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Grand Theft Auto V (Series) Review

Game image Grand Theft Auto V
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Buy Grand Theft Auto V now on Amzon

Posted: 9 months ago, last updated 5 days ago.

Author: @GeekDadGamer and Jo Robertson.


Grand Theft Auto is a series of action-adventure game where you travel around one large location taking part in different criminal activities: pulling off heists, with lots of shooting and stealing and driving a variety of cars and other vehicles.

GTA V is considered a particularly technically impressive example of open-world games, which can be credited to its huge development team and budget. Similar games include Sleeping Dogs, which is set in Hong Kong, and Saints Row IV, which features similar mechanics but openly makes fun of GTA and other games.

It's the first game in the GTA series to have multiple main characters. It tells the stories of three criminals: Michael, a rich former bank robber living under witness protection; Trevor, Michael’s old partner in crime; and Franklin, the youngest of the three. The single-player campaign sees them team up to commit crimes, though their relationships – with each other and with people outside of the group – are heavily tested.

The Grand Theft Auto games are often called satire, as they parody various aspects of American life like politics and celebrity culture. However, some critics have said that GTA V doesn’t manage to get beyond simple offensive humour.

While some will undoubtedly play GTA V because they enjoy speeding away from the cops in a stolen car or carrying out acts of extreme violence, others will be drawn in by the impressive technical achievement that is its open world of Los Santos, closely mirroring Los Angeles, and filled with things to do, whether that’s driving around taking selfies, making money through the stock market, or taking in a round of golf.

Grand Theft Auto has been around since 1997:
  • Grand Theft Auto (1997) on PC
  • Grand Theft Auto 2 (1999) on PlayStation 1, Dreamcast, PC
  • Grand Theft Auto III (2001) on PlayStation 2, Xbox, PC, iOS
  • Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (2002) on PlayStation 2, Xbox, PC, iOS, Android
  • Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (2004) on PlayStation 2, Xbox, PC, iOS, Android
  • Grand Theft Auto IV (2008) on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC
  • Grand Theft Auto V (2013) on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC, PS4, Xbox One
  • Grand Theft Auto IV: The Lost and Damned (2009) on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC
  • Grand Theft Auto: The Ballad of Gay Tony (2009) on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC

There are handheld versions:
  • Grand Theft Auto Advance (2004) on GBA
  • Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories (2005) on PS2, PSP, iOS and Android
  • Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories (2006) on PS2, PSP
  • Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars (2009) on PSP and DS, iOS, Android

DetailsGame Details

Rating: PEGI 18+, ESRB MATURE 17+

Release Date: 01/01/1997, updated in 2019

Platforms: Android, Nintendo DS, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PlayStation Portable, Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox One and iOS

Genres: Action, Adventure, Fighting, Narrative, Open World, Role-Playing and Shooting

Developer: @RockstarGames


Duration: This game will take between 27 hours and 28 hours to complete. The story takes about 28 hours to complete, but there are so many side activities that people could easily play for dozens of hours more, especially if they play the multiplayer. Those with less experience with action games may find it challenging to complete missions in order to progress the story, which may also feel at odds with the open world.
Players: You can play this with 30 players online. There is no local multiplayer, but Grand Theft Auto Online an online multiplayer mode in which players can explore that open-world together and team up to carry out heists or stab each other in the back.


Additional in-game purchases are offered for items that enhance the experience. Grand Theft Auto V offers purchases of content like The Doomsday Heist, Gunrunning, Smuggler’s Run, Bikers. You can also purchase cash and crimilar enterprise packs for Grand Theft Auto Online.

The following versions of the game include additional content for free and increasing value of in game currency:
  • Grand Theft Auto V: Premium Edition (£24.99)
  • Grand Theft Auto V: Premium Online Edition & Great White Shark Card Bundle (£39.99)
  • Grand Theft Auto V: Premium Online Edition & Whale Shark Card Bundle (£49.99)
  • Grand Theft Auto V: Premium Online Edition & Megalodon Shark Card Bundle (£74.99)
You will need PlayStation Plus to play online with PlayStation 3.
You will need Xbox Live Gold (must be 18 to create, then configure family accounts for younger players) to play online with Xbox One.
You will need Xbox Live Gold to play online with Xbox 360.
You will need PlayStation Plus (must be 18 to create, then create sub-accounts for younger players who need be set as 13 or older) to play online with PlayStation 4.

Age RatingsAge Ratings

This game has been rated ESRB MATURE 17+.


PEGI 18 for extreme violence; multiple, motiveless killing; violence towards defenceless people; and strong language. The GRA expands on its PEGI details by explaining that the violence “includes the usual shooting at people, beating them up on the street or running them over with your car”, as well as “scenes of torture using a variety of tools to cause maximum injury to your victim”. The new-gen versions of the game have some new elements including “flaming and explosive bullets. The flaming bullets set the victim on fire and they writhe on the floor screaming until they die.” Language includes the “f” word and “c” word, and there are also “scenes of sex with no visible genitalia, and illegal drug use”. The GRA also points out that the online multiplayer “may involve real-time interaction with other players”.

User-Generated Content: This game includes content created by other players, such as maps, outfits and items, that are not reflected in the game rating.

Users Interact: The game enables players to interact and communicate with each other, so may expose players to language usually associated with older rated games.


Accessibility for this game is as follows:


How you can adjust the challenge of play, and assistance the game offers when you fail or get stuck.

View Game Map: View a map of the game world during play, with points of interest and missions highlighted throughout entire game.

System Settings

Android has accessibility settings including ways to navigate and interact, although not all games support this. PlayStation 4 has a range of accessibility settings. Some are system only, some work in games (invert colours and button mapping). Xbox One has a system features, the excellent co-pilot share controls mode and adaptive controller support for all games. iOS has a very extensive suite of accessibility settings including ways to navigate with voice and comprehensive screen reading, though most of the features don't work with games... read more about system accessibility settings.

Supported by PlayabilityInitiative and accessibility contributors: @GeekDadGamer

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Our experts have hand-picked the following similar games for you. These offer a similar way to play to Grand Theft Auto V or are games with a similar theme or topic. These are good alternative games to Grand Theft Auto V, or are a younger rated alternative for players not ready for PEGI 18+ or ESRB MATURE 17+ games.

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The information on this database is designed to support and complement the in-depth discussion and advice about video game "addiction", violence, spending and online safety in the Taming Gaming book. If you have any concerns or questions in these areas, email our editor who is quick to respond or can arrange for a one-to-one conversation.

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