps you don't understand what the word "ruined" means. Do you think breakfast is "ruined" by bacon?

  12. dave j hillington says:

    people think GTA cause people to go on killing sprees (sandy hook, navy yards, etc). if that is the case then why are there a few shootings a year when this game is owned by HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF PEOPLE. If you were right then everyone in the world would already be dead. Stupid emotional response to a harmless game. Obviously some people don't understand satirical humor, i feel sorry for them.

  13. Orin says:

    Perhaps the author's arguments could be considered valid, if the game was titled "Life In Stylized LA" or, maybe "The Difficulty Of Crime." But it isn't. The game is titled Grand Theft Auto. It is the fifteenth game in a series that focuses primarily on misogyny, violence, theft, and the overall processes of crime, to include the social situations that arise from it.

    I wonder if, maybe, the author would be so kind as to provide us with a GTA script suitable to the cultural palate of the highly-educated, culturally aware, masters of humor of whom the target audience is comprised?

  14. shaggy says:

    Typical of American men: ever defending their liberties and freedoms to degrade minorities, females, and homosexuals in increasingly extreme ways they package as "entertainment" and "satire." The fact that a portion of your minorities, females, and homosexuals also play the game is much like asking the slave or the prostitute in front of their masters or johns what they really think of them…are they really free or liberated enough to give an honest answer? And before you accuse me of equating all minorities as slaves or all women as prostitutes, please ask your American selves if that's not exactly what your culture does? You are the most oppressed people in the world and you only seek to find other groups to oppress instead of fighting for true freedom and liberation… no, no that might take time away from your precious video games and porn. Ha ha Keep your freedom, Americans. Defend them til what will be a bitter bitter end.

  15. The Mystic says:

    Heh. Author of this article, you take this way too seriously. Games, like other entertainment are a form of release. The average consumer of this game leads a relatively boring life compared to the protagonists in the game, which is why the game works like a fantasy. Unless, they have mental problems, players are fully aware that the 'people' they are beating to death, sexually harassing etc are nothing more than pixels on a screen and no harm is done to any real person. Someday, I suggest you to breach the boundaries of your sheltered life and try out stuff like this. And no, grabbing an NPC's boobs in the game will not make you want to grab someone's boobs in real life unless you already wanted to do that anyway

  16. curmudgeon says:

    funny how i can just turn on tv and get just as much "violence" and "sexism" as the article describes.

  17. @Spokker says:

    I ended up liking the storyline more than I thought I would. I love the "son I never had" dynamic between Franklin and Michael. I love when diametrically opposed characters get together and get things done, such as when Franklin and Trevor meet and size up each other. Even Franklin's friend, Lamar, gave Trevor a pass.

    Having played the game, it seems like this game makes fun of and degrades every type of person. They make fun of feminists and COD brogamer types. They make fun of liberals and Republicans. They make fun of racists and anti-racists. It accurately portrays the negative aspects of hood life, and there is a lot of misogyny there.

    One of the top 5 things I like about the game are the portrayals of ethnic and racial conflicts. This is a very, very early spoiler, but there is a mission where you fight with a Hispanic gang. Later on the radio the news wonders if this is the re-ignition of black-Latino conflicts. Though it has died down in recent years, this is a real issue in Los Angeles as immigrants have moved into historically black neighborhoods.

    The game is a reflection of contemporary culture, warts and all.

  18. Topsy says:

    The stupid jokes don't really offend me… but the fact that people so vehemently defend them sure concerns me, though.

  19. shaggy says:

    Typical Americans: ever defending your freedoms and liberties, no, no, your rights to degrade and minorities, females, and homosexuals in increasingly extreme ways while packaging it as "entertainment" and "satire." Your freedoms and liberties and rights to dehumanize the others, you know who they are, in the other income bracket, the other sub-standard educational zone, the other skin color, the other sexual orientation, the the other sex, you know, the others…and claim that everybody is in on the joke.

    Yes, everybody…the whole world is in on the joke that Americans really believe is freedom and liberty. Their right.. to shoot kill wound rape torture anybody who isn't a "real American." Outside their country and even in it…

    Defend your precious video games while you fellow citizens lose their real freedoms and liberties, their human rights to dignity every day…defend your precious games while your fellow human beings around the world suffer every day…defend your precious decency which conveniently allows you to separate your true character from what you choose to e and do with your time.

  20. Robert says:

    I have not played the game, but this article poorly compares to all of the hype on the internet.

  21. GooberPile says:

    remember the balad of gay tony? it tanked. players of this genre dont care or more over want political correctness. the game is perfect for its intended audience and your story just proves it.

  22. bobnjohn says:

    Actually, it's really not funny when you stop and reflect for a second or two. It might have been funny once, but now it's just getting old. The game, action, skill… that's what counts, really.

  23. Brett Markusic says:

    This article is stupid!! Not the only violent video game to ever be released. What about violent movies?? People complained about Super Mario Bros being violent back in the day. There are far worse things happening in our world, a video game should be the least of your worries.

  24. Adam says:

    As a former military cop I was offended once by the idea of GTA. Then I played it. Loved it. As a parent, I would not let my kids play it, but GTA5 may entice me to buy a new gaming system to play after the kids are asleep!

  25. Shaun says:

    I don’t get the comments about this article. The writer clearly states that he likes the game play and open world of GTA. He just wishes the story and jokes in the game itself could be a little more cleaver.Not a big deal,but a good point. This game could change it’s story/jokes but Mario hasn’t and we still love it after all these years. Maybe GTA is legend now… or I could just be off my rocker.

  26. dbeall says:

    Stubborn sexism; violence ruin gameplay????????????? This game set all time records for sales on the FIRST DAY OF RELEASE. These things are what draws the gamers to it.

  27. derpderpbird says:

    League of offended commenters! This article is spot on. It's not about being too offensive, it's about poor writing when one has an opportunity to reach a huge audience. Instead of upping the bar even a little bit, they pandered to the lowest common denominator (obviously). It wasn't unexpected, but disappointing nonetheless, especially as someone who used to play the original! Ya the topdown view one for computer!

  28. alfredo says:

    cool gta5

  29. MikeW says:

    Waaaa! GTA V has violence and sexism, just like all the other GTA games that came before it. What exactly would you prefer they do with the franchise at this point? Turn it into a Scooby Doo episode where the biggest profanity uttered by any of the characters is "Awww, shucks!", and the worst violence it depicts is someone running into a tree because they were looking backwards as they ran? Or maybe they should have done some cool crossover stuff with the Smurfs and My Little Pony.

    Okay, fine, so those are extreme examples – a bit of reductio ad absurdum. Nonetheless, there's a question there that your article fails to answer (or even ask), namely: If not sexism and violence, then what? What exactly should GTA V (which is actually the ** 15TH ** title in the series, according to Wikipedia) be, after all? For better or worse, that sex and violence is the bread and butter of the GTA series. It's what built an empire capable of making $800M in a single day.

    Now, don't get me wrong. I'm not defending any of that. Personally, I'm no GTA fanboy, but I think the games are fun (and funny) and I couldn't care less about how it depicts sex and violence. It IS just a game, after all, and I don't let games, movies, or music dictate my own humanity. I wouldn't let my kids play it, but that's neither here nor there – we're talking about a game intended for consenting adults.

    So, then, with that out of the way, what exactly is your vision for what the fifteenth title in the GTA series *should* have looked like? Just a bunch of car chases and shootouts, but without any profane language or graphic depictions of violence? My point is, what exactly would GTA be without those things? Take away the profanity and violence, and what you're left with more closely resembles Miami Vice (and I'm referring to the show from the 80's, not any assembly-line "reboot" they've since done). Which is not necessarily a bad thing, except that at that point it's not really GTA anymore either.

  30. Lambis says:

    Grand Theft Auto is about the criminal world Todd! You impersonate a criminal not a Sims character! If you are offended don't play it. Period!

