Escapist Podcast: Bonus: Grand Theft Auto V

Bonus: Grand Theft Auto V

In this bonus podcast, we discuss Grand Theft Auto V. Spoilers for Grand Theft Auto V and Red Dead Redemption.

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"We didn't introduce ourselves, but you know who the fuck we are."

-Greg Tito

Love it.

OT: I definitely wanna play this just for the new open world stuff you can do. I'm definitely soured on the story after reading the review and the feature article, but then I remembered that the story hardly matters anyway when it comes to this game. (Though I do agree with Greg about how it was nice to have a through-line in Niko Bellic or John Marston that the player could relate to.) I'm just mad that Redbox only carries the PS3 version of the game and not the 360 version. Guess I'm gonna have to actually buy this one if I wanna play it. =/

I'm curious to know if there are different versions of the infamous torture scene for the different regions or reaction to button prompt

I'm definitely soured on the story after reading the review and the feature article, but then I remembered that the story hardly matters anyway when it comes to this game.

In my experience, the storyline is the only thing keeping me playing GTAV at this point. There just aren't as many side activities in V as there were in IV. You have golf (once you encounter and unlock an opponent), tennis (that uses the crappy foot-controls), yoga (hold both sticks, pull both triggers), and darts (at one location half-way across the map). There are a few races, but they're ridiculously easy and tedious. That's about it. I had more fun with the side activities in Far Cry 3 than I've had with GTAV.

Morgan Williams:
I'm curious to know if there are different versions of the infamous torture scene for the different regions or reaction to button prompt

My Trevor used the wrench to break the guy's arm instead.

Schuyler (glad he actually went and at least watched the cutscenes this time around) is actually making the better points.

I *still* can't get how Tito in particular fails to acknowledge that the characters in V are no different from the characters in previous games who are just as wanton with other human life in the actual story missions. All the more frustrating when that point was hammered home in page after page of commentary. It's also (red) Dead wrong to use any comparison point to John Marston, who has a tale very much his own and can actually be, not quite "moral", but honourable. So stop trying to shoehorn him into the discussion.

Also, well pointed out by Schuyler (and Goodman as well, I think), the whole world is satire, it's a perverse "through the looking glass" view of our society's faults amped up to eleven. Overbearing? Possibly. That is a matter of taste, but what one cannot argue is that this view is not persistent or consistent. Since GTA went 3D and gained a story structure of sorts, this moral bankrupcy has always been in display. The former action movie hero who roid rages in a talk show in San Andreas, the sleaziness with which Fernando Martinez tries to sell off his prostitution ring as "marriage counselling", all of this goes way back. I can get why people can be put off by it, and I once discussed it here on the fact that this is satire in the way Veep, or The (british) Office do it, where characters can be really, really obnoxious. But it's always been that way, and I still don't see how it's been referred to as something new.

Good news, I did indeed finally figure out how to reliably steal a jet from the military base.

There is not a single character in GTA V that is entirely likeable.

That is why I like GTA V.

People are often terrible, they are not always heroes, or villains.

You can't always empathize with them and understand them.

This is what is going on with all of the characters in GTA V to me. The game makes us play people we can't empathize with. THAT is different, VERY different for me.

Most of Michael's earlier story missions are centered around his family, they may seem one dimensional, but we all know people who are actually like that. We all know people we don't like. To me, Michael was the most... understandable. Then they make him out to be a man with anger control issues and an adrenaline junky who has to have his life on the line, leading to his own self destruction.

I genuinely can't understand why everyone keeps talking about disliking the characters so much that they dislike the game/story. It is all there from the beginning, you are controlling corrupted, horrible, people. Learn from it, because sadly these kinds of people actually exist.

In a game full of realism, that is the most realistic thing to me.


I think you're getting Schuyler and I confused. I wasn't on the last podcast.



I think you're getting Schuyler and I confused. I wasn't on the last podcast.

You're correct, sir. Though it did say Goodman, Tito, Schuyler and Heather (thought that was the typo) when I commented. Hence the confusion, as Goodman and Tito are the most recognizable of the cast. Anyway, assuming you're the guy in the middle, some great points.

You are crying because the main character is not a white night, and that you don't like the humor.

