Grand Theft Auto is synonymous with lurid brutality. The series has courted controversy at every turn with its graphic portrayals of sex and violence. Despite being almost universally reviled by the mainstream media, it remains one of the most popular franchises of all time. How happen? It’s not even that good of a game. Read on to find out why you should hate Grand Theft Auto.
1. The wonky controls are a bitch
This has been a problem throughout the series, for combat and vehicles alike. What made the auto-aimer think I wanted to target that hapless bum or the mailbox over the guy punching holes in me with an AK47? Why would I ever want to get on a motorcycle when it’s guaranteed to throw me to my death in 20 seconds or less? GTA IV is certainly a great improvement over the rest of the series, but one game doesn’t excuse 12 years of crap controls.
2. The character models look terrible
From the giant blocky hands to the pixelmash faces, GTA characters aren’t even realistic looking enough to evoke the uncanny valley. It’s a whole lot tougher to identify with a character’s plight when his face looks like a bowl of oatmeal. Ugly people deserve to have bad things happen to them, right? Again, IV went a long way toward resolving this problem, but its character models are still a mealy mess.
Above: Not Final Fantasy cosplay: those are “pigtails”
3. Repetitive missions are repetitive
Kill this guy. Don’t let them kill that guy. Get from A to B in less than 7 minutes. Steal a car and take it to the Pay n Spray. Each new GTA game adds a fresh coat of paint to the same tired old horse (that’s an intentional catachresis). Even the open world play feels wearisome after a couple hours – really, how many hookers can you run over before it loses it’s magic?
4. GTA is misogynistic
True, it can be argued that GTA doesn’t grab you by the nuts and force you to mistreat women. It just gives you the option to. But there aren’t a whole lot of other toys in the sandbox, are there? Run them over, beat them up, shoot them, hire them for sex. A game that offers the easter eggy incentive of killing prostitutes to get your money back is clearly not concerned with anything beyond juvenile power fantasies, so gender equality is pretty much off the table. (Note: gender equality should not mean that the female characters are just as despicable and unlikeable as the male characters.)
Above: It’s funny because you’d never do it in real life
5. It tries to be a clever bit of social commentary, but is actually one of the foremost purveyors of the culture it criticizes
Agree or disagree? Americans are arrogant, ignorant, self-indulgent slobs obsessed with violence, pornography and conspicuous consumption. GTA doesn’t pull any punches in its critique of modern society, but its resoundingly cynical response is to wallow in its own crapulence and cash in on those very same cultural shortcomings it takes to task. Self-awareness without self-improvement is just narcissistic wanking, no matter how rich you get in the process.
Mar 25, 2010