  31. Andrew says:

    Everything this person talked about happening in this game is true… In the first hour or so. A little piece of advice, play the game in its entirety before you jump on the chance to rip GTA a new one for whatever reason. Because if you had bothered to play a few more hours of the story missions in the game, you would have actually come to a moment when **spoilers** one of the main characters family leaves him because of him falling back into a life of crime, showing that there are consequences to ones actions. But no… Why would you want to do that? That would be responsible journalism. The truth is, you are a part of what GTA pokes fun of, and you didn't like it. Also, I am gonna guess you never played The Last of Us either, because if you had, you would know that there aren't zombies in the game, but people infected with a fungus type virus that stimulates their adrenal gland as was as the rage center of the brain. And very rarely do you come across them in the game, and the majority of the enemies you face are other humans.

  32. what says:

    The game’s great, and this article is clearly biased.

  33. John W. says:

    Each of the opposing arguments presented here sounds like it's coming from the mouth of a teenager who has yet to enter the real-life world of adulthood. But you teens would be the target audience for these games, I suppose.

  34. Charles says:

    The author states in the article that people who criticize gta’s humor will be labeled as people who don’t get it. Well this is the case because or is clear that the author does not get the satire and social criticism that is all over gta. I wonder if the author watches a show like the Colbert report and thinks that Colbert is just a crazy right winger? If you can actually tune in on what the developers are satirizing with their humor, you will find a game chock full of social commentary that doesn’t hold any punches and hits pretty much everything. From apple products to the millennial generation this game gets it all. Albeit some of the humor is rather crude, but if you cannot muster up the maturity to handle it, then you are obviously not mature enough to play the game. I that is you, then you probaly aren’t one of rockstars target audience(which is rather large seeing as this is the biggest video game release in history)

  35. jason says:

    1/7th of the earths population disagrees, and that's after 3 days, perhaps they know it's not real or instructions on human contact.

  36. Will says:

    The game is a parody of America. I would say it does a pretty good job. Especially when you hear the faux radio programs where everyone is "Outraged! Outraged by this lack of political correctness, I tell you!"

    If you don't like it, or can't take the joke, don't play it.

  37. Zane says:

    At the end of the day its just a video game! Just like when you watch a movie. Sure it leaves an impression on us, the idea knowing not do whats in those games. Like for example a game about killing, that you dont go out and kill! Another thing. You know who gets these games to kids? Mostly its the parents, because they will buy there kids the game. Just like buying/seeing a rated R Movie, someone over the age of 18 has to be able to get it!

    Like the v chips in tvs, they been there since the mid 90's yet hardly anyone sues them, they have same blocks on the internet, phones, etc yet hardly anyone uses it! But its easy to sit back and blame video games, tv, movies, etc, yet no one blocks them.

    I will say one thing I find funny, now I got to thinking about it, radio is in reality the only thing that doesn't give you a control in blocking not sure why maybe they cant or no ones come up with a way, anyways. The point is, games are design for certain people in mind. If your crazy in the head, cant tell the difference between right and wrong, have serious mental issues/problems, or cant tell the difference between reality, fantasy when it could endanger your life/or others. You obviously have no business playing them. Same with owning a gun, driving car, as it is playing a video game. It should be consider a privilege, not something to abuse the hell out of! Example you take a car and drive people over your at fault. Same with shooting people, you are at fault, regardless what drove you to that. Like some people think well when something bad happens, yeah normally its shown that all the signs were ignored and no one thought in much in doing anything, if anything about it till after the fact. Thats happen, so many times, one cant even keep track of it.

  38. SeanAnderson says:

    Great article; one I agree wholeheartedly with.
    Just looking at the comments; obviously these are the types of morally desensitized people in the world that are sadly becoming more prevalent.

  39. John McCain says:

    My god…. its a game moron. Obviously you're not a gamer. This is a very well designed, hard worked on game, and the part you missed is that the **** that you're complaining about is the whole reason why this game is successful. Nobody wants watered down G rated crap, for the same reason we like violent movies.

  40. Chris says:

    Mr. Martens, what you’ve just said…is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever read. At no point in your rambling, incoherent review were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone on this site is now dumber for having read it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

  41. cat says:

    Ctrl+Fing for "misogyny" is a great way to tell if an article is worth reading

    That's unfortunate for this one

  42. Bro says:

    You're implying that TLoU and The Walking Dead are even video games.

  43. Devon says:

    Who let this guy review this game?

  44. zirtoc says:

    So, we should take out the violence and sexism, and pretty much anything offensive out of the game. Maybe for GTA VI, the characters can sit around and hold hands, and talk about their feelings…

  45. Jeff says:

    A billion in sales in 3 days would dictate that the consensus disagrees

  46. Poster ATAT says:

    If I wanted to sell more copies of this game, this is exactly the article I would have written.

  47. Izzy says:

    "Violence ruins game play". It's GTA V, violence IS the game play. You knew this going in unless you lived under a rock during the last twenty years when Rockstar was making games. So why waste your time playing this and then reviewing it? You knew before you even put the game in the system that you were going to hate it.

  48. Did you think you were buying a sesame street game?

  49. joe nobody says:

    How can anyone take this author seriously? "16-year-old series" that, per this article, "landed" "In 2001". It's 2017? I slept through 4 years? Come on … Ever heard of editing or fact checking? Dolts …

  50. BiLowe says:

    I'm a grown woman and I play GTAV. I've played every GTA. I've never been offended.

  51. Advocatus says:

    I am so powerfully weary of politically correct morality scolds. It shouldn't be necessary to go into this freshman-level explanation of violence and entertainment, but since someone who writes for a living has apparently never been introduced to the basics, I'll try to help.

    People often enjoy fantasizing about doing things they would be nauseated at the thought of even witnessing in real life. The need to express these anti-social impulses – to project them onto a character in a story and thus purge them has been recognized since Aristotle.

    That's not going to change, short of Chinese-style censorship, which would be far too high a price to pay to avoid offending self-righteous writers who seem to want to tell us how we should feel about a piece of entertainment, if we want to be considered a good person.

    Telling a game developer how to make games in order to satisfy your political and moral sensibilities is arrogant, and pointless. They don't answer to your sensitive soul, they answer to their audience. If a game is so offensive that it offends its audience, it won't sell. Developers don't make games that don't sell – at least not twice.

    Finally, I have no idea as to why the LA Times thinks that this article is of any use whatsoever to the sort of person who reads gaming news. It conveys nothing but the moralizing of the author, without conveying any sort of information useful to the readership. It takes no effort whatsoever to hack out a predictable, moralistic screed against a franchise like GTA.

  52. Baron says:

    Sounds like the author of this so called article is just another whiner looking to crusade against fabricated evils in the world. How this crap made it to the LA Times is beyond me….

  53. Ace_Man says:

    Wish it didn’t have a few things, but the strip club is avoidable, and u can lower the volume for the rapid fire F-bombs. As for violence, I was actually hoping it would be worse than it is.

  54. Johnathan R. says:

    Great article. Everyone knows you are right but just want to protect a stale game. It hasn’t changed over 10 years and it’s clear that the fans who follow it, haven’t evolved either.

  55. Andrey says:

    And then we wonder why we have murder and violence on our streets. People spend time watching playing & participating in video games like this they become just like characters they play evil & depressed & violent & rude & morally destroyed. God help our Nation.

  56. andy anybody says:

    The games great and its doing great its obvious this guys bias is blinding him to these facts.

  57. FreezeDried says:

    It is an extremely cynical view of the world today. Get over it.

    —Frumpy is an achievement unlocked*

  58. Trevor says:

    These comments are bullsh*t. There's no reason why a game in 2013 shouldn't have the option to play as a girl. True, you can make a female avatar, but you still only have the option date other women and make sexist comments. Not that women dating other women is a bad thing; there should also be more options for gay players who enjoy beating hookers with baseball bats before having sex with sexy dudes at night. This game has a long way to go before it's truly great.

