What keeps you playing a game?
As I picked up the controller, I was free to do what I wanted in Los Santos. When I began, the character I was using was just coming out of the hospital. He had a shotgun and pistol in his possession and I was free to have him cause as much mayhem as I wanted. So, I hit the left analog-stick up and pressed Y to steal the first car in front of me. I ran over a few helpless pedestrians and escaped from vehicles as if I were in a spy film. I even ran off a mountain and fell all the way into the ocean. However, as crazy as this all sounds, I never said it was fun.
I don’t hate Grand Theft Auto V. It has a great story, great characters, and shocking scenes meant to make players question the stupidity in the world. That’s fine and all, but why do people really play Grand Theft Auto? The series is known for letting players go nuts in an open sandbox world in order to cause as much mayhem and destruction as possible. That being said, I don’t believe that going nuts in Grand Theft Auto V is what keeps you hooked into its world and characters.
There are two theories as to why I think I didn’t enjoy my stay in Los Santos. Games are fun with friends. This was proven with the successes of League of Legends and Left 4Dead. Having people to laugh and cry with during an experience livens up the action and drama because what is felt from the game can now be openly expressed and shared with others. There is someone who feels the same way you do, which creates a bond that makes unimportant in-game events seem like treasured memories to the players. When I played, it was only me and two others who were doing homework in one of the Honors College lounges. I didn’t have anyone to share my awesome run with, so I didn’t feel any need or desire to keep playing.
Games also have the ability to steer players into doing what they want us to do. If you went back and played Grand Theft Auto IV, you would notice that the story and vehicular mayhem were nowhere near the same, but as you messed around and avoided following the storyline, there would be no incentive in beating the hopeless and homeless. Grand Theft Auto 5 continued that feel, in my opinion.
As the franchise went from Grand Theft Auto I to Grand Theft Auto V, the games became rich satires of American life between hired guns and thugs. That also meant stricter law enforcement with the rise in ignorant fear and a desire for security. People started carrying less money on the streets. Icons of new weapons and money were removed to make them harder to find. It’s also a lot easier to die in Grand Theft Auto V. A bullet can take you out almost immediately, and while the game has a health regeneration feature, this only restores up to 50% of your health.
In the end, Grand Theft Auto 5 is still a really good game. I just find the game boring if I don’t play it for the story or for enjoyment to share with others. Unless, that is, the game threw rocket launchers at me from the beginning like in Grand Theft Auto II.