There are times when the GTA series has to be unrealistic; otherwise, the game would be monotonous and boring.
Sometimes players can willingly suspend their disbelief in video games. While it wouldn't make sense in the real world, it doesn't have to. Video games are meant to be fun, first and foremost.
While realism does add storytelling layers to the game, there are times when it's acceptable to break from reality.
In the GTA series, there are plenty of moments that players overlook for the sake of gameplay. Having someone like Trevor Philips constantly use the bathroom would just interrupt the experience. The GTA series makes it rather convenient for players not to rely on real life rules.
Five acceptable reality breaks in GTA
#5 - Players respawn at a hospital
Unlike real life, death is a slap on the wrist for GTA protagonists. One of the most well-known aspects of the series is hospital respawns. Some players even joke Johnny Klebitz didn't really die in GTA 5 - he just took a trip to the Sandy Shores Medical Center.
A permadeath feature in GTA would obviously have disastrous consequences. Imagine completing two-thirds of San Andreas, only to accidentally get killed by a flying ghost car. This type of death is especially common in Mount Chiliad.
It's a good thing players can always go back to where they left off. On a related note, hospitals bills aren't nearly as expensive as the ones in the United States. That's the last thing players need to worry about in the series.
#4 - Starvation is not a problem (unless it's San Andreas)
Under normal circumstances, human beings cannot survive without food for a few days. Their body requires nourishment to sustain itself. It's a good thing starvation is nearly non-existent in the GTA series (with one exception).
With most GTA titles, players can stock up on food supplies to regain their health. Eating food is not a requirement, however, since Rockstar Games doesn't apply real-world logic here. Snacks are simply a health boost.
Remarkably, GTA San Andreas is the only game in the series where hunger is a basic necessity. Carl Johnson is required to eat food to sustain himself - he has 72 in-game hours to do so.
Otherwise, he will eventually starve. Players can override the mechanics by using a savepoint instead.
#3 - Somehow characters can see their targets on a mini-map
GTA players often rely on the mini-map to figure out where their targets are. It's useful for high-speed vehicle chases, especially when the target is too far ahead. The map will show players where they are.
However, there is no in-universe explanation as to how the protagonists know where to go. They can't see the mini-map like players do. Most of the time, the target will be right behind a building. It's video game logic at its finest.
Mini-maps are a necessity for a better gameplay experience. Otherwise, it would be annoying not knowing where the enemies are. This is a perfectly acceptable break from reality in the GTA series.
#2 - Protagonists have a get-out-of-jail free card
Criminal activities are the crux of the GTA experience. Realistically, if someone like Niko Bellic or Trevor Philips were caught in real life, they would be sent to the state penitentiary.
In the GTA series, however, they simply get their weapons and armor confiscated. They are free to go shortly afterwards.
At least Tommy Vercetti has an excuse. His lawyer Ken Rosenberg always manages to get him out of trouble. The instruction booklet for GTA Vice City even considers getting a lawyer the smartest move a player can make.
Getting busted may end a mission or stop a rampage, but it's not the end of the world for players. They will never see the inside of a prison unless they are on a mission, such as the climax to Lost and Damned.
#1 - The player can always try again
GTA follows a strict narrative structure. As a result, players are required to complete a set of objectives. Unlike real life, a player can always reset and try again. This goes for every mission in the series.
Consider the infamous Wrong Side of the Tracks from GTA San Andreas. No matter how many times players fail to catch a train, they can always do it again. It doesn't matter if either Carl or Big Smoke dies in this mission.
Players get the chance to retry as many times as they like. Otherwise, the story cannot advance.
This same principle now applies for checkpoints in later games. Thankfully, players no longer have to do everything from the start. Instead, they can retry at the last checkpoint. It's considerably convenient.
Note: This article reflects the writer's personal views.
Edited by Sijo Samuel Paul
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