So Grand Theft Auto 5 is out and a lot of people are discussing the controversial torture scene. People like Eurogamer editor Tom Bramwell, who writes:
“GTA is a game full of violence, of course, but it is mostly slapstick, impersonal, cartoon violence – floppy-limbed pedestrians flying over your bonnet, cars flipping through intersections, or tanks and helicopters exploding. You’re always slightly zoomed out from the impact of your actions by the lack of close-ups and the way everything resets to normal a few minutes later. It’s very unusual to be hurting a single person in isolation over a prolonged period, which is why the torture scene is a different and unpleasant experience.”
With respect to Tom, I think he’s wrong to call this scene an exception. In fact his description of Trevor’s graphic torture reminded me very much of a small section in GTA 4 that put me off the series forever. The mission in question is called ‘I’ll take her (Ransom)’. It’s short and remarkably simple, all you have to do is beat a defenseless woman and take a photo of her battered face.