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GTA V review: Sex, violence and the great American dream

GTA V review: Sex, violence and the great American dream

GTA 5 is a landmark game. An experience in open-world game play which will not be repeated for some time to come.

New Delhi: Grand Theft Auto is one of the most popular game series ever, known for its open world game play and over the top portrayal of violence and sleaze; it is a game which has always divided opinion on censoring game content.

Rockstar has perfected the art of open world game play, and its experience really comes to the fore in GTA 5. But while Rockstar has managed to expand the GTA world with its incredibly expansive setting of San Andreas, its real tour de force is the 3-man narrative.

GTA 5 allows gamers to play as three characters (and briefly, as a dog!)- Michael, Franklin and Trevor.

Early in the game, you are introduced to the concept of 'character swap' where you play as two different characters during an armed robbery.

This lays the foundation of what Rockstar has basically used as a backbone to the entire narrative of GTA 5.

The three characters are as different as chalk and cheese but yet, on a fundamentally violent and 'human' level, they are alike.

Michael is a 40-something ex-con who is living out his middle age away from the world of crime in his Vinewood mansion with a cheating wife, a geeky-gamer-drug-addict son, and a misguided daughter who is just about to step into the porn industry.

Franklin is an up and coming thug who is looking for his 'big break'. He is from downtown Los Santos and plays the stereotypical gang-banger from the hood.

But the real work of art is Trevor. He is introduced having sex with the girlfriend of the leader of a local biker-gang. When confronted Trevor not only kills the boyfriend, by stomping on his head, he also pretty much wipes out the entire gang.

He is a serial criminal running a successful drug and illegal arms trade from the desert, who particularly enjoys killing rednecks and his psychotically violent behaviour, is fuelled by drugs, alcohol and a seemingly completely messed up childhood.

All three characters have their separate lives, which overlap during the course of the game, and yet have a healthy bunch of exclusive missions which keep you going back to each one of them; eager to take the story of their lives forward. They also have individual skill sets and special abilities.

Franklin is an expert in car chases; Michael knows how to use his fists in combat and Trevor can literally shoot the wings off a fly's back.

It is the second most striking feature of the game; the first being the gorgeous detail of the world in which these three exist. The openness of their surrounding environment is realistic enough for you to spend hours just aimlessly exploring it.

From racing on the beach, to stopping roadside muggings to the regular Rockstar feast of prostitutes pulling over cars and highly explicit lap dances in strip joints.

There are seemingly endless activities to do in San Andreas - tennis, yoga, hiking, racing on sea, on land, and in the air; golfing, cycling, diving, hunting, and lots more.

GTA 5 in the end is the ultimate spoof on American life. A country struggling with recession but with strip joints full of customers, a thriving porn industry, a social networking site 'Life Invader' which wants your personal data only to sell it for personalised marketing ads. Everything in GTA 5 is a tongue-in-cheek look at the great American life.

The complete disrespect for law, and the near perfect breakdown of family ties. It's a society thriving on quick cash, violence, drugs, booze and sleaze.

It is an extreme portrayal, but a portrayal which fits.

On the whole Grand Theft Auto 5 delivers on its promise. With high-octane action, stunning graphics and an engrossing game play, it is a game which will keep you entertained for hours.

GTA 5 is a landmark game. An experience in open-world game play which will not be repeated for some time to come.

first published:October 09, 2013, 13:19 IST