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Why Grand Theft Auto V is the Biggest Disappointment in Video Game History

Updated on December 16, 2016

Before we start this article, I just want to say that I think the GTA series is absolutely the best series in all of video game history. Growing up with video games in the early 90s, I played pretty much everything – Mario, Sonic, Zelda, even 80s classics such as Space Invaders and so on. When GTA 3 come out I was a young boy, and I still remember my awe when I looked at the back of the case and saw the 3D, free-roam possibilities. It was amazing – racing around, listening to music, beating people down, awesome missions, ridiculously great graphics, THE FREEDOM TO DO ANYTHING… it was a revolution in gaming.

For me Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas was the pinnacle of gaming. I’m impartial to COD, and I played Final Fantasy 9 for over 100 hours, but my time spent in San Andreas was beyond anything I’ve ever done. Perhaps I’m looking back through nostalgic glasses, but San Andreas was everything I ever wanted a video game to be. The missions were plentiful, variable, easy and hard, you could fly and drive everything, every cop chase was a thrilling moment… it was glorious.

Then I grew up and didn’t play GTA 4 much. For me it lacked the fun that the previous GTAs add (I might as well add that Vice City was incredible too, everything about it).

GTA 5: A Flop

Let me make another thing clear: I was excited about GTA5, and I mean really excited. Up until it was released I’d just play FIFA and the occasional 10 minutes on other games here and there. I was looking forward to getting some good hours in, completing tricky missions and doing all sorts of maniacal things.

GTA 5 promised so much, and it looked so great. But let’s be honest – it’s a flop. A complete and utter flop.

Looks so fun! And it is... for 10 minutes.
Looks so fun! And it is... for 10 minutes.

The Good

Let’s get the few good points out of the way, because that’s all there is. I don’t want to slate the game too much – it’s fun, and a hell of a lot better than most other games out there.

  • The graphics are great. They truly are, but so are many other games now. It’s a pleasure to watch the water and looking at the city is amazing, but these things wear off quickly.
  • The characters and character switching is excellent. I really liked the characters, all three of them. The switching is good too, and an enjoyable aspect.
  • The cars feel fun to drive. Police chases along with the cinematic camera don’t get old. The police are quite hard, yes, but that just adds to the fun and the thrill of the chase.
  • Selfies. Yes, that’s right. In one of the most anticipated games of all time, selfies are probably the stand out highlight. Although you can’t save or upload them unless you pay for gold on Xbox Live.

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The Bad

So now onto why I think GTA V is a complete flop. There’s so many reasons, but I’ll stick to the biggest problems here.

  • First, the map. Let’s be honest. When you look at the city it’s great, and the mountains are fun for a while too, while the desert provides some good alternative scenery. But apart from that, it’s complete garbage. So much time and effort seems to have been wasted on the ocean. How many times have I been down there? About 3, and 2 were for missions I’m sure. It’s just boring as hell. There’s barely anything to discover, and absolutely nothing to do except collect ‘nuclear waste’ (which is just boring). It’s a complete waste of time.
  • In addition, the map just feels… flat. There’s no forest, no snow, very few little hideouts, the tunnels are boring as hell, and even the skydives are just not thrilling at all. It seems like Rockstar wasted a huge amount of time here, because for 5 years the map is just lame.
  • Secondly – LACK OF INTERIORS! I mean WTF??? You can go into very, very few buildings: garages (which all look the same), the strip club (which, unless your 12, is lame), AmmuNation (again, all the same). There’s no variety, barely any choice, and you just can’t do anything except drive past a load of FAKE HOUSES AND BUILDINGS. It’s garbage.
  • Thirdly is the bike handling. In GTA:San Andreas it was thrilling to ride a bike, and especially a BMX, but now it’s just awful. They handle worse than cars, and there’s a high chance you’ll die. R* killed this one.
  • The multiplayer is atrociously boring. Even if we forget the infuriating bugs, how much fun is a few deathmatches and robbing stores? It’s been done before, and it gets old fast. For me, I don’t even like to play with idiotic 12 year olds, so I’d rather play offline, where there’s… well, nothing. I’m not even going to review the multiplayer – I’ll just say it’s even worse than single player, and let’s leave it at that. I'm sure it's great fun with 12 friends, but what if you're not a nerdy loser who has loads of Xbox friends?
  • Car customization? Shallow.
  • Gun customization? A flashlight and extended clip.
  • Stealth? Non-existent.
  • Spontaneous Bank robberies? Forget it.
  • Annoying iPhone app? Yes… but what if you don’t own an iPhone or Android?

