What They're Saying: Early Grand Theft Auto V Review Roundup

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If you were one of the people lucky enough to not be working (unlike yours truly) or sleeping last night when “Grand Theft Auto V” officially went on sale, congratulations: you’re probably already playing a modern day classic.

That seems to be the general consensus of the early round of “GTA V” reviews, many of which are already up at various prominent sites around the internet. Our GameSided review will follow a little bit later as we’re going to take our time delving into everything the game has to offer, but as a public service to anyone who wasn’t a day one buyer on Rockstar’s latest magnum opus, we figured we could at least round up some of the opinions already floating around and gather them in one place.

Stephen Totilo of Kotaku says:

Rockstar Games has scaled a mountain with “Grand Theft Auto V,” creating the best-looking, best-sounding and, most importantly, best-playing version of gaming’s most notorious franchise.

He also adds that in comparison to “Grand Theft Auto IV,” the new game “is far better-looking on console even though it is running on the same hardware, has a more interesting and varied world, has better average mission quality.” Yes, he liked it.

Keza MacDonald of IGN gives the game a perfect 10, lauding its living world, sense of humor and gameplay improvements. She summarizes it pretty succintly: “It is one of the very best video games ever made.”

On the subject of its level of potentially objectionable content—something that, rightly or wrongly, always comes up when a new “GTA” game is released—she has this to say:

It’s worth mentioning that when it comes to sex, drugs, and violence, GTA V pushes boundaries much further than ever before. If the morality police were worried about Hot Coffee, there’s a lot here that will provoke moral hysteria. It’s deliciously subversive, and firmly tongue in cheek… but once or twice, it pushes the boundaries of taste, too.

Another perfect score comes from Matt Peckham of Time, who really gushes about the game’s scale, saying, “You’ve never seen a game world as thoroughly realized. Not in ‘Skyrim.’ Nowhere.”

Peckham also likes the nuts and bolts of the gameplay, saying:

In fact I’d call it the most refined game Rockstar’s ever published. The vehicle physics are immaculate and the driving controls are superb; the interface is stripped and clean; the gunplay and tactical cover system are perfected; the expertly paced missions are honed to a fine, felonious edge.

However, he also raises a question about the objectification of women in “GTA V,” wondering if it’s more satirical commentary on the part of Rockstar or something less ambitious and more misogynistic. It’s an opinion echoed by Gamespot editor Carolyn Petit, whose largely positive review also has this to say about its treatment of females:

GTA V has little room for women except to portray them as strippers, prostitutes, long-suffering wives, humorless girlfriends and goofy, new-age feminists we’re meant to laugh at.

And also this:

With nothing in the narrative to underscore how insane and wrong this is, all the game does is reinforce and celebrate sexism.

Xav de Matos of Joystiq has some more general problems with the story in his 4.5-star review, feeling that the decision to focus on three different characters instead of a single subject means you don’t get to know any of them as much as you might like. And he doesn’t seem to actually be too fond of any of them.

Over at The Escapist, Greg Tito has even more problems with the people you’re controlling this time around. Notably, he says the three leads “aren’t even anti-heroes. They’re just scumbags.” Tito says “Grand Theft Auto V” would be game of the year and even decade if this wasn’t true, but even he admits that, “Technologically, ‘Grand Theft Auto V’ deserves the mantle as the pinnacle of this generation” while giving it 3.5 stars.

The staff of Edge has no such mixed feelings, making “GTA V” only the 16th game to receive a perfect 10 in the magazine’s history. To sum up why, here’s the end of their review:

It’s a remarkable achievement, a peerless marriage of world design, storytelling and mechanics that pushes these ageing consoles to the limit and makes it all look easy. As we stand on the brink of a new generation, GTAV sends an intimidating message to the rest of the industry. Beat that.

Sounds like Rockstar has done it again. Watch for our review before the end of the month, and enjoy the game if you’ve already got it or are picking it up today!

Tags: GTA V Video Games

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