  59. West says:

    I get the feeling that the author never found GTA's sex and violence satire very funny to begin with, which makes me wonder how he can judge when they stop being funny. Rock Star followed the author's advice with the last game, toning down the sex and over the top violence to make a more "mature" game. The critics initially raved but after the buzz wore off many critics and players found a lot of the fun had been lost along the way.

  60. Fem says:

    These comments are disgusting and, surprise surprise, they look like they're all written by men. When your real-life well-being is compromised by the content in these games (hint: it will never be, because video games don't condone sexually assaulting and raping men–unlike sexually assaulting women), then your input will be valid. As it stands, the last thing my generation needs is more reinforcement that rape jokes are o.k. and assault is comical. I'm soooo thrilled that this game continues to lessen the odds of me safely being able to go outside at night, to walk down a city street without getting catcalled, and to not get raped in general. You may claim these small quips have no impact on the "real world," but coupled with the sexist elements present not only in many other video games, but also the movies, music, and television with which we are constantly bombarded; they add up to one huge impact on the way we think, speak, and act.

    A game can be "good" and popular while still having negative elements. People will never stop buying games based on sexual content alone. It's up to the gaming industry to make the right first move (and I sincerely doubt people will complain of a lack of an "I don’t care if you’re 12, I’ll still rape you" joke in a video game.) Get it together.

  61. Zornwil says:

    I do appreciate the concerns re sexism and lame social commentary – but then to say that South Park should be the aspirational model? Just wow….I'm not going to get into an argument over South Park, but essentially I think that if one is going to say GTA is filled with lame commentary, then one ought to realize that South Park invites precisely the same arguments of insensitivity to people and a series which some might say has only gone backwards from its "Santa Claus versus Jesus" brilliance (and of course some will argue the reverse, but my point here is simply that the comparison is too, well, apples to apples to make sense of the contrast). I don't have a qualified enough opinion on GTA as I haven't yet played it (though this article actually makes me more rather than less interested), but at the least I'd think one would take a body of work that actually evidenced some more strongly arguable contrast and was less arguable as to whether it's evolved or not since its origin.

  62. Old Man says:

    The author several times commented on the technical merits of the game and how it has been improved over the years. The main point is that the game's story line and "jokes" are as lame as ever. The comments just reinforce the author's point that these games are for immature cretins – the same type of folks who run Facebook and are ruining this generation with their "must have" social media. Get a life beyond your stupid digital selves.

  63. bbk says:

    You all entirely missed this authors point.

  64. Lester says:

    (In the game) The satire on the radio pulls no punches and is out right hilarious. Whatever remarks offended you were supposed to. The same remarks were design to amuse me and they have. You are uptight, and that's just unfortunate for you. Being offended by one or two things, during your review, caused you to lose sight of all the excellent humor embedded in the game . Your review of this game is poor, at best.

  65. Zornwil says:

    PS to my earlier comment (which is, I assume, pending moderation as I mentioned by name the first, pre-series episode of South Park): by arguing South Park as an aspirational model, you actually make me more rather than less interested in GTA on another account: I have many friends who love South Park while I despise it, seeing it guilty not of sexism but of a general lack of thoughtful humor whatsoever, going for lowest common denominator, and also filled with weak, lame, social commentary, and just not being funny. But because my friends love South Park I once in a while give it a look; your article makes me think that for the same reasons, I should give GTA a look.

  66. Mike says:

    This is hardly a review at all, more like biased opinion.

    Stick to Kingdom Hearts Todd.

  67. Gord says:

    While if I was a stuffy old prude scared of my own sinful naked shadow, than no…..I would not recommend this game to my grandmother!

  68. @EvilRonnie says:

    The game is amazing. The person writing this article…not so much. Protip: Weeping and finding any reason to comaplin is UNATTRACTIVE

  69. mytakejake says:

    All of the posts I see appear to be missing the author's primary point. First, he gives repeated credit to the game for its technological prowess("..technologically impressive..Its open universe is unparalleled..") Yet he points out, quite accurately, that the cultural/social satirical and emotional aspects of the game are dated and lack the current-day creativity. He isn't saying that this shouldn't be part of the game, but instead that those elements should have evolved and grown, like the game has mechanically.

  70. miscreant says:

    Guys, the author isn't saying the game sucks because of this. Seems to me he's saying that the game is so good, it deserves to have more nuanced characters and writing. Not the same old one-dimensional characters and crass jokes that it delivered in the past four installments. Don't get me wrong, I loved GTA IV. But I get what he's saying… GTA has always been over the top. GTA V could have advanced the richness and complexity of the world, but it sounds like it's just bigger and better looking rather than smarter and sharper.

    Sounds like it could use a little less Daniel Tosh and little more Louis CK.

  71. HDoubleD says:

    Wait. This game depicts men with misunderstandings of what women like during sex? It depicts violent males with messed up views of what arouses women, such as assuming women will sleep with you if you have a big boat or a fast car!? This is outrages. It's almost borderline satire!

    The amount of satire and dark mirroring of our own world in this game is so large and unruly it would require far more room to discuss than what I'm allowed here. And it [will be] discussed and to great lengths. Will the lowest common denominator be able to grasp every jape found within the game? Probably not. On top of the 'typical' humor, there may be some things the American audience simply will not grasp. Like previous GTA games, this one is full of specifically British humor that'll fly hard and high above some heads. I believe this is to blame for a large part of the disconnect.

    Also, it claims this game promotes misogyny. It's a bold face lie. Does it have a strong female lead? No, it doesn't. Does it cast women in a good light? Wait, don't answer that. Answer me this: DOES IT CAST ANYONE IN A GOOD LIGHT? No! The game doesn't glorify the protagonist or promote the lifestyle they lead. The three guys are disgusting and immoral jerks. It does not promote hatred of women or encourage violent acts toward them. Shame on the author for this.

    I think what we have hear is a story written as clickbait. Look at us! We are calling a mega blockbuster sexist!

  72. Edwin says:

    Unfortunately, I'm afraid the violence and misogyny are not a joke. People actually think this crap is cool, which is a sad comment on our culture.

  73. dcummuta says:

    I agree with Chanze… You also need to ask yourself the true target market. A large part, if not the majority, of the target market of this game are teenagers and college kids. Have you ever talked to these people in the real world. They watch and enjoy the "American Pie" genre of movies, have half to fully naked chicks plastered all over their bedroom walls, are full of raging hormones and/or are very high/drunk when playing these games I highly doubt they are asking themselves at this point what the general morality of playing this game is. The other large part of the TM is late 20's early 30's males that are totally smoking weed or having a beer with this game and chilling. They watch things like game of thrones, breaking bad, Dexter, and workaholics which include frequent murder, rape, subjection of women, prostitutes, drug use, nudity etc. but with live action people in them! Not to mention very "normal" people watch these shows and play these games…. Wake up dude… the world is already a very "perverted" place and it is totally common place in the new generation. I thinks its strange how "out of touch" and "living under a rock" this article comes a crossed. I know girls that love GTA lol…

  74. InTheHouse says:

    GTA has always been an ultimatum in satire.
    If the game 'grew up' as you'd expect it to, it would evolve past the definition of what a GTA game is supposed to be. It highlights the failings of society, as it always has. Expecting adroit moralizing from a game that happily shills drug-induced hallucinations of shooting aliens as a joke is perhaps a bit much, eh?
    The onus is on the player to take fun from the game, which it provides. Not the producer to provide a take on your own personal morals.
    You poke fun at the people who miss the 'jokes' in the game itself but fail to realize that the entire concept, and not just the content itself is low parody. Consider your point missed.

