Hello Truthful Realists,
Today I come to you with a game from a franchise that has long ruled the video game scene. It has caused parents to fear that their children are crazy, prostitute killing psychopaths and has caused a bunch of lazy, narrow minded politicians saying that games “create violence” for almost 20 years now. That game is Grand Theft Auto. This article will be talking specifically of Grand Theft Auto V and its online component, Grand Theft Auto Online. While this particular game has been out since 2013, it has made its waves long before that. Whether you are a hardcore gamer that enjoys beating every game you touch or just a casual gamer who pops in this game just to cause chaos for a few minutes, I’m sure you know it well. I know I sure do. For that reason, I am going to give my take on the latest installment and what it is saying about the current state of gaming.
Grand Theft Auto V has had a lot of hype around it. Before it even came out, it was heavily hyped for the great amount of features it would have, the new idea of having 3 main characters instead of the typical one and for having an online mode that was unheard of in this franchise. I, like all other fans of the series, was ecstatic about its release. I followed every bit of information I could find on GameSpot, IGN and any other gaming website. I even set a GTAV fan site as my homepage on almost every computer I frequently use so that I would not be out of the loop for anything. I’ve played every game in the franchise and was not about to miss the most recent. Highly detailed graphics? It had them. More space to play in? It had that too. The list kept going. It had me hooked before I even played it. So, as any other gamer would, I marked my calendar for the release date and waited. It was pushed back a few times but that did not shake me. When it finally arrived, I was in line at midnight ready see if my years of waiting had paid off. Well…… It did and didn’t. Let me explain.
My first go-round with the game was fun. I would go play it for as long as I could without being interrupted. The characters felt new to me. They didn’t seem to have the typical backstories that all the others did of the past. Sure, it felt like they took it all out of one character and put it into three, but it was new to see that. They all lived completely different lives. One was a former heist man who was bored of being a civilian again. The other was a former gangster trying to turn businessman. The last character was a meth freak who wanted to make his name known in the criminal underworld (Like I said, not exactly new, but new to have not rolled into one character). The world looked amazing, the cars were newer, the guns had more detail to them and the missions felt a bit better. I should have known right there that something was bound to go bad.
The first mistake I made when playing this game was failing to see what was not there. A lot of the crap that was promised to the gamers beforehand was left. Sure, it’s been proven to be on the disk, but it was not in the game. The online mode was put on the backburner. It was mentioned before the game was released so it wasn’t too big of a gripe for me. The heists missions that were promised were not present either. After a bit of back and forth the company (Rockstar Games) said that it would be there soon. Yeah, you could play the main story line heists but once you beat the game you can’t play any newer ones. Things that were portrayed in the trailers were actually just cut scenes. While it seemed like the map was actually bigger, the reality of it was that it was really just a bunch of wasted space to fill in the void. Anyone who played Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas will loudly blurt that out when the topic is brought up. Even still, I kept pushing. I kept hoping for better days in the future. Well, it came and then it kind if just went away again.
The online mode finally came and seemed like a gift from the heavens. I have longed for a real chance to play a story mode-type of gameplay online with others. I thought it would be terrific to do missions with my buddies and other random people. While it did have a bit of the fun I was wanting, it did not come without a price (Literally). This game came with a new industry-accepted trend that is ruining gaming as we know it. It is a thing called “Micro-Transactions”. For those of you who do not know what these are, it is when a game maker creates a full game and then locks away parts of it for money! If you play games on your smartphones or on Facebook then you probably are well aware of this strategy. I will be completely honest in saying that this is really where the heart of this article was leading to. Here is why.
Micro-Transactions are starting to plague games like this. The reason being is that these money-hungry gaming companies don’t think that the initial sixty dollars that was spent on the game was enough. They need to charge you to have fun within the games. How so? Well, let’s say you have a car you find in the online mode of GTAV. You like this car and want to make it your own, but you just started in the game and don’t have a house. Well, a house costs money in this game. To someone just starting off, that money is hard to obtain. What is the solution to this? Shark Cards! Yes, the company is willing to help you get this house a lot faster if you are willing to part with your real money. So for a house that cost 150,000 dollars in the game you would need to get the 4.99 “Tiger Shark” card. So you spend your real money for your in-game money, get this car you want, get the house you want and you’re done, right? Well, not really.
Now you need guns, more cars (Because you can’t win races with a bucket!), need to customize those guns and cars, need another house for all of the cars you keep collecting and customizing and you just heard about that yacht that they created that needs to be yours too! Well, if we add up all of those numbers, we come out to around 15 million in-game dollars (And that’s being stingy on those rides!). So you scroll over to Rockstar website and look up how much 15 million in-game dollars will cost you and low and behold, it comes to the very nice price of 200 real life dollars. So in total, you’ve just spent 265 real life dollars for something that should have only been 60 real life dollars (Not including taxes).
Now, I know some of you are thinking “Well, can’t you just play the game and earn it the normal way?” Sure. That is an option. The problem with that option is that the company doesn’t want you to be able to earn 15 million in-game dollars over night, so they have to limit how much money you can get and raise the price of how much everything costs to be successful, and also put in limits on where you have to be, progression wise, in the game in order to obtain those items. So that 15 million in-game dollars will run you about 20 hours to a few weeks or months depending on how dedicated to getting it you are. (20, being that you are almost the best at the game, play non-stop for 20 hours and play the same highest paying mission over and over and over and over and over and….. You get the idea). So, while it is possible, it is not logical. That’s what Rockstar was hoping it would feel like to you.
Don’t get me wrong here. I am not saying that these companies don’t deserve a reward for making something that takes them years and hundreds of thousands of man hours to create. My problem is that when your game sells 1 billion dollars in copies in its first 3 days of release, is considered Game of the Year, and is crowned the best-selling video game of all time (And it was released a second time mind you, for “newer” consoles and PC), you shouldn’t be limiting your game for handouts and penalizing those who don’t want to pay you even more for something that should have been 60 dollars period. I think that games need to go back to the days of Super Mario Bros, Sonic the Hedgehog and Zelda, where a game was released in its entirety, with no restrictions. The only thing you had to do was be good enough to get to the content, not go pay more than the game is worth to get there. That is an article for later on though. I’ll let you think about that on your own time.