You'll be on your knees with how disappointed you are (and this scene never actually happens in the game either)
You'll be on your knees with how disappointed you are (and this scene never actually happens in the game either)

The Downright Ugly

The story is the most disappointing thing in GTA V, and perhaps in all of gaming history. I thought we were promised an awesome movie-like story, but what do we get?

That’s right – ridiculously easy, boring missions. Again, we were told there would be diverse missions, a range of things to do, stuff we’d never seen before. We get shootouts which are just boring (the auto-aim just kills everyone on the screen), checkpoints so there’s no worry of failure, and driving around for 20 minutes at a time. I mean, one of the missions – yes, 1 of the 67 or so missions – is literally just buying 3 masks.

And don’t get me started on the heists. The trailers promised us the ability to plan heists meticulously, and then…

WE GET THE CHOICE OF TWO OPTIONS? 2 options?!??! How is that planning?

The heists were undoubtedly the biggest let-down of the game. We barely get any money until the last one, and there’s even a ‘heist’ where we fly a helicopter and submarine to pick up a ‘weapon’, only to give it back. It sounds fun, but it’s amazing how much it’s just awful. 10 minutes of flying there, 10 minutes in a painfully slow submarine, and 10 minutes flying back. Yeah, great heist.

And that’s why I think GTA V is a complete flop. My opinion? Play the 3D trilogy if you want some real fun. Or, don’t waste your time and money. Go and do something productive with your time instead.

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    • profile image

      Red Reaper 2 weeks ago

      I couldn't explain better myself but the only thing I disagree with here are the characters. Sure, Michael and Trevor are memorable, but Franklin? He lacks SO MUCH development that it felt like he didn't belong in the cast. Almost all the other characters are either forgettable, annoying, boring, assholes, or all of the above! There's SO many laughably forgettable and very unlikable characters.

    • profile image

      Nickname 6 weeks ago

      I would not reccomend to.buy this game its a waste of money

    • profile image

      bnika33 6 weeks ago

      As he said: "Honestly I think all they did in GTA 5 was advertise the modern lifestyle of a popstar in LA. What you do in the game is what you hear rappers say in music. Party...Exotic cars...Getting rich...Getting drunk...etc. The online helped spoil it too. They took all the fun from GTA."

    • profile image

      Michael 2 months ago

      I haven't touched this game since August 2015 and I'm not planning to.

    • profile image

      Mar9122 2 months ago

      Where's GTA 4?

    • profile image

      BethesdaSucksNow 6 months ago

      @Henry Black Burn lol Skyrim was an overrated dumbed down casualized piece of shit of an TES game, even GTAV easily beats the hell out of it.

    • profile image

      Jayla 7 months ago

      Yeah this game got old really quick it's boring as hell and Ima girl smh.

    • profile image

      Joe Average 8 months ago

      Thank you for speaking on behalf of the average video gamer. Rockstar are absolutely DROWNED in fanboy feedback and never get real feedback which is why their games are starting to suck. You are righteous for saying what you said and did so in a concise and accurate manner addressing everything I hated about GTA V. It's the largest instance of buyers remorse in video gaming history for me. Please ignore the autistic screeching of fanboys below. You're bang on the money.

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      rafael 18 months ago

      I think the game is great and looks gorgeous but they missed the icing on the cake. I too was siked about this game, when I got it and got to drive the car for the first time in the part where they still them...it's like the cars where full of helium, any little touch would flip them over, overall, driving just feels "loosey" heck the first GTA had better handling!

