GTA V

It’s immediately noticeable that the cover system is more reliable and the auto-aim less touchy. The cars handle less like their tires are made of butter and stick better to the road, though their exaggerated handling still leaves plenty of room for spectacular wipeouts. And at long last, Rockstar has finally slain one of its most persistent demons, mission checkpointing, ensuring that you never have to do a long, tedious drive six times when you repeatedly fail a mission ever again. Grand Theft Auto V is also an intelligent, wickedly comic, and bitingly relevant commentary on contemporary, post-economic crisis America. Everything about it drips satire: it rips into the Millennial generation, celebrities, the far right, the far left, the middle class, the media… Nothing is safe from Rockstar’s sharp tongue, including modern video games. One prominent supporting character spends most of his time in his room shouting sexual threats at people on a headset whilst playing a first-person shooter called Righteous Slaughter (“Rated PG – pretty much the same as the last game.”) It’s not exactly subtle – he literally has the word “Entitled” tattooed on his neck, and the in-game radio and TV’s outright piss-takes don’t leave much to the imagination – but it is often extremely funny, and sometimes provocative with it. Grand Theft Auto’s San Andreas is a fantasy, but the things it satirizes – greed, corruption, hypocrisy, the abuse of power – are all very real. If GTA IV was a targeted assassination of the American dream, GTA V aims the modern American reality. The attention to detail that goes into making its world feel alive and believable is also what makes its satire so biting.

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