  75. michael kirn says:

    The author forget to mention that creators of this piece of trash produce it under the protection of Democratic Senators Barbara Boxer and Diane Feinstein, with help from Democratic Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi. Grand Theft Auto brings much needed revenue to Californica where the Democratic Governor Jerry Brown needs more tax dollars (Dems call it revenue) to fund their spending programs. Thank you Democrats for destroying the future of America's youth with trash like GTA. If you agree with the moral decay brought about by the Democratic politicians who promote this sort of trash and you're a Democrat, why not change your political party tomorrow in protest!?! The best way to change these out-of-control Democrats who allow this sort of trash to be distributed to our children is to abandon the party AND start recall elections to replace the traitors with real Americans who are not elite career politicians like Pelosi, Feinstein, Boxer and Brown.

  76. Topper says:

    The writer wishes it poked a deeper satirical take on his home city but GTA a British import that is designed around perception of American Cities, towns, and culture. The series isn’t an inside joke, it’s an outside commentary on how we come across through our exports and philosophies (Media, Entertainment, and Political Movements).

    The author of the article does succeed in saying something when he felt they crossed the line and I don’t think it would be a bad thing for GTA to have a world that can stay seedy but a bit less sexually sleazy.

  77. MH Burnham says:

    Mortal Combat and Doom were among the earliest entries into the violent video game genre in the 1990s. In 1999, there were three different mass shootings in the United States; between 2000 and 2005, there were four mass murders; in 2006, there were two murderous sprees; in 2007, there were three separate mass assassinations with 70 dead total; in 2008, there were a mere two murderous rages; but in 2009, it was back up to three murderous rampages; in 2010, things were relatively quiet…there was only one mass murder; but then in 2011, it was back up to three, and in 2012, it skyrocketed to EIGHT mass slaughters. So far in 2013, there have been SIXTEEN mass assassinations. It seems like there are a lot of folks out there developing a real-life taste for the thrill of killing at will. And this is just the beginning people. Play on!!

  78. Johnnie says:

    i thought Grand Theft Auto was satirical, it's supposed to offend you.

  79. Bobby Dresin says:

    These games are a menace to modern society …. Their messages both literal and unintended are damaging to the brains of any human with a brain to be damaged… I can not for one minute understand why anybody would want to watch that crap…. for 2 minutes… let alone countless hours on end…
    These games are a TOTAL WASTE OF TIME…. get that… a total waste of time…
    Ever wonder why kids are so fat, unhealthy and loathsome?… well, here's one reason…. Ever wonder why the "RASH' of mass killings?… These don't help, many of the SHOOTERS were big fans and heavy players of this crap… coincidence? Not really….
    These games, this one included are so wrong in so many ways. If you don't get that and are struggling with the whole thing…. grow up….

  80. jobeans says:

    and KISS is the devils music,right? uptight prudes like this author are the ones missing the point. these things are in games because people want them. It’s called escapism.

  81. chris says:

    Excellent article…I still can't wait to play the game and explore the landscape…but the crassness in GTA blemishes the games imo. I propose a setting to turn the crassness off…so it's not an earsore when the kids are around. And to any who say "so you think violence is ok and vulgarity is not?"…I say yes…it's a videogame.

  82. Jason Nesmith says:

    From Ovid, Voltaire, Jonathan Swift, to Mark Twain and George Carlin, there Is one thing art and literature has taught us throughout history: there is a surprising amount of truth and honesty in satire.
    If you don't like dry humor and sarcasm, that's fine. But if you take Grand Theft Auto too seriously, there is a good chance you take yourself too seriously too.

    Get over yourself.

  83. realistic says:

    The irony missed in this 'review' is incomprehensible. The game showcases by exemplification much of what is wrong with society, and sure you get to play these characters, however it's the ironic comedy that actually educates the player what we shouldn't be doing as real people. If you'd actually listened to the talk radio stations, the commercials etc you'd be able to tell that… that is if normal things like pop music and infomercials crammed down your throat also bother you.. well clearly they don't; you live in a cotton wool cocooned fantasy utopia.

  84. Matt says:

    Since some (mostly indie) games have started to address mature, emotionally deep themes in carefully non-offensive ways, it seems some reviewers and media commentators believe all
    adult-oriented games now must follow this rigid format. And for some reason this criticism only seems to apply to video games; film, literature, music all get passes to do whatever they like and be judged on their own merits, whereas video games for some reason must be held to some weird, narrow standard of what is 'acceptable.' So what if GTA is not deep or emotionally complex. I'd like to see the author's review on the last big-budget blockbuster film to plumb the depths of the human experience. Oh wait, that film doesn't exist, because that is not the purpose of those types of spectacle movies. Not to mention the fact that GTA is open world; pacing and continuity are very important to good stories, and in open world games these are pretty much unattainable, so you really can't compare GTA to linear, on-rails games like "The Last of Us" or "The Walking Dead,' or procedural games like "Papers, Please." Let this game be what it is, and if you want art, depth, and story, then stick with the games that actually claim to do those things.

  85. sammiclaus says:

    Mortal Combat and Doom were among the earliest entries into the violent video game genre in the 1990s. In 1999, there were three different mass shootings in the United States; between 2000 and 2005, there were four mass murders; in 2006, there were two murderous sprees; in 2007, there were three separate mass assassinations with 70 dead total; in 2008, there were a mere two murderous rages; but in 2009, it was back up to three murderous rampages; in 2010, things were relatively quiet…there was only one mass murder; but then in 2011, it was back up to three, and in 2012, it skyrocketed to EIGHT mass slaughters. So far in 2013, there have been SIXTEEN mass assassinations. It sure seems like there are a lot of folks out there developing a real-life hankering for the thrill of killing at will. And this is just the beginning people. But, by all means, don't let me spoil your "fun." Play on!!

  86. Jo says:

    I’m 100% fine with the violence, but I wish they would introduce some intellectually meaningful female characters. If GTA is about letting gamers do anything that’s possible in a simulated environment, it’s hardly unreasonable to suggest that there should be female characters or companions. Many will say we shouldn’t force GTA to include women, but there are so many characters in such a huge world it seems unrealistic that there aren’t any smart females.

  87. HUghMyron says:

    0/10 article. why waste the time to write it?

  88. GetWiththeProgram says:

    "guaranteed to deliver top-of-the line game mechanics"

    What are you talking about? Rockstar is known for the stiffest mechanics in the industry. Their specialty is building huge worlds with tons of content, which means they can't possibly complete mechanic-wise with games that solely focus on either shooting, brawling, golfing, driving, etc.

  89. Gord says:

    If you like mind twisting humor full of absurd situations that make you sit back and say…what? Then this game is for you, if you hate stark reality twisted with crazy make believe that challenges you on every emotion and belief under the sun, than this game is not for you, brilliant satire and crude humor have always been criticized by those who do not understand it, remember Monty Python got the same criticism 40 years ago.

  90. Axe grinder says:

    For all of you that think violent games make kids violent take a minute and blame yourself and the parents. If you don’t have the skill to teach your kids right from wrong real from fantasy then your the problem and if you don’t like what I said then its true

  91. Joe Nickerson says:

    I love how someone (probably the author) went through giving most comments one thumbs down

  92. Axe grinder says:

    Anyways I love GTA series need to have the men’s room in it I loved that part of GTA 4

  93. Johnny says:

    I think the author's just upset because their mommy wouldn't let them buy it.

  94. Tom M says:

    I don't have a problem with criticisms of games that I like…but I find articles like this (and some of the supporting comments) misplaced. Though to be honest, this was probably only written in order to try to create buzz…the writer did sort of suggest that he may have liked previous GTA installments, but this one was marred by "violence" and "sexism". Please think about that for a second.