    • profile image

      The Truth 22 months ago

      GTA V PS4 update:

      Sadly after the disappointment that was gta v on ps3 I purchased the remastered version on ps4. Now, let me start off by saying that visually the game is amazing and they really did improve a lot of visual aspects of the game such as draw distance, fine detail and increased foliage and wild life such as a larger array of dogs and even cats and birds. however there improvements doesn't go past that, the game still feels very flat and stale and maybe I was wrong to expect this but the city is exactly the same with not one single addition in landscape or building,

      The Gangs:

      the gangs in Los santos may as we'll be lamp posts and benches as they literally do absolutely nothing it's actually amazing that the designer was happy with the way the gangs turned out, I refuse to accept that to this day the best gang AI came from GTA San Andreas as this GTA V nonsense is pathetic. Some gangs in the game are completely isolated and never get into conflicts with other gangs such as the Marabunte Grande and the nearby Cypress Flats Vagos which is a wasted opportunity to set the grounds for an excellent fictional gang rivalry except the two never ever cross paths instead all they do is stand around repeating the same exact lines.

      The City:

      Soooooooo much space is wasted in this game it's ridiculous, half the map is taken up by mountains and other places that you only really venture to once. In the map there are two mountains, a swamp, deserts a sea and an ocean, a wind farm but only ONE enterable venue within the city where you actually spend the majority of your playing time... The hood is even more of a joke as it looks bizarre and unlike any part of the real south central in LA. The projects and individual buildings were modelled from south central LA but the actual layout of South central Los Santos is alien with streets laid out in almost what looks like loops and curves instead of the straight blocks that you see in South Central. Where are the rows upon rows of houses seen in movies such as Friday or Boyz In Hood? Instead we have several neighbourhoods that are made up of literally ONE street such as Chamberlain Hills and Rancho were you find yourself driving up and down Forum Drive Or up and down Jamestown Street, Forum Drive and Chamberlain Hills are basically the same exact thing which is lazy in my opinion Forum drive should be one of the several streets within Chamberlain Hills same way Jamestown Street should be one of the several streets within Rancho except what we see is Jamestown and Rancho are basically synonymous. If the designer wasn't bothered to put more effort into Rancho they should have just made the entire neighbourhood a housing project like they did with the South Eastern portion of rancho that way the area would have more of a hood like feel instead of feeling like a last minute street that was quickly added on.

      Police helicopter:

      Whoever thought it was a good idea to design the police to shoot at you from a helicopter is a retard, it completely strips the game from any realism and enjoyment. The constant sound of bullets ricochetting off my car from the police chopper drives me insane and ruins the chance to enjoy a realistic police chase.

      Lack of Revolvers:

      Out of all the guns they have released since it's release on ps3 in 2013 and it's release on ps4 in 2014 we are yet to see a single revolver, now I know there will be people out there like whoa picky much? But you have to understand the arsenal of weapons they have decided to release instead of a revolver including a firework launcher, Ray/Laser Gun, musket, Torch light, Taser and a can of gasoline proven useless if not shot to ignite but not one single revolver...correct me if I'm wrong but I think there has ever only been one revolver made since GTA III and that was the modified revolver with the scope that you get in Vice City apart from that it's been a revolver drought.

      All in all the game had the opportunity to be the greatest GTA to date but instead I think they focused on providing activities for every type of person to enjoy instead of focusing on what made the GTA series good in the past and how to bring those improvements into the next gen console.

    • profile image

      Glove 2 years ago

      You nerds will never be happy

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      jack 2 years ago

      Its lame especially the online. They should work the thing, it is fucked. Replayability its not exist especially in online, cause adding a shirt and a hat in 3 months waiting isn't dlc but a crap. You sell us out... and i don't speak about heist. Heists was dificult and you spent almost a year to add proper dlc cause heist which still we haven't. You nerfed the crap of it, Dlc weapons disapears when events done... i mean wtf... no fun, money comes hard and prices are rediculus cause very little online content, misions became boring as fuck the 100th time we did them cause no new modes or maps added. Nice job. Im waiting the pc release to add modes from users! YOU ARE TERIBLE.

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      Nolo 2 years ago

      Honestly I think all they did in GTA 5 was advertise the modern lifestyle of a popstar in LA. What you do in the game is what you hear rappers say in music. Party...Exotic cars...Getting rich...Getting drunk...etc. The online helped spoil it too. They took all the fun from GTA.

    • profile image

      Shaun 3 years ago

      A lot of the issues people have (interiors, map detail etc.) is limited due to the hardware in current consoles, wait for the next gen release and pc release, that's when Gta V will shine. If it still have these issues, then rockstar have lost it.

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      jmatheos4839472 3 years ago

      umiru bolno.

