Answer to a rhetorical question: Does it matter?
Rockstar Games’ Grand Theft Auto 5 is nearly upon us. You may not know this, despite the heaps of spoilers that have been leaked online, or the news that it will be pre-loaded on September 16th on Europe’s PlayStation Network, giving consumers in the continent a single day to download and have it ready for release. But yes, Grand Theft Auto 5 – after years of rumours and hype – is finally upon us.
There should generally be doubts for the game. Given the amount of hype that Grand Theft Auto 4 received which, make no mistake, was highly successful and managed to hit 25 million copies sold after several years of retail despite consumers feeling it didn’t justify the astronomical level of critical acclaim it received, will we be seeing a repeat with Grand Theft Auto 5?
Rockstar isn’t worried about reviews obviously. It’s showcased the game and all the new features. Despite all the leaks, there is a feeling that we haven’t even begun to scratch the surface of the wonderland of mayhem that is GTA 5. Will it be the highest rated game of this generation?
The key answer is, as it was with Grand Theft Auto 4, is that you don’t really care. No one does. Because it’s Grand Theft Auto. If you were reading the reviews and deciding whether Grand Theft Auto III was right for you, then fair enough since it brought the genre into an open world sandbox setting for the first time (and in the process, showcased the limitless potential of the genre). But did you read any review when Vice City released? Were your palms sweating with anticipation as to whether San Andreas would crack the 90 mark on Meta? No.
Maybe you waited and watched with games like Red Dead Redemption or LA Noire. Maybe even for Max Payne 3. Heck, even Call of Duty, which is picked up on day one by millions of consumers, is coming under excessive scrutiny, especially as Call of Duty: Ghosts releases on next-gen and current-gen consoles. There is criticism that the game doesn’t look “ground-breaking” enough to distinguish it from the current crop of first person shooters, let-alone from the current-gen version of the same game.
Grand Theft Auto 5, on the other hand, isn’t on the Xbox One and PS4, and Rockstar Games doesn’t care. Could it help Sony and Microsoft ship consoles? Sure. Could it attain even higher critical heights with the mechanics being more than adequately compensated for by all that next-gen hardware? Undoubtedly. Instead, Rockstar elected to work with the current generation. This is of course due to the prevalence of PS3 and Xbox 360 consoles in comparison to the PS4 and Xbox One, but with everything GTA 5 is attempting to do – and reports of some short falls due to the limitations of current gen consoles – there are obviously going to be places where the game falls short.
Will it still be fun though? Will you be able to live with yourself if it doesn’t beat Bioshock: Infinite or The Last of Us or even other open world efforts in the reviews? Will you be angry if it gets “only” a 9 out of 10? How about an 8 out of 10? Or a 7 out of 10? If it’s the best game you’ve ever played but the critics till you otherwise, will you be unable to enjoy it? If Grand Theft Auto 5 isn’t the highest rated game of this generation, will it matter to the millions of consumers who will be picking it up regardless?
Decide for yourself and let us know below…unless you’re busy trying to procure a copy, in which case we more than understand.