Tag: No Spoilers

Yesterday, we ventured into how inappropriate a card game can get with Cards Against Humanity. Today, we will look at how inappropriate a video game can get with:

Game #4

Now, the chances of a loved one being a video game player that hasn’t purchased this game already is probably pretty slim (it did make $1 Billion dollars in its first three days on the market). But, if they haven’t and they are old enough to play Mature-rated games (17+), you have to buy them this game.

The fifth installment in the series isn’t just more of the same; it is bigger, badder and online-ier (?).

That is right: the game’s storyline branches between three different characters (seen above in order: Trevor, Franklin and Michael) and includes 69 direct missions with nearly as many side missions, races and other unique quests that add up to a far longer experience  than that of GTA IV. And it is also a much more cohesive story, with characters that are unique and make sense doing the things they are doing.

The world of Grand Theft Auto V (GTA V) is also gigantic – at least triple the size of GTA IV and probably larger than all GTA games combined since GTA III was released on PlayStation 2 in 2001.

The world of GTA IV (inset) compared to GTA V

Other than being larger and more extensive, this game also does tend to take the content to the extreme as well. I will say it again, this game IS NOT FOR CHILDREN. The game includes large amounts of swearing, many instances of characters making questionable actions or comments, a strip club with partial nudity, and one unskippable interrogation scene that draws many similarities to an early scene in Zero Dark Thirty (it may also be taken from Dick Cheney’s dreams). This game pushes the envelope, intentionally, so make sure the person you are buying it for is ready for a game with these types of experiences.

The other major addition in this iteration is Grand Theft Auto: Online, which acts as a separate always-online, open world experience. The player creates their own character and then plays online with up to 15 other people, both friends and foes, facing off in deathmatches, races, missions (both cooperative and competitive) and unorganized hi-jinx.

Having logged about 12 hours, there are always things to find in this mode, though it is quite a bit less directed than the single-player experience. It is ultimately best traversed with a buddy or two to add to the enjoyment. The most fun moments have been just tooling around town, trying to break into different areas with a pal in tow, something that is much more rewarding than “going solo” in the single-player game.

And the game’s developer Rockstar is planning on adding to the already existing content with online heists, new game modes and possibly even new cities (Vice City anyone) in the future, which makes it another gift that keeps on giving the whole year round.

If you’ve enjoyed the previous games in the series, this is a no-brainer of a buy. If you played the previous games but tended to get bogged down in the story as it progressed, give this version a go as it does a much better job of keeping it interesting with set-piece moments and switching between characters. If you didn’t like GTA before because of control issues, many of those are resolved, so I would also recommend giving the series a second chance.

Check back after Christmas for our full review of GTA V and our thoughts about GTA Online thus far.

Have you played the game? If so, what are some of your favorite parts of the game? I know the heists are probably my favorite. Let know what your favorite things are about this game in the comments below.

Where to Buy

This game is available for XBox 360 and PlayStation 3 and can be purchased at all retailers that sell games.

Purchase online at Amazon here (it currently is discounted by $20, so pick it up now!).

On paper, I love this movie.  It is such a nice twist on what is becoming an old formula.  As soon as I saw the trailer there was no question in my mind, I was going to see this movie, and see it I did.

 I have been a fan of Mr. Knoxville and his group of Jackasses ever since I was a wee little teenager attempting the stunts I had seen them do on T.V.  Disclaimer be DAMNED!!!

Like many of you, though, it had become apparent to me that the original Jackass formula was being driven into the ground.  Those I still appreciate their movies, The need for them to keep making them was rapidly approaching 0.  After all, who really want’s to see 40 year old men behaving like teenagers?  At some point the lack of growth becomes depressing and sad.

But then Johnny Knoxville had a great idea.  What if we gave it a narrative?  Works for me.  Instead of doing the same old schtick, take one aspect of it, and expand.  Enter “Bad Grandpa.”

Bad Grandpa is the story of an old man (Knoxville) who get’s stuck with his grandson and has to travel cross country to bring the young lad home to his father.  A task that the Grandpa in question, is less than eager to take on.   During their trip, we enter classic Jackass territory. 

  • Old man enters public location
  • Does, or says, something horrible to unsuspecting citizens
  • Comedy Gold

Along with.

  • Young innocent looking child enters public location
  • Does, or says, something horrible to unsuspecting citizens
  • Comedy Gold

What I love about this movie is ultimately what I also hate about it.  Paradoxes aside, let me explain.

The beauty of Bad Grandpa really does come down to the Narrative aspect.  That’s what separates it from being just another Jackass movie.  The problem is that these guys are so used to making movies the Jackass way that they don’t know how to develop proper story arcs, or character relations.  That was quite apparent in this movie.

Before I go any further let me point out that this movie definitely delivers on the proven Jackass formula for comedy gold.  Good stunts, witty banter, and splendidly inappropriate use of a minor.  It is every bit as entertaining and hilarious as any other Jackass movie.  Only this one has a plot, and there’s where some definite improvement needed to be made.

We, as an audience, need to have honest feelings for how these two characters interact with each other.  We want to see them go through a journey, and not just a physical one where the travel from one place to another.  That’s what should make this different, if not better, than the Jackass movies.  We need to see this Bad Grandpa grow from his hateful distaste of this child, to something other than that, in a natural way.  The attempt was made, but made poorly, which really slowed down the movie for me.

Granted, at it’s base, this movie is just another Jackass movie.  I could probably be a little less judgmental of things like classic story structure when watching a movie where the highlight is a stripper showcase at a children’s beauty pageant. (I feel dirty typing that) If you’re going to make the effort to include story, you’re going to be judged on it.  I love Mr. Knoxville’s work, and I applaud his efforts of growth, but he has a lot to learn. (As do we all)

To wrap things up, If you like Jackass movies, you’ll probably like this one.  Watch it, laugh at it, and accept it for what it is.  The slow narrative definitely lowers it’s rewatchablility value, but you should enjoy it the one time you do watch it.

4 Stars out of 7