Parents’ Guide to Grand Theft Auto V (PEGI 18+)

 In Homepage, Blog, Console, Xbox 360, PS3, PS4, Xbox One, Video Game Guides

This is our guide to GTA V for parents. Highlighting what age the game is suitable for, and how to play safely.

2 Minute Video Guide - Click to confirm you are 18+

1. Genre

Grand Theft Auto V is an action game in which players can 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.

There is no local multiplayer, but GTA V does have 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.

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.

2. Story

This is the first game in the GTA series to have multiple protagonists. 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.

3. Developer

The Grand Theft Auto games are made by Rockstar North, which is based in Scotland. The publisher, Rockstar Games, is also responsible for games like the Red Dead series and L.A. Noire.

4. Format

GTA V is available on PS3, 360, PS4, and Xbox One. A PC version is due out in March. It costs between £50/$60 and £55/$60 depending on platform. Those who want to play online multiplayer on PS4, Xbox One, or 360 will need a subscription to either PlayStation Plus or Xbox Live Gold.

5. Duration and Difficulty

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.

6. PEGI Rating

In the UK and Europe, PEGI rates Grand Theft Auto V 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”.

7. Themes

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.

8. Why people play:

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.

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Showing 14 comments
  • Mod Game

    thanks ) i like this game

  • Kyle Feltenberger

    Nice title…NOT! Where’s the parental control part of this article?

    • Andy Robertson (Editor)

      We provide guidance about the PEGI ratings and contents of the game here to enable parents to make informed decisions.

  • Kyle

    Nice game

    • Gina GTison

      There are tons of restrictions that you can put on your child’s GTA platform! You can access them in he settings in the game. You can disable profanity, Disable campaign, and even disable the ability to go online.

  • Brandyschrab

    Can I set parental controls on grand theft auto.

    • Andy Robertson (Editor)

      On the Parental controls or Family Settings area of your console you can limit the PEGI age rating that can be played on the system. Set this to anything below 18 and you will need to enter a password or change the setting before games of this rating (Like GTA) can be played.

  • Melanie Graf

    Does the game allow the players to rape women?

    • Will Freeman

      Hey Melanie. If you’re talking about the official game as it is made by it’s creators, and sold in shops and online, the answer to your question is ‘no’. However, there are reports of people ‘hacking the game’ to depict something like you describe. Those particular hacks (sometimes called ‘mods’) are unauthorised modifications. In simple terms you could think of it like somebody taking an existing movie, and editing their own footage into the film without permission. That would not mean the original film shown at cinemas or sold on DVDs included the added scenes, but somebody could make copies of the illegally edited version.

      It’s also worth noticing that lots of games allow ‘mods’ that are entirely legal and above board. Some games, for example, let players create their own levels or challenges. Those mods are usually moderated by a professional team that check the player-created content is appropriate and not offensive. So it is not ‘mods’ that are the problem, but a minority of players hacking games to include unapproved content.

      Grand Theft Auto V does, however, include violence, murder and other potentially disturbing content, meaning it is very much an adult game for adult players. That is why it carries an 18+ PEGI rating. Somebody under 18 should never be allowed to play Grand Theft Auto 5, just as they shouldn’t watch an 18+ rated movie.

  • Di

    Hi can you turn off the blood, swearing and crime on gta

    • Andrew Robertson

      There are some settings, but generally this doesn’t make a substantial difference to the effect of the PEGI rating which is for on-screen violence and sexual conduct.

  • Rachel

    Can you restrict sexual content in GTA V?

  • Mike

    Hey cant you change age limit on gta 5 to 13 im 13 and All my friends are playing it were i live i have gta but they wont let me play here were following age limit can change it to 13 please

    • Andrew Robertson

      GTA is rated PEGI 18. Once decided the rating doesn’t change. Have you tried similar games for younger players like Splatoon or Plants vs Zombies Garden Warfare?

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