Grand Theft Auto V

 
(i)

 

Learning(i)

Crime, violence, sex, drugs, and alcohol = not for kids.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

This game glamorizes and sensationalizes criminal lives and activities, including thievery, murder, prostitution, and drug use. Its aim is to entertain players by allowing them to role-play as criminals carrying out acts that are intensely violent and usually quite selfish, such as torture.

Positive role models

None of the protagonists or their associates serves as a decent role model. All are actively involved in or otherwise connected to the criminal world, and the majority of their decisions -- to shoot police officers, to take advantage of women, to kill fellow hoods, to torture -- are driven by greed and self-interest. 

Ease of play

Most of the game is of average difficulty for an M-rated action game, though specific missions likely will test players' skills and tenacity. Helping ease things along is a polished and intuitive interface unlikely to cause most experienced gamers any grief.

Violence

In the role of criminal characters, players employ an extensive array of realistic weapons ranging from pistols and shotguns to machine guns and grenades, killing hundreds of people including gangsters, police, and innocent bystanders. Cars can be used as weapons, too, both purposefully and accidentally, as players race through crowded streets slamming into anyone who gets in the way. Blood often sprays from injured and dying characters, staining their clothing and the environment. One scene involves the player's character graphically torturing another, using methods including waterboarding and pliers. Screams and moans of pain are frequent. 

Sex

A strip club mini-game shows women naked, save skimpy panties. They push their breasts toward the camera, and players can direct their avatars' hands to touch the strippers' bodies when bouncers aren't looking. Prostitutes attempt to sell themselves on the street, and many of the game's female characters are clad in revealing clothing. Men and women are shown having sex, though they aren't naked. Some scenes imply masturbation, fellatio, and even necrophilia, including pleasured moaning sounds. Men's genitals are shown, though in non-sexual context.

Language

Frequent coarse language includes very strong words, including hundreds of instances of both "f--k" and the "N" word. Other words, including "s--t," "c--t," and "c--k," appear frequently as well. 

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

A player has several opportunities to make his character smoke marijuana and drink alcohol. Effects of the former include the avatar commenting on how pot doesn't phase him, even though his vision becomes brighter and objects become haloed with light. In one instance it makes the player's character hallucinate alien monsters. The result of imbibing alcohol is a wonky camera designed to simulate dizziness and loss of balance. Players can drive while drunk.

Privacy & safety

Major privacy and safety concerns. This game includes an online multiplayer mode in which up to 16 people can play, engaging in open voice communication that could expose them to inappropriate language and topics. 

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Grand Theft Auto V is an M-rated action game brimming with gang violence, nudity, extremely coarse language, and drug and alcohol abuse. It isn't a game for kids. Playing as hardened criminals, players kill not only fellow gangsters but also police officers and innocent civilians using both weapons and vehicles while conducting premeditated crimes, including a particularly disturbing scene involving torture. Women are frequently depicted as sexual objects, with a strip club mini-game allowing players to fondle strippers' bodies, which are nude from the waist up. Players also have the opportunity to make their avatars use marijuana and drink alcohol, both of which impact their perception of the world. None of the main characters in the game makes for a decent role model. All of them are criminals who think of themselves first and others rarely at all. Few games are more clearly targeted to an adult audience.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Social Studies

  • cultural understanding

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • strategy

Collaboration

  • cooperation
  • meeting challenges together
  • teamwork

What Kids Can Learn

Although elements of Grand Theft Auto V focus on teamwork and strategic reasoning, we don't recommend it for learning because of the graphic violence and mature themes.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Social Studies

  • cultural understanding

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • strategy

Collaboration

  • cooperation
  • meeting challenges together
  • teamwork

Although elements of Grand Theft Auto V focus on teamwork and strategic reasoning, we don't recommend it for learning because of the graphic violence and mature themes.

This Learning Rating review was written by Chad Sapieha

What's it about?

Rockstar Games' decidedly adult-oriented GRAND THEFT AUTO V puts players in the shoes of a trio of criminals in Los Santos, a fictionalized version of Los Angeles. One protagonist is a middle-aged gangster who begins the game as a recently retired criminal; another is an unpredictable, drug-addled psychopath; and the third is a young man just starting out on a life of crime. Players have the ability to switch freely among these men as they work through a dramatic criminal saga that sees them carrying out heists, stealing cars, taking revenge on rivals, and killing anyone who gets in their way, including police officers and innocent civilians.