The game is the same as it always was from gta3-gta4 its just more of it. NOTHING HAS CHANGED

I've got to say, I found the pliers to be the most unpleasant torture implement - you had to rotate it in a certain way, I don't know, but however you were supposed to do it, I couldn't figure it out - I was trying to get that tooth out for minutes, and then, when I finally figured it out, blood started spraying out, he started screaming more, there was this awful grinding sound - I couldn't watch. And that was the first thing I did, and I had to torture him 3 more times, all the while with him talking with a slur because I'd wrecked his mouth. That mission was not fun.

With that said, I saw the game through, I finished it, and in the end, I think I did enjoy it and I did come to enjoy the characters. And I did so more than I have with Rockstar's other games - don't get me wrong, I enjoyed GTA IV and Red Dead: Redemption - great games in a great world, but I didn't care for those characters at all - they're morose, they whine, and they're used by various interests who never let them go until everything goes to shit, and that combination of a character whose life is miserable and consistently, stupidly, makes decisions that pull them deeper into that misery is something that wears at me. I think the exception might be the McRearys in GTA IV, I liked them, and I liked Niko when he was around them, but really, let's not pretend that Rockstar's previous games haven't been set in worlds of scum and scumbags - the only difference is that in GTA V, we have a protagonist who isn't so beaten down and morose about it all that he trudges through it with lead shoes - that doesn't make Bellic or Marsden better people in my eyes, because they keep doing it; to me, it just says they're idiots who hate themselves and don't do anything about it. With GTA V, Michael makes stupid decisions, but at least he puts in the effort to enjoy what he does, and Trevor, insane and depraved as he is, refuses to be beholden to anyone, manages to keep control of his life, and for the most part, manages to enjoy himself - and those make them infinitely more sympathetic in my book.

That's one of the many reasons that I eventually, to my surprise, found myself preferring Trevor to Michael or Franklin - he refuses to be pulled into the ridiculous nonsense that the other two spend the whole game diving into, and when he does find himself in a situation, he resolves it. Moreover, his character was in the end, bizarrely, easier for me to understand than the other two. Ultimately, I see Trevor as someone who continues with his psychotic, manically depraved persona because he's fallen so far into it that it's all he has left, and it lets him make peace with all the stuff he does. Michael's unwillingness to try to repair his family? I don't get that. Franklin's unwillingness to change or abandon the various disfunctional relationships that he has is, while something I can understand, something I also have very little sympathy for. Trevor choosing to be a lunatic rather than having to face the things he does? Surprisingly, I can get that. Maybe that's just my interpretation, I dunno, but it works for me.

Sorry for the enormous post, very much enjoyed the podcast.

Tito, in his review, says things that are demonstrably false such as saying that the Life invader mission has no context and no explanation. Not only did he apparently not play past that point (and must have looked up the torture scene online or something) but he didn't even bother to listen to the cutscenes before and after, explaining why it was done at all.

But yeah, really funny that the game that depicts torture as a horrible criminal act is the one to be blamed for trying to glamorize or normalize it. None of these people said a word about it with COD or Splinter cell, maybe because those games portray it as necessary if not heroic acts.

Things like this prove the title of Tito's review correct, people suck.

I have to agree with Justin about the depiction of torture in video games. After all, video games are a unique medium in allowing you to experience something through your own actions and not merely seeing them or reading about them like on television or in books. The fact that you feel horrible after having committed torture is probably a good thing. If you didn't, it wouldn't be a very accurate depiction of torture anyway.
And if a game needs to make you feel uncomfortable to get the point across, then that's not necessarily a bad thing. It's an indication that games as a medium are maturing and the fact that even broad-appeal, AAA games like GTA 5 are willing to sacrifice fun for their message is something that should be applauded. Personally, I've always found that a great game is not only fun, but it also teaches you something, allows you to view the world in a different way because of something you experienced. And that opportunity for teaching would be severely diminished if you already knew that GTA 5 was going to include torture beforehand and could mentally prepare for it.
Sure, you can say that we already know that torture is bad, but you could also argue that we don't really know anything until we've lived it. And if we want video games to be taken seriously as a medium, then sometimes they've got hit us in the gut like that, when we least expect it, in the same way film and literature can do.

Good news, I did indeed finally figure out how to reliably steal a jet from the military base.

Ha! I guess after sneaking past those tanks you really are a tank ninja!


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