    I think one of the things that GTA has always lampooned (SINCE 2001!) is the flavor of the month headlines plaguing American media throughout various eras and the irrational hate, anger and scare-tactics associated with those headlines. In millennium-based GTAIII, it was video games, in 1980s-Vice City it was violent movies, in early 1990s-San Andreas it was gangsta rap, in 2008-GTA IV it was Muslims/Terrorism. I haven't finished the game quite yet, but a lot of the joking I have seen in this game (and in GTA IV) has involved poking fun at the lazy, self-important, directionless millennial generation. While this doesn't necessarily fall under the category, of "media scare-tactic subject", it's certainly something worth making fun of. GTA has always made fun of various crazy/foolish/stupid things about modern American society and this is no different. I think it's a little much to suggest GTA has "hardly grown since 2001"…the problem isn't that GTA has hardly grown, it's that American society has continuously grown more and more ridiculous and it's too much for the boys over at Rockstar Games to pass up!

    I think the lowest hanging fruit of insanity in the article is denoting Michael's son Jimmy saying "I don’t care if you’re 12, I’ll still rape you" a rape joke. It is the sort of reach which suggests this author may fall into the OccupyWallSt/OMGRapeCulture group…a group which wants to portray themselves as some oppressed victims fighting evil while simultaneously accusing those who don't fall in line with their exact train of thought of contributing to the almighty, fictitious "Rape Culture". If you listen to what Jimmy says and think "OMG they're trying to say rape is ok!!!" and don't realize they're joking about the ludicrous, horrible, insane things said by people while gaming online, then you need to rethink your life, because you're so hung up on finding the "offensive" thing that you missed the most blatant lampoon of online gaming there may have ever been in the history of our culture. In a way, it's apt that a writer for one of the slowest adapting, stubborn industries in modern America (which will probably be dead within a decade) was the one to deliver such an embarrassing miss.

    Ultimately, I hope those over at Rockstar Games keep doing what they're doing because they're simply the best at doing it.

    The best thing I get from this article is the satisfaction of the author suggesting the culture of Grand Theft Auto hasn’t grown since 2001 while simultaneously delivering the same clueless mainstream media reaction which has accompanied each Grand Theft Auto release since 2001. The ironing is delicious.

  95. gfsdg says:

    The only reason this person wrote this article was to get attention. GTA5 >> Todd Marten's worthless opinion.

  96. emanuel says:

    I wonder how many of you who posted a comment are white versus black? As a black man this game is very embarrassing for obvious reasons. What's even sadder is the fact that white people find it amazing, I guess hearing the 'N' word and controlling a bunch of idiot cursing black hood dwelling black folks is a dream come true. Marting Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X must be spinning in their grave right about now. SMH.

  97. Dan Johnson says:

    You burn many words to critique a game you yourself identify as satirical; for lacking dignifying violence, evoking a show like Breaking Bad to illustrate a need for refinement. I say such comparison are pointless. Even The Last of Us or The Walking Dead are irrelevant, such as they are of a completely different genre, indeed – gaming not a genre unto itself.

    GTA V is a game with addicting gameplay mechanics set on a "soft R" summer-flick comedic stage. This is why it received good reviews. I'm looking forward to the next Bad Boys movie to be written-up for not portraying the element of street crime as profoundly as The Godfather or The Sopranos.

  98. Conor says:

    I recently just beat the game and while Todd brings up some good aspects of the game in this article, the criticisms he gives are absolutely false. Have you even played the game longer than an hour Todd? "Consider it the video game equivalent to the MTV movie awards." Are you kidding me? This game is probably the best I've ever played. Comparing it to that garbage of an awards show? Get a life.

  99. Andrew says:

    I would simply like to point out a rather large flaw of some magnitude. Saying that GTA 5 lacks “modern day creativity” is largely inaccurate in and of itself. Look at the music industry. Right now, and for the last 20 years, rap music has become a staple. Since before the first GTA, the “vulgarity” of content has always been present in our society. It’s become a difficult task to find a rap song that does NOT mention some kind of sexual or drug related suggestion/reference. Blaming violent video games for more aggressive behaviour does not make much sense. And to many, my self included(I do have anger issues and dark thoughts) games such as Grand Theft Auto provide much needed stress relief of a greater magnitude than any therapist and it medication. It is more of a suppressant, than an instigator for violence.

  100. Mandy says:

    My biggest thought is if you think GTA is violent and offensive, go get a Wii and play Mad World and tell me it’s not more gruesome. It’s probably more offensive as well. If you want to complain that Rockstar hasn’t gotten the point of narrative driven stories, go play LA Noire; it is fantastic, story driven, and much less violent if that’s what you prefer. GTA is what it’s supposed to be, pandering to an audience who loves every minute of it and expects the exact content they received.

  101. GTA Fan says:

    Sorry you feel that way, too bad nobody cares and billions of people who will play this game will dissagree with your point of view.

  102. john sims says:

    Give me a break with the sexism headline. Gentlemen enjoy the pinnacle of awesome games before the new era of political correctness takes over our video games too. Seriously this game is legendary. Idgaf what anyone says.

  103. joe schmoe says:

    Chicks totally dig it when they have sternum crushing sex. TOTALLY.

  104. tinktank says:

    Ooooh reaaaally? GTA lore isnt for the faint of heart there genius author, this game is based on sexism, on yes on violence. It is the very essence of the game. Do your homework before ruining your credibility. Its like saying, Nascar should get speeding tickets for going too fast, it is the law isnt it. Exactly, making a statement means you have to know what you are talking about which clearly you did not.

  105. AJ says:

    Freedom of speech covers video games. GTA, Call of Duty, Battlefield, and Halo are all rated Mature for a reason. No one under 17 is allowed to buy them on their own. Maybe we should start blaming the parents that buy these games, maybe they should take interest in their own kids lives rather than buying a game for their kids to learn from.

  106. NotBuyingIt says:

    Hasn't anyone ever seen a Quentin Tarantino (sp?) movie (or any movie with no real heros)? Some forms of media don't have any good guys that we are meant to emulate. Once we have the power to decide what is admirable behavior, and therefore how we will act, it becomes a lot easier to play a game like Grand Theft Auto and not have any change in lifestyle.

  107. Happy GTA Player says:

    Really? My gameplay is "ruined"? This is what makes GTA a trademark and stay the way they are. Sorry that GTA isn't as open and accepting as the real world, it's a freaking video game. Are we going to have gay rights in the next installment?

  108. GTAV is exhausting for feminists but then again why should Rockstar cater to this tiny group of people. It's not meant for you to be enjoyed Todd. By the way; what kind of a name is Todd? What happened to real names? What happened to Eddie? That's a real name, Eddie.

  109. Top Gamer says:

    Oh dear! If you don't know the difference between right and wrong by now, whether u play violent games or watch violent movies, then your beyond help! I've watched the film Ted, but does not mean i'll dress up as teddy bear and take drugs all day! Wake up people!

  110. Nick says:

    what gets me is that the writer is using examples like The Last of Us as if it's supposed to spark a discussion here. Completely different types of games for different experiences. Then there's this pretending like GTA hasn't evolved over the years. There's just a lack of understanding of the series' nuances in this article that most avid GTA fans can dismiss it. Should have just scrapped the whole thing and rewrote: GTV: I don't get it. If you want to complain about a big dumb game, maybe grab a copy of Duke Nukem Forever or any Saints Row. Leave the quality titles done by truly amazing developers out of your whiney culture piece.

  111. Chris says:

    How can a game series that came out in 2001 be 16 years old?

  112. Curt Kester says:

    This article is clearly biased and lazy. For example, the author cites a large boat as as the kind “that makes a young impressionable girl drop her pants and spread her legs.” This is taken completely out of the context of the game, where, as a father, you are finding out that your daughter is on such a boat with a bunch of porn producers and drug dealers. The comment is designed to provoke action.

    I'm not saying GTA doesn't have themes of sexism, its necessary for the parody, but please stop being this lazy and/or biased.

    Also, if you go back and actually play the old GTA games, you realize this game has evolved a great deal in terms of its ability to skewer modern America.

