GTAV and missing the point

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tumblr_mt81psjKpW1rbispdo1_400May not come as much surprise, but the reviews out for GTAV are all glowing praises.
Destructoid giving it a 9, IGN dropping a 10 on the game. Joystiq, Guardian, Polygon, all giving it 9.5’s and 5/5 ratings. Really the only bad things I’ve seen come from reviewers who don’t seem to “get” it.

Now, I’m not going to condemn them for their opinions because they aren’t really bashing the game as a horrible failure outright, but the issues they brought up are a little baffling given the game, its series as an entirety, and that they seem to have lost the point of what I believe the game is trying to do.  Please take into account that I have yet to play this game but I’m speaking from all the other games in the series.

One issue that the reviewer over at Gamespot had was how “sexist” the game was:

Characters constantly spout lines that glorify male sexuality while demeaning women, and the billboards and radio stations of the world reinforce this misogyny, with ads that equate manhood with sleek sports cars while encouraging women to purchase a fragrance that will make them “smell like a bitch.” Yes, these are exaggerations of misogynistic undercurrents in our own society, but not satirical ones. With nothing in the narrative to underscore how insane and wrong this is, all the game does is reinforce and celebrate sexism. The beauty of cruising in the sun-kissed Los Santos hills while listening to “Higher Love” by Steve Winwood turns sour really quick when a voice comes on the radio that talks about using a woman as a urinal.

Even though they say they are exaggerations, she turns around and says it’s not a satirical.  GTA as a series is a hyper-realized satire of the real world. So all the sexist ads are there because the developers are jabbing a stick in the eye of real life and its fixation on objectifying women in ads or the belittlement of others in order to heighten their product as superior.  Just because there is nothing in the narrative about it doesn’t mean that isn’t what they are doing.  Take the old movie Bringing Up Baby.  This just looks like a silly screwball comedy right?  Wrong.  This movie (although I’m not a fan) was an extremely slick and sneaky underhanded jab at the divide of classes near the end of the Great Depression.  Though the movie never comes out and says it, there is a subtle undertone.  How the hardworking, “poorer” man’s life is thrown into disarray by a rich, clumsy woman who does whatever she wants in order to get what she wants, even disrupting the man’s lifes work without so much as a thought about what she has done on her part.  Clearly GTAV isn’t being subtle but my point stands that you don’t need to come out and say “THIS STUFF IS BAD, and we’ve been making fun of it the whole time!” because it’s kind of obvious. I see it all the time on TV and I’m glad GTA continues to see how stupid that is and exaggerate it.

Another reviewer stated that the 3 protagonists are just scumbags and he couldn’t root for them. Again, at what point has a Grand Theft Auto (the name of the game should say it all.) had a lead that wasn’t a dickhead. At that point you should know what you are getting into. Breaking Bad has a terrible person as its lead and its hailed for being amazing. Not saying it’s not, but saying that knocking something for doing exactly what it describes itself as seems… silly.

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