Be Calm and Shoot On
As an angst-ridden teenager, my older brother and I owned a PS2. We had a variety of games at our disposal, but one game rang true to our state of minds at the time. That game was Grand Theft Auto 3. Some of my favorite memories involved my brother and I spending sleepless nights challenging each other in who could get to a five star wanted level the quickest. It was amazing at how quickly our little characters could commit full-blown terrorism, and how much fun it was to wreak absolute havoc in ‘Liberty City’. Now, since that time Rockstar games has released several other installments into the GTA franchise. The latest of which is Grand Theft Auto 5 and although this game is already almost 2 years old, it is still probably one of my most abused games. The insurmountable hours poured into this game is astonishing even to myself.
As a game franchise that has been around for nearly two decades, I know I’m not alone in feeling a weird sense of comfort in playing this notorious game. Of all the mainstream games that have been released in recent years, I feel like this game gets a lot of controversy surrounding it’s violent and explicitly sexual nature. These aspects don’t necessarily bother me, however I will agree that this game really glorifies the idea of being a criminal. Whether or not that’s a bad thing, I feel is entirely up to the player and they should really be the ones to use discretion in deciding if it’s a type of game that they want to expose themselves to. Despite the polarizing opinions on this game, a lot of players enjoy this game. Does that mean we are all innately bad on the inside? Or is there something else that keeps us drawn into this notorious game franchise.
With the latest installment, Rock star Games has effectively combined three different types of games into one. Like all Grand Theft Auto’s, GTA5 has the typical RPG mode in their main “Story Mode”. The story mode follows the same cookie cutter gameplay that Rock star has used for nearly all of their previous installments. The difference this time around is you won’t stick with the same character that you get introduced to in the beginning. One thing that is new with GTA5, is that Rock Star has also opened up an “Online Mode” for players to access. This allows them to roam around an online version of Los Santos, while seeing other players run around as well. You can interact with them as friends, or engage in some PVP. Although this part of the game has never appealed to me personally, it’s a nice touch for players who enjoy a more MMO aspect to their games.
In this same Online Mode, however, you are also able to engage in a racing style game. In typical Grand Theft Auto fashion, players are encouraged to steal cars in order to get around. For the online experience, you can steal a nice car and take it to one of the many customs shops to make it unique to you. You can repaint it and even tune it to your hearts content. Once you have the car pulled together, you are then able to enter in races found throughout the city with other players in order to gain experience as well as in game currency to further put towards your ride. This aspect of the gameplay side is probably the most fun, especially if you have your friends online; the more people that are involved with the race, the more ridiculous it ends up becoming. Rock Star did a great job weaving this aspect into their online experience and I hope that they continue to do so with future installments.
Unlike other open world RPG’s, this game has a very unique gameplay mechanic that has been around for as long as I can remember. Whether you’re running around in old Liberty City or shooting up modern Los Santos, you are constantly faced with a morality decision. At any given moment the player could choose to steal a nice car, shoot up a store for extra cash, or go on an all-out killing spree just for the sake of entertainment. However, by doing so you’ll increase your ‘wanted’ level and, eventually will have the whole city after you. Morality decisions are abundant in many modern day RPG’s, however the GTA franchise really was the first to test the waters with this type of consequential gameplay.
With this aspect of consequence, it almost makes the players feel like they are that criminal character. It’s truly exciting when you can go steal that super nice car from some unsuspecting NPC, which then triggers the city’s police force to chase after you. If you lose them, then great! But if you do get caught, you simply get taken to a night in “jail”. For most individuals, that does not happen in real life. It’s this taste of living in a world where there’s no major consequence for breaking the law, which really keeps people coming back.
I’ve found that the moments I crave a really good GTA run, are the moments that I feel the most stressed. Bad day at work? Go steal a nice car and take the cops on a joy ride a few times. Stressing out about money? Go on an innocent killing spree down a random street to make in game currency. You guys get the point. This game is a healthy escape for you to just be, well, bad without dealing with any of the real life consequences that come with it. It’s a great outlet for all of that negative energy that we all experience in our day-to-day life. I really urge you all to give it a shot the next time you feel pent up over something bad that has happened in your day. Take a deep breath, and just remember to ‘Be Calm, and simply Shoot On’.
So what do you think? What has been your favorite part about GTA 5 thus far? What are some of the things that you dislike about it? Do you feel like this game has helped you over the years, or caused you more stress? Let us know if the comments below!
– Gamer Tina