  113. Anthony says:

    I’ve been playing violent games ever since I was 7 I’m 17 now I started playing those types of games all my life and I haven’t seen any violence in me the 10 years of playing violent games yes I get pissed angry etc but Iam not a violent person I fight when I need to I see games as a means to past the time when you have nothing to do so don’t ask little 10 year olds who play these games when they shouldn’t ask the people who’s been playing these type of games for years on end and see what they say

  114. Tom R. says:

    "Too much" sexism and violence?? That's why we play the GTA franchise! It ain't Sunday school. This author is too clueless.

  115. jack says:

    I can’t believe how many of you are defending this game. Yes it’s fun, sure it’s advanced graphics, but seriously peeps, the commentary is pure cap. It’s stupid talk for stupid people to enjoy….

  116. Lol says:

    "Stubborn sexism, violence ruin gameplay". Nope.

  117. Symphony says:

    I think all that matters is if GTA fans like it or not. If your not a GTA fan there is no reason why you should care so much about it. I, Myself have enjoyed this game.. Not because of the sexual content but because how you can roam freely & explore. For those that feel offended by this game don't be. I'm not saying your not entitled to your opinion, I'm saying it's a video game and I think it's a little bit low for you to feel offended by Grand Theft Auto V. Do not take offense of this, I'm just advising you.

  118. Whatsgahd says:

    I have read books that are far worse than any Video game….get off your high horse, dont like something dont play / watch / read it

  119. Joe M says:

    This is quite a "review". No where did it talk anything about gameplay, game mechanics, the genre creating things that just make it so special. No game, not even the Last Of Us, has captured that. It's a different game telling a different story. GTA V isn't in the same vein.

    I think there is a lot of hyper-defensiveness because this is the LA Times. It's not written by a gamer or someone who even understands a game. It's someone who is obviously offended by GTA V's poking of the culture and city of LA.

    But movies like Silence of the Lambs and Quentin Tarantinos constant orgies of violence are ok? Because it makes Hollywood "look good"?

  120. Vavoso says:

    This is what happens when a Grandmother writes an article about a video game.

  121. Brian Reynolds says:

    Sometimes a game is just a game with no higher ambition than to provide entertainment, -cathartic entertainment even. Perhaps with a game this expansive and rooted in pseudo-reality people are expecting more depth? More intellectual resonance? Does the absence of these touchstones equal a knock against it or just a missed opportunity? Guilty pleasures don't need justification in order to be satisfying and I think the most valid criticism would be to judge the game on what it attempted to provide and missed.

  122. @jeleopard1 says:

    "In 2001…. the 16-year-old series"

    Sorry, your article, whilst it's stupid and wrong to begin with, loses any and all validity because you obviously failed first grade math.

    It's 2013. 2013-2001=12. 12 year old series. Not 16.

  123. howard says:

    Todd just wants to be contrary. Well done with that.

  124. Deft says:

    Grand Theft Auto is a British game with British humor. Of course it’s going to be inappropriate and cringeworthy.

  125. pat says:

    satire bro.

  126. rhianntp says:

    Typical liberal review…the whole point of the game is to have fun while smashing politically correct norms…so, no.. sexism ad violence do not ruin game play…they enhance it… :) lighten up

  127. Edwin says:

    My comment that the popularity of the violence and sexism of GTA is a sad commentary on our culture was apparently censored, which is an even sadder commentary on our culture.

  128. Joe says:

    $1 billion in three days. That's the biggest entertainment release ever.. Think on that Todd. Think about all the movies, music, and games before it. None of them come close to the impact this game has.

    When I realize your article was written for the minority (suburban middle class moms) though, it makes a little easier to read.

  129. Slickdapper says:

    What a load of rubbish. I’m 32. I’ve been playing violent video games since I was 4 or 5 back in the good old comodore amiga days. Nearly every close friend I’ve ever had has as well(just replace amiga with nes…master system for one sorry dude.) None of us turned out violent. Zero. And most of the violent people I’ve known were exposed to it…and get this…not through any form of medie…but real life viollence. Their parents tended to beat them. Or an older brother. Or a bully. Personally…I’m a slave to my wife. She is the boss. But I find anti-women humor hilarious because it is so far fetched from reality. It’s all fantasy. The more broken sternums the harder I laugh. And like any sane human being I’ve always known the difference. Just because it might be the final push for some little nut job with garbage teachers and uncaring abusive parents doesn’t mean you should restrict art(it’s already restricted even! Mature rating.) And yes, violence and ‘offensive’ jokes can be art. As for the reviewer saying that critics are giving the game perfect or near perfect rating out of fear of being labeled as ‘not getting it,’ well I thinks it’s obvious that as hard as you try to act like you get it but you just think it’s cliche’..most of us see through your facade. You are totally clueless as to why over a million gamers think this game and all of it’s content are great! I’m guessing you’re either brainwashed by a bunch of new age idiots(like most of LA) or you are a victim of some serious abuse or maybe both. Go back to playing New Super Mario Bros U(which I can admit is a really good game it just doesn’t appeal enough to my tastes to be great…like you feel about GTA5 deep in your secret heart) and shut up.

  130. Stella says:

    As a girl gamer I totally knew what I was getting into when I got this game. Everyone knows what to expect from the GTA series and as gamers we love it. If we were not ready for sex voilence and crass humor we would not have shelled out the $60.
    My only complaint about the game is that I want a female character to play. I know silly girl wants to be a girl. I am totally down to take a stipper home as a female. Maybe someone will one day I can get the DLC.. I would totally buy a female to roam around Los Santos with.

  131. Doug says:

    Parents ignore their children all day long. Both mom and dad work all day because they think they need more "stuff" kids are raised at day care and by schools. And you think the violent video games is the cause of their problems

  132. bryceabood says:

    The labor, quality, craft, and impact of this game are not comparable to the MTV VMA's. This game has employed hundreds of very talented artists FOR YEARS. Social commentary a little too dated for you? Tell you what, if I could subscribe to GTA5's dated, unfunny, tasteless version of LA Times I probably would, whereas the only reason I am on your site now is because you wrote about THE MOST PROFITABLE PIECE OF ENTERTAINMENT IN HISTORY.

  133. Alex says:

    People don’t realize that humans are a violent, killing species of animals. Everbody seems to think that humans are these kind harmless species. But if you did a study on every single person on earth to see if they have evil in them. Everyone will have evil in them. Just some people have more than others. And video games do not make people anymore violent. In fact according to studies, violent games make people kinder, and if you don’t believe me go to Dnews GTA 5 on YouTube. And by the way call of duty is pretty darn violent, but why don’t people attack that game series?

  134. Craig says:

    "Violence ruins the gameplay" is without doubt the most idiotic thing I've ever heard said about GTA. That's like saying driving ruins the gameplay of Need For Speed.

  135. dave ringo says:

    Know how to spot a feminist utter claptrap article? When it talks about blatant misogyny and violence against women but doesn't raise one eyebrow to the misandry and violence against men it portrays. This game is epic and IT is the future of entertainment..so get use to it feminists.

  136. Trevor says:

    Emmm…. I feel these Comments are between Moms and kiddo!!

  137. Christina says:

    video games have become another scapegoat for unsympathetic parents. for people like the parent(s) of that twelve year old, they’re a cheap babysitter, which is a rotten shame. as soon as a kid goes off the deep end, it’s the video game’s fault (or adult-themed chatrooms, or guns, or a single parent home, or violent television, or “latch-key kids” etc.). maybe instead of these excuses, we should examine who is accountable for that child- who let society down. there has always been been violence and rape and murder (whether it’s delivered through a video game or not), but what else has changed over time?

