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5 things wrong with the GTA series that fans don't want to admit

Image via Rockstar Games
Image via Rockstar Games
Rahul Bhushan
Modified 09 Apr 2021

The GTA franchise might be one of the most loved franchises in the history of gaming, but it isn't without its flaws. Regardless of the mindless chatter around video games being the cause for real-life violence, that is not going to be the primary area of focus here.

The franchise has been guilty of several things that die-hard fans might not be too eager to admit. Quite often, fans must take off their rose-tinted glasses, look at their favorite games objectively, and figure out what exactly they can do better.

After all, the truest fan is also one that is capable of objective opinion and analysis. Here, we take a look at some of the things that are wrong with the GTA franchise that fans don't want to admit.

Note: This article is subjective and solely reflects the opinion of the writer.

5 things wrong with the GTA series that fans don't want to admit

#1 - A history of misogyny

Image via Rockstar Games
Image via Rockstar Games

The GTA franchise has always maintained a high level of notoriety in the eyes of mainstream media and the news. It has always been the target of many critics of video games, often pointed to as the franchise representative of the deeply rooted misogyny within the video game subculture.

That reputation isn't exactly one that's unearned, as the GTA titles have had a track record of poorly written female characters. Rockstar has been making major strides towards a positive direction with characters like Sadie Adler. But they still have a long way to go in the GTA franchise.


While many often defend GTA's lack of good female representation as a way to satirize modern media and culture, the argument quickly loses its legs. This is mainly because satire fails if it reinforces the state of mind it purports to undercut.

#2 - Hit or miss protagonists

Image via Rockstar Games
Image via Rockstar Games

Through rose-tinted glasses, it is easy to make the case that the GTA franchise has had a near-perfect track record of protagonists. However, when looking at it objectively, there are far more underwhelming protagonists than great ones in the GTA franchise.

As mentioned earlier, nostalgia might cover up the fact that CJ manages to always be the guy caught off-guard and never in control. Also, Tommy Vercetti having no personality outside of being a tough Italian mafioso with an ax to grind.

GTA 5 solved much of those problems by having three excellent protagonists, with Michael being a standout as an unconventional video game protagonist.


Characters such as Claude, CJ, Tommy, and Luis might be deeply loved, but it has been hard to make an argument for them as being compelling characters.

#3 - Forgettable villains

Image via Rockstar Games
Image via Rockstar Games

For everything else that GTA manages to do right, it can often be forgiven for having virtually only a couple of great villains in the series. Standouts like Officer Tenpenny and Dmitri Rascalov are exactly that, standouts in a sea of uninteresting and forgettable villains.

The idea of villains like Devin Weston is extremely well conceptualized, but one that was executed great. Weston and Steve Haines can often be used interchangeably without changing much of the story. By the time credits roll out on GTA 5, players will have already forgotten the names of the "villains."

For the most part, players are invested in the story solely for the protagonists and the supporting cast around them, rather than being motivated by the villains getting their comeuppance.

#4 - Humor doesn't always land


Rockstar Games has cornered the market on satire, and there is no question as the studio being the definitive voice of comedy and parody in the gaming industry. Yet, occasionally, Rockstar's humor falls flat, leaving the audience completely confused as to whether they were supposed to laugh or not.

For instance, most of what Trevor does in GTA 5 can often just be chalked up to Rockstar, winking straight to the camera and going, "Ha! Classic Trevor!" But the man literally cannibalizes strangers and makes rather uncomfortable advances to every character on the screen.

At this point, it can often be confusing as to what Rockstar's goal was since it often feels like perhaps the audience and the writers weren't on the same page.

#5 - Filler missions/padding

Filler missions can often be unavoidable in games the scale and size of the GTA franchise, but it doesn't make them any less cumbersome. Often, the games will have entire sections completely divorced from the rest of the campaign and take place literally outside of the main story's location.

For instance, both in GTA 5 and San Andreas, the protagonists are forced to leave Los Santos and go into exile and complete a bunch of unrelated missions. While GTA 5 does a better job with it in that instance, it is guilty of missions such as "Scouting the Port," which is obnoxiously boring.

Filler missions take the wind out of the sails for any story and are often even more excruciating on repeat playthroughs.

Published 09 Apr 2021, 12:30 IST
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