The immense world they inhabit is sprawling and free for players to roam, providing them the liberty to do anything they want -- from piloting boats and ATVs in rural settings to playing golf and tennis at local country clubs -- whenever they like. Though story-progressing missions, which are usually major criminal acts, are always available, a primary part of the game is exploration, allowing players to find side quests ranging from tow-truck jobs to murder mysteries. An online mode not yet released at the time of this writing will allow up to 16 players to engage in many of these activities as a group.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

From a technical and design perspective, Grand Theft Auto V sets new bars. The world it presents is unrivalled in authenticity and vibrancy. It feels fluid and alive. Time passes organically, characters' lives progress, and there is a simply astounding quantity of side activities in which to engage. It's quite possible to explore the state of San Andreas for hours without moving the main story forward a stitch. In fact, that's part of the fun. And it's all been polished to a glossy sheen. The controls feel great, the visuals are lush, and a brilliant graphical interface empowers players, giving them all the information they need -- and only the information they need -- exactly when they need it. However, the writing isn't quite as sharp as it has been in previous installments; the humor is a bit broader and less sophisticated, and the main characters aren't as well developed (probably because there are now three), but this only impacts the overall experience a little. It remains a very impressive game.

Keep in mind, though, that much of the content is unequivocally geared for adult audiences. And even then it will not be for all tastes. Grand Theft Auto V puts players in the roles of criminals who show little remorse for their evil actions, and often even take pleasure in them. It's a dark fantasy with the potential to prove immense fun for those who are mature enough to properly appreciate its adult humor and able to clearly distinguish between right and wrong. It is not a game for younger players with developing psychologies. And adults who don't have a taste for role-playing a life of crime should probably give this game a wide berth.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the impact of violence in media. Do you think violent games have a different influence on the behavior of those who consume them than do violent movies, books, or music? How do you decide when violence becomes too much for your kids? 

  • Families also can discuss role models in games. Antiheroes make for popular protagonists across all media but might be viewed differently in games since players actually perform their dirty deeds rather than simply observing them. Can an antihero ever be a good role model?

Game details

Platforms:PlayStation 3, Windows, Xbox 360
Price:$59.99
Available online?Not available online
Developer:Rockstar Games
Release date:September 17, 2013
Genre:Action/Adventure
ESRB rating:M for Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Mature Humor, Nudity, Strong Language, Strong Sexual Content, Use of Drugs and Alcohol (PlayStation 3, Windows, Xbox 360)

This review of Grand Theft Auto V was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

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Parent Written byMary Manchester September 19, 2013
 

GTA V REVIEW

I just bought this game for my 12 year old son after a lot of convincing, and I don't find it as bad as CS said it was. There is not a lot of blood and you can stay away from sexual content. My only problem with the game is the swearing...A masterpiece though.
What other families should know
Too much swearing
Parent of a 14 and 16 year old Written bykevinjohnson123 September 19, 2013
 

GTA 5 Review

As per usual, only half of the true story is told by these review websites, much like common sense media. To be honest, as long as your child is over thirteen and knows their right from wrong then there's no real reason to stop them from getting this game. My son had been asking me for the game's in the GTA series for quite a while, allot of his friends have had this game since they were as young as 10 and he didn't understand why I wouldn't let him have it. But after looking at the game and seeing him play it at one of his friends house, I decided to let him have it. Firstly the mini game in the strip club isn't always on, and there's no mission which makes them go there, so you should be able to trust them enough not to go there. The majority of the swearing is in the cut scenes, which you should be able to trust your child to skip if you want them to, and the same goes for the nudity (although it isn't shown very often, once once or twice throughout the game). Since the missions which are told in the cut scenes are repeated in the menu, skipping these cut scenes shouldn't interfere with their play through of the game. So in whole, as long as your child is mature enough to skip the cut scenes and know that the game isn't real life, then I don't think you should have any concerns about giving it to anyone over thirteen, since the language isn't any different (and probably less frequent) than what they would hear at school.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Parent Written byBigdaddy101 September 20, 2013
 

Great game and not as bad as people say!

Well this game has a bad reputation but it really doesn't deserve it! You can learn a lot of things from this game such as about stocks and bonds, managing money and also sports as the is a big golf and tennis minigame! Bad places can easily be avoided and the violence is no worse that what is seen on the news and the language isn't as bad as what can be heard in school! It is a really fun game and a mature child should be just fine playing it as long as they are not a psycho and will know that it is a game and shops never be repeated!
What other families should know
Too much violence

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