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      jmatheos4839472 3 years ago

      Yee, die painfully thx...

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      Niko bellic 3 years ago

      realized I needed 8gb to play so I sold ac 4. Game was really confusing to follow at first then at about the paleto score I realized these characters don't have IT. No emotion whatsoever $6 that's why I liked 3, 4, and san andreas all of those chatacters were likable then I was actually in shock I don't consider this a Gta game.Gta 4 in my opinion was amazing. When five came out my friend kept on telling my the activities and features. So I got the game had to sell dbz raging blast and cod black ops 2.Then

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      champs 3 years ago

      I agree with everything and more. Tbh I felt lied to and mislead. The online on gta 4 was much better. The story in gta v just didn't make sense and the online is a poorly put together joke. All they had to do is remaster San Andreas add the new physics engine. Combine the online of max Payne and red dead. The game would have been perfect. I've lost all respect for rockstar there pretty much on par with how bad EA is. So disappointed roll on fallout 4

    • profile image

      rob 3 years ago

      slow gameplay boring bad soundtrack bad voice acting horrible story bad shooting mechanics the dolls die to quickly no free camera option aereal combat is terrible races are easy etc etc

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      trev 3 years ago

      seriously guys? there might be a couple of missions where you have to drive a lot or just buy masks. But the rest are fun. Like assassinating missions, bond missions, robbing banks or a store, driving a bike in a muddy tunnel and so on. If u think the missions were easy then you probably haven't got gold on it. Get gold on it first then say it's easy. GTA V might not have much interiors but what's the point of going there if it's not related to any missions or anuthing? Just to waste time? By the way buildings like lifeinvader and others are enterable once or so but look how detailed they are!! So guys, GTA V is awesome!!!

    • profile image

      anyGTAisBETTERthanV 3 years ago

      I totally agree to everything said here!! The truth is... R* has put more evert in the trailers than the game!! I was sooo hiped and super exited seeing what would have been my favorite game to play.. And from the moment I started playing I wanted to cry of disepointment, man the map is f*ng small and feels as if I'm driving in surcles!!! Hit a ped ones and you have the f*ng N.O.O.S on your ass!!.. The missions was funny and enjoyble but that's about it though, I'm still playing SA and TBOG its always fun, where I can't drive for 20 min without getting bored in V, I'm a huge fan of the GTA series but man its hurtfull to say (GTA V) sucks toe!!!

    • profile image

      Yee 3 years ago

      You do know that they work on other games then gta, right? They did flop with online but if you are social online and not an a- hole you can get many friends. The heist do let you choose if you want to take an loud and stupid take on the hiest. I even enjoyed the story more then gta4 and the game runs great. The final mission if you choose the "death wish" makes you feel so bad a$$. In San Andreas you could not enter a lot of houses except those that had a mission in or a safe house. I think this game was an improvement to the game series and hopefully in gta 6 we will get everything we want.

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      Kyle 3 years ago

      GTA 5 is my least favorite, way overrated, and not what I expected for all those years I waited for it to come out. Storyline is complicated and boring. I love storylines like GTA SA or GTA VC etc. (P.S.: How can Lazlow look that good and so young when in GTA EFLC they say he's old-looking, middle-aged, bald and have man-tits... I mean he was an adult in Vice City (V-Rock) so how can he be so young in 2013? lol...)

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      Henry Black Burn 3 years ago from Cambridge, Massachusetts

      Skyrim is much better than this game, no one can beat Skyrim until the Elder Scrolls come out

    • profile image

      Tyler 3 years ago

      When GTA V came out I enjoyed it a lot and still do.. However I can agree on the interiors point... Rockstar could have put a lot more effort into this.. Also it does not make any sense of why rockstar would have you able to enter food joints like burger shot and what not but you can't enter them in GTA V!! Wtf is this!? And I was expecting more clothe stores than suburban binco and posnboys I wanted newier stores. I think tho that the biggest letdown for me was all the things rockstar promised with this game... Like why would they omit the ability to go to a pet store and buy new accessories for chop?! And where is the savanna from San Andreas... I wanted the gang territory's back assuming because ya know Franklin is grove and well I can't seem to understand why they would not put a mini game or side mission to go n take back grove street with Lamar! I wanted to see the ability to use your phone to listen to music like you see Michael doing in a CUT SCENE!!! Omg this whole omitting stuff is really pissing me off but other than that I think the game is really great and great to look at..

