If you’ve never played Grand Theft Auto V, here’s your chance: Rockstar’s 2013 smash will be free on the Epic Games Store from May 14 to May 21. All you have to do is download it and it’s yours to own forever. That’s assuming you can actually get through to the site, of course; it’s been down pretty much since the offer started at 11 a.m. ET this morning.
This news, naturally, might make you wonder if you should play GTA V. I reviewed the game back in 2013, and, well, there’s a lot to hate about it. It’s one of the ugliest, most unpleasant and self-impressed games I’ve ever played, with nothing behind it except cynicism and contempt. Here’s something I wrote in that review:
GTA V purports to be satire, but its unrelenting cynicism, negativity and contempt are exhausting. The attempts to shock, the derisive social commentary and the would-be satire are all hackneyed and obvious. Its observations never dig deeper than the surface and, most importantly, the game is rarely clever or funny. It’s got the shit-eating smirk and smug satisfaction of South Park without that show’s occasional bite. And it’s absolutely smothering, laying the Vice schtick on thick during almost every cut-scene, on every website and television station, and on all radio commercials or news reports. If a non-lead character is talking it’s probably supposed to be funny, but it almost never is. It’s an internet comment section turned into a game.
I can’t imagine that attitude plays better today, when the real world has gone completely, frighteningly insane, than it did seven years ago.
Of course, that’s just Rockstar’s story. If you only focus on the cartoon craziness of the game’s sandbox, it can be enjoyable, and that might only be more true with how confined and restricted we are in real life today. And since this is on PC, there’s a plethora of mods out there that can break the game down and reassemble it in even more ridiculous ways. You’re not bound by the smug, limited vision of Rockstar’s story, so perhaps this free game is worth the download.
No matter how you feel about it, one thing’s evident: you’ll have to wait a little while to actually get the game. There probably aren’t a lot of seven-year-old games that can crash the Epic Games Store like this, which at least speaks to the enduring popularity of Rockstar’s vision—for better or worse.