    THAT BEING SAID- i do not have children, so i do not know how difficult it is to raise them. i’ve only learned that what you put into your children, you get out. if they like video games, there’s a way to hone that interest into something productive (which i doubt is the case with the 12 year old).

    i apologize for constantly bringing up that 12 year old, but that section really resonated with me.

    i never played video games because my father was from a third world hell pit and barely let us watch television. that’s not to say anything against video games. i have cousins who would play video games all day and didn’t grow up into introverted, lazy outcasts with a penchant for sexual deviancy and blood-covered daydreams.

    i don’t know where the blame lies, but it’s not as simple as pointing our fingers at data and trends. every opinion can be supported with studies and trends. i believe it’s a much larger societal problem and i think there needs to be an honest dialogue about that.

  138. Richard says:

    Dear writer.

    Irony. Have you heard of it? GTA V does not support or encourage or advocate rape. It ridicules rape culture.

  139. someone says:

    Dumb 'review' by someone who doesn't get it. Games, unlike movies, sometimes get better with sequels. But that doesn't mean you should demand that a very particular style of game that appeals to a particular type of player should change its very successful formula to become some preachy, moral piece of garbage that no one will buy or play.
    I'm sure that there's a Jesus and Pals adventureland playtime padded-room crib somewhere online where you can safely huddle underneath your woobie blanket.
    There are games without this kind of idiotic, over the top violence and sexism. They don't sell $1 billion in a week. Or ever. You try and wrap your head around the idea that this is a business venture and not a church or moral venture.

  140. Alex says:

    I think it's poor form for a reviewer to write a negative review of a game simply because they are offended by the genre. It's sort off like a movie reviewer panning a horror movie because it upset them too much.

  141. mark says:

    the game is turning into a hentai porn bit by bit game after game we bought it for having fun and enjoying the open world not to see scenes that aren't suitable, im a grown up and I DISLIKE that, I mean come on why would I want to watch that on a game WHY ? extreme sexism, the character trever is too violent, to the ones who said that its a great game and we didn't see that cause of small details … so your saying the game turns more fun every sex scene ?

  142. Trevor says:

    Saying their is too much violence in Grand Theft Auto 5 is like saying their is too much nudity and sexual content in a porno movie.

    You knew what you are getting yourself into when you played the game. So don't go whine like a little molested school girl all over the internet when you find out some very disturbing things in GTA 5.

    Like how Trevor rapes Floyed and his Mr Raspberry Jam teddy bear.

    Trevor raping guys in GTA 5 is a the only extreme thing that I wasn't expecting. He is a meth cook and complete psycho so…yeah…all aboard the GTA Rape train.

    The game is great even with a few disturbing things here and there. Rockstar has raised the bar for gaming. 10/10

  143. Ian says:

    so how sophisticated does the writing in a video game have to be. I am in my thirties with a full beard and look 40. I had to show ID to purchase my copy. the perfect world you all live in doesn’t exist!!! you want better writing watch a movie. you want a lesson in morality pick up a bible. you want to lose yourself for a couple of hours play a video game

  144. [j] says:

    this is my new favorite game review, because it treats a game critique as a movie critique, and because it actually goes out of the way to explain flaws in things, the gaming community cannot handle it. to every other form of entertainment in the world, someone disliking a popular product is expected, but gaming is so used to circlejerking over their own 7-10 rating system, that it's gotten to the point where anything that dares to actually care about moving gaming forward is treated as if they have committed murder itself.

    you're a good'un, todd. this industry DESPERATELY needs a shot of critical analysis in itself, keep doing these.

  145. @Frogglin says:

    Yes, how dare anyone criticize a game people really like? Most of the comments here are from people who seem to have read the headline and gone into Defence Mode.
    No one has said the game is bad, in fact everyone seems to agree that the world, graphics, game play and characters are the best ever. What's being said – and it SHOULD be said – is that the endless jokes about raping, abusing or using women are no longer the "satire" they started out as. Once upon a time they were, but this time around it's a worn out theme which does nothing to underline or highlight a social issue. Rockstar used to push bounderies, and in many ways they have with this game, but they've also been lazy by throwing in the same old jokes and same old "lulz, womens are for sex and beating" themes.
    Also a lot of these comments seem to boil down to "But we LIKE jokes about rape!" which is really pathetic.

  146. Jo-Jo says:

    This game is awesome! There will always be that small group of knuckleheads that have some kind of problem. Funny how this person knows the game/series so well. Or did this writer spend so much time with it to warn us about the content? Yeah, that must be it.

  147. JPD says:

    the majority of angry responses here is very telling. those angrily defending GTAV seem to have very little ability to parse out the main point of the article.

    the point is that GTAV is a brilliant piece of technology, held back by it's juvenile attempts at humor. yes, we "get it", it's satire, but it's dumb, overly obvious satire. really, you think "LiveInvader", or having a t.v. station called "CNT" is clever? or is it all the dick and butt jokes that are so brilliant?

    People like myself would have liked to have seen the satire more intelligent, more brutal and cutting. Just like the game mechanics have evolved, the characters, humor, and story should have matured since GTAIII as well. it hasn't.

    we've seen great progression in the industry w/ story, character, intelligence. even from Rockstar's own Red Dead Redemption. some people grow up, and want something a lot more thought provoking, which i guess is too much to ask from most of the Rockstar minions here who still think jokes about getting objects stuck up a butt are hilarious satire.

  148. brian says:

    Sometimes I throw up.

  149. Trevor M. Franklin says:

    Cute. The first GTA game was released in 1996. Your argument is invalid.

  150. Brooke says:

    Amen and Thank you!

  151. Chunk says:

    I like this game because it is THE most accurate representation of the world around me in any artistic media.

    There was blood stains on the pavement at the entrance of my high school because a kid was stabbed the day before. There were prostitutes all along my 1 mile route to school. I watch black people torch Korean owned stores. There was a police chase and the guy being chased crashed his motorcycle. When I realized the roof in the news broadcast was showing the top of my apartment building, we ran outside to watch the guy getting arrested.

    Even as a successful adult living 2,000 miles from where I grew up I find broken needles and used condoms along the side of the road whenever I walk my dog or go jogging and this is a nice neighborhood!

    My father died out at sea (he was a fisherman) and it took 2 weeks for his body to wash to shore 180 miles away from the wreckage and I had to go ID a green, bloated corpse, identifiable only by the tattoos on his body.

    As a former sheriff’s deputy I have seen all the things cops and coroners get to see. Spend the night tearing up a crack house in search of evidence and see what else you might find there. Not all drug houses are dilapidated, run down slums of a building. Some are quite posh.

    I don’t know what kind of beautiful world you live in but if you take the blinders off, you’ll realize there is sexism (& sexual violence), drugs, brutality and hatred in almost every place inhabited by humans. I promise you there’s heinous domestic violence occurring somewhere within 3 blocks of where you live.

  152. Uncloudedeyes says:

    This was a good article and really outlines the darker, misogynistic side of the gaming community. It's not fun to recognize that maybe we're being hateful in the name of fun and a lot of these comments reflect that. Some people call it a defensive mechanism…

  153. Guest says:

    I love how most of the arguments in this thread comprise of: "You're stupid and wrong, kthx." So if you like the game, you're golden.

    If you don't like it because of tired, re-used "jokes" that you'd probably hear from a 12-year old on XBL, and rampant misogyny that's actually been cranked up to 11 from previous installments, you're wrong and don't "get it".

  154. Doug says:

    The game is marketed to a 17 year old plus crowd. Mature only. Only bad parents give their kids the game. Taken in context, with the proper age level group playing the game: I'm going to take a huge logical leap here, and think: There isn't a properly functioning 17 year old in the world who thinks that crushing a woman's sternum is going to turn her on. It takes a real myopic idiot to think that there won't be a dissociation between fantasy and reality here.

    I'm not defending the offensive humor of the game. Not by any means. I get a real kick out of it, but then again, I have a sense of humor that is smarter than the average alarmist 35 year old WASP woman.

  155. James says:

    Isn't overt sexism and gratuitous violence the entire purpose of the GTA franchise and hence what makes it so fun and commercially successful?