    • profile image

      Me 3 years ago

      This is the first site which is talking against gta 5. It is nice, you may not own the game or be jealous of not getting it

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      Eli 3 years ago

      you stupid phaggot go kill urself i swear m8 ill wrek u m8 i swear on me mums loife

    • profile image

      troy 3 years ago

      Man I literally waited so long for this nd I'm % 100 percent with u gta 5 total let nd all u other guys who think not shouldn't be able to giv an opinion....soon as you first play u notice the driving lets be totally honest the driving killed this game

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      TheTruth 3 years ago

      Gta 5 is an overrated/overhyped pice of shit.

      The bad story line and the unlikable characters destoryed this game. You just don't feel connected to them. Besides that,

      there is no gang wars, no taking over spots. Grove Street and gangs are there , but I wonder why ? It looks great and everything, but that's about it. Other than that, Gta 5 sucks and is a HUGE disappointment.

    • profile image

      8888 3 years ago

      GTA is not perfect, but what is? I'd make a few changes to online and that's it. Maybe even better vehicle armor to handle rockets and grenades. Bullet proof glass would have been nice too. More money for consecutive 1st place finishes would have been nice. Rockstar could have also sent out rogue jets or tanks to hunt you, or summoned a gang to get you, or maybe a serial killer or something that's off the grid. Creator is kind of interesting, but a hassle to use.

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      Vic 2.0 3 years ago

      Wait just one cotton-pickin' minute!

      You forgot quite a lot.

      1. Idk why you like the characters. They're all pathetic and/or despicable, and I struggled so hard to care what happened to them in the story but in the end I just couldn't.

      2. As C Johnson pointed out, the combat (whether they were talking about the gunplay or hand to hand and melee) really sucked. Not like Sleeping Dogs raised the bar for them a year ago or anything, either. Sheesh.

      3. No jetpack. Seriously.

      4. No dating/relationships. Yes, this is a bad thing. It doesn't have to be the annoying obligation that you're constantly being reminded of (We have to admit, they did that wrong in San Andreas), but it should've been an option.

      5. They did away with the emergency vehicle missions! No police, firefighter, or ambulance missions at all. This is just unforgiveable.

      6. Building on your point about the boring map, they should've at least let us see the casinos of Las Venturas in the new graphics. But noooo. In fact, there's no gambling at all (No, the stock market is not the same, but way to suck the excitement out of EVERYTHING, Rockstar).

      7. Because the map is so big, it's just a chore to go hunting for collectibles. And of course, when you do find them, don't expect much of a reward for your trouble.

      8. I know you said the strip clubs were lame "unless you're 12" but really they are needlessly explicit. Just like the voiceovers you hear if you should happen to hire a prostitute. Back when they started doing this in GTA 3, it was new and humorous for that fact alone. People just couldn't believe you could actually hire a hooker. Now, it seems that Rockstar is just doing it because they're perverts. Who really would complain (except a pervert) if they let that joke die back in 2001? Well at any rate, the voiceovers go way too far.

      9. Speaking of going way too far, how bout that torture scene? You know, the one where you HAVE to torture an innocent person to progress the story? One of your options is yanking their teeth out? Odd choices, Rockstar... Or was that just another joke, like the softcore porn? Hahahaha, so funny...

      10. Ohhh, the hand-holding. From the ridiculous amount of damage you can do to your car without it exploding to the fact that you can flip it over by moving the analog stick (wtf?) to the way the game just places you back on the path when you go astray during a boat race. It's almost as if they went out of their way to remove any CHANCE of the game being exciting. Removing the challenge will do that.

      As you can see, I'm on your side, bro.

      GTA 5 = One big, beautiful disappointment.

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      c johnson 3 years ago

      I agree about word for word. You just forgot to mention how terrible the combat is.

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      Maxine 3 years ago

      @Mike Nielson

      So half of the GTA community then?. those forums are filled with hate, Nobody apreciates anything now.

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      Mike Nielson 3 years ago

      Wow! You need to get a life, anyone bitter about a video game like you are needs to get a life outside of video games! Go play Saints Row IV!