The Daily Mail has given GTA a 5/5 rating on its entertainment pages – just days after the newspaper called the game ‘squalid mind poison’
Reviewer James O’Brien was full of praise for the title, saying it was ‘as epic as it is violent’.
In the article, he wrote:
‘There’s no denying, however, that this latest version of the Grand Theft franchise is a phenomenal technological and creative achievement that is set to generate more money for its British designers than any Hollywood release in years…
‘The action is as epic as it is violent, with graphics and cinematic "motion capture" technology delivering a degree of verisimilitude so great that it frequently feels more like participating in a movie than playing a game. Stunts are better than ever, but the driving itself is a revelation….
‘It remains to be seen whether a game can be made that scales comparable technological and contextual heights but does not inhabit such dark and dangerous territory.
‘Either way, whether you believe that this represents a new low in sick and corrupting entertainment or is simply the finest game ever seen, you will find plenty here to support your case.’
The review comes just six days after Mail columnist Peter Hitchin wrote a leading opinion piece on GTA, entitled ‘A squalid game that steals young minds’.
Hitchin angrily attacked the game, calling it ‘mental slurry’ and adding that it was potentially capable of ‘mental brainwashing’.
‘Could it possibly be bad for a child or a teenager to spend long hours impersonating a violent car thief?
Old-fashioned childhood games did at least have goodies and baddies – and the goodies were supposed to win.
But Grand Theft Auto, the squalid mind poison now going on the market in its latest version, assumes that wickedness, callousness and violence are cool, and has no goodies at all.
The consumers of this mental slurry all maintain that it’s just a game and has no effect on them.
But isn’t the most potent brainwashing the kind you aren’t aware of? When do you find out that you are a desensitised amoral husk, capable of dreadful actions you once couldn’t have contemplated? When it’s too late. In the US, the game has been accused of influencing several young men into committing violent crimes.
Of course, these claims cannot be proved conclusively. But it is in our imaginations that we solve moral problems.
If our imaginations are full of the toxic fantasies of Grand Theft Auto, more realistic every time it is "improved", aren’t we more likely to make the wrong choice?’