  156. actimism1 says:

    Good article. It's too bad that in 2013 this video game still relies on such ignorant uncreative sexism.

  157. eric frew says:

    perdonally i find the game fun and entertaining as a 31 yr old adult, to everyone complaining about violent video games amoung young children, gamestop was checking IDs at the midnight release and anyone under the age of 18 was not permitted to buy the game, if a parent feels they do not wish for their children to play the game, be a parent and not buy the game for your child, there is an age restriction for a reason and was rated M for mature audiences only, it also on the back of the game case states everything that could give a parent a guide whether or not they would want to allow their child to play the game, personally if i was a parent and it said it contains “nudity, drug use, strong sexual content, graphic language” common sense would say i would not allow my 14 yr old child to have that game

  158. tokyogenevieve says:

    To all those referencing how popular GTA V is and how much money it made as a counter-argument… What are your thoughts on Twillight? ;)

  159. H.I.M. says:

    I feel like the author of the article has missed the entire point of GTA series as a whole. It is not meant to be a high-brow experience in social economic discourse and geopolitical issues. It was never meant to address to long skirted discussions of sexism and hate speak that run rampant in today's society. This isn't even a message that crime doesn't pay or some upstand nonsense of that nature. This is GTAV or for the uninitiated Grand Theft Auto V. The very name indicates that this is not that type of game. The will be no poignant social commentary. Barriers will not be tested and challenged. Car will be blown up. Robberies will be executed. Innocent AI bystanders will be mowed down by a Minigun or run over by a taxicab. Players will make it rain for a polygon stripper, and yes, the low-brow, mysogenistic, toilet humor will run rampant. Before you write a review on something, you shoud try to understand the intent of the game. Maybe then you will understand why it has a 5 star rating. That, or you could compare it to an episode of Frasier and upset yourself that it did not teach a gaming generation how to properly listen to Mozart. Either one is fine.

  160. @Erilis000 says:

    I think people tend to look at this issue in too polarizing of a way, reducing the argument to "Is it a great game or is it sexist?" when I think it's both.

    GTA 4 actually had several strong female characters: Mallorie Bellic was Roman's love interest and played a supportive role helping the brothers, giving them her place to stay and providing Niko with romantic and business connections. Elizabeta Torres is probably the strongest female character because she ran her own (illegal) business and she while had some animosity towards men it didn't stop her from respecting the ones who did good business with her (Niko). Michelle (Karen) was another strong character and while some might argue falls into a cliche stereotype of a succubus her sex had relatively little to do with her role in being an undercover informant. If she were a man she would have surely gotten to Niko some way other than dating.

    GTA 5 has no such characters. The women either serve men because of shattered egos/low self esteem, harbor bigoted, prejudiced, and unwavering animosity towards men, or use men for personal gain due to prejudiced spite alone.

    All the characters in GTA 5 operate via weakness or low self-esteem, whereas the women in GTA 4 are guided by strong wills and self-respect. GTA 5 is amazing in very many ways but it is pretty disappointing to see no interesting female characters (not even one) playing against the stereotypes the series usually pokes fun at quite effectively.

  161. Eric says:

    as a "professional" writer of "literature", you should understand the concept of satire…

  162. Gandhi says:

    As though people are somehow more "enlightened" this decade, as apposed to last. Honestly, did you expect a zombie outbreak to occur, forcing all of Los Santos to set aside their differences and overcome great adversity, while respecting women, children and life in general.

    Thank you Rockstar, for not disappointing. You will have my money when all the sexism and violence comes to the PC.

  163. Emre says:

    HAHA loved the comments.
    Make sure your read the article before you write a comment idiots.

  164. gabusan says:

    I love it when some guy decides what is funny or not and then goes on to tell everyone about it in the Internet.

  165. Guest says:

    Who in their right mind goes into this game seeking anything but what the reviewer hates about it? What a ridiculous article. Hopefully this fellow finds a new line of work. He's not so good at this one.

  166. The GTA series used to be my favourite games. I loved the open ended aspect. I loved the freedom. One day I could be a kind ambulance driver saving lives. Another day I could a crazy biker doing stunts. Another day I could a gang member trying to own the place. It was funny too and twisted. But I just got tired of it. When the violence wasn't funny anymore it was just sickening. I would have bought another game if the next lead character was a woman, but it was another man – the same stuff just with more detail. The sexism always leaves a bad taste in my mouth, but I choose to ignore it and see the funny side, but again I got tired of it, once it wasn't funny it was just… sexist. And I have to get away from that stuff sometimes, because it ends up making me think negatively of myself and I seriously don't need any more of that dragging me down, it is difficult enough as it is. So I chose to say my goodbyes to the series. It was good while it lasted, I do wish it changed and evolved but Its just how somethings go I guess.

  167. SARAH says:


  168. elle says:

    i read this article and was horrified by the content of this disgusting game. i thank the person who wrote this article so i can be aware of what my teenage son is soooo mesmerized by…advising someone to crush a woman's sternum, murder and rape being compared to blowing bubbles….it is sick and . and then i read the comments defending this low life piece of trash game….anyone who can stomach watching a woman being raped and think its funny is just a shell with no humanity and will one day wake up in a burning hell that they were easily led to….i would never play this game or anything that is so despicable. and the reason it is so popular and made so much money is because there are soooo many sad people with no life other than satanic fantasies in a video game. i am sooo glad i was raised better than that and i feel sooo sorry for the kids who are just like dogs to their parents…they were cute as puppies…lots of pictures and cute cuddles but as they got older they are left longer and longer with no supervision, no appreciation, nothing but food and shelter….dumb dogs play in traffic and well…no one taught them any better or protected them.and for the person who designed this game….your talent is lacking….if you cant keep someones attention without letting them stare at your bloody car wreck…youre just not a very interesting person.

  169. Jonah Berkley says:

    To be honest if you're really too close to the game it's hard to give it a rating. Whoever wrote this is just too close to the whole topic, which in some cases is good but not this time. I have to do a report on video games, one being "Grand Theft Auto V", but I do it from this. It's too bias, in the sense that whoever wrote this got their feelings hurt and can't look past the fact that their city was picked to be in a video game. Keyword: VIDEO GAME! That's all it is, if you can't see past that then that is your problem. The fact that people are upset about this is one thing. We're at a time in age where people should be smart enough to do what they want and not just do whatever they see on TV. Seriously come on…

  170. Christine says:

    let's put it this way do you really think anyone adults and especially young people should play a game where they repeatly hear comments about raping 12 year olds and breaking a woman's sternum….common sense please!!!! Also, in the scientific community it is accepted as a fact that watching violence media is Directly correlated with aggressive behavior and violence (the connection is as strong as smoking is with lung cancer), people just want to believe it doesn't cause any harm. Anyway, it's not rocket science….killing women and degrading women is not something a developing brain (young children, teens…which lots of parents do let their children play these games even though the are not suppose to….oh shock and awe there are lots of bad parents out there) should be exposed to for OBVIOUS reasons!

  171. Tia says:

    I've been a fan of the franchise since GTA III, back in 2001. I agree 1,000% with this article. The series should mature if R* wishes to maintain its high level of success.

    -Every adult player who likes GTA but wishes R* provided intelligent (and thus, funny) satire instead of non-stop low blow insults and blatant hatred of everyone.

  172. @PCWorld13 says:

    GTA V Online has some issues, but it is great. The single player has multiple missions, and mostly you don't have to do everything. Like in GTA IV , Niko do that, Niko do this, Niko blah blah. On GTA V , because of the three characters, you don't feel like you do everything. There's so much detail, and landscape. In GTA IV ,it's purely City, but in GTA V, you have backdoors, Deserts,Beaches/ Shorelines, and City. I recommend getting GTA 5.

  173. jean says:

    I guess you must not like R rated movies either?

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