Friday Flame Wars: GTA V’s Regenerating Health — Good or Bad?

Grand Theft Auto V will feature regenerating health, a first for the series. As Edge Online reports, this decision was made to “encourage ballsy play.”

Regenerating health has always been a contentious issues among gamers — is it an appropriate evolution of the health system, or does it dumb down play?

What are your thoughts? Are you for or against regenerating health in GTA V? How about in FPS games? Does “realism” play into your opinion at all? Is regenerating health any more unrealistic than health packs?

Check back next week for my thoughts on regenerating health in GTA V and games in general.

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23 Comments on Friday Flame Wars: GTA V’s Regenerating Health — Good or Bad?


On May 4, 2013 at 12:49 am

I’m ok with this. Health pack hunting in an open world sandbox game starts to become a chore because it could be hiding anywhere. Trying to find the nearest back alley health spawn while trying not to attract the attention of the cops and/or a rival gang (if you’re that far) is boring. I know I know, someone is going to say “oh but that tension made the game more fun”. Look, this isn’t a survival horror game, nor is it some strategic RTS/FPS game. Adding tension while the player hunts to survive is NOT what they’re going for here.

Chip It

On May 4, 2013 at 3:12 am

Doesn’t bother me. Usually regenerating health goes hand in hand with greater damage, so it’s not like it’s an exercise in hand-holding. GTA games have long had a poor balance whereby you could cheat your way to extra ammo and health as much as you like, but if you’re slightly less than perfect in any mission regardless of its length you have to go back to the start even if the failure wasn’t your fault. I’m assuming GTA V has checkpoints given that there were checkpoints in the Episodes from Liberty City DLC, so the next logical step is to make it completely unnecessary to cheat at all. They’ll do this by making the AI better and the damage harsher but also giving you regenerating health, so you have no excuse to take a shortcut. Makes perfect sense.

GTA isn’t a simulation game anyway, it’s been wrongly treated for years as a “murder simulator” (TM Jack Thompson) despite often being very tongue-in-cheek, so it’s not like any of the realism is going to be lost with health regen. In real life you can’t shrug off multiple gunshot wounds by limping to a spinning heart icon or ringing some random number, so there’s no issue in this whatsoever.


On May 4, 2013 at 6:46 am

It could be good, and could be bad


On May 4, 2013 at 7:58 am

To be honest, what WOULD annoy me is if they decided you can only carry two weapons at a time.


On May 4, 2013 at 5:31 pm

It’s probably going to be ok for this game. GTA games have always struggled with combat, and while they’ve gotten progressively better, this will probably keep it from getting too annoying. In general, I’m indifferent when it comes to the medkit vs. regeneration debate. I don’t find either to be any more “realistic” than the other so I generally just leave it up to the devs to decide which works best for their particular game.


On May 4, 2013 at 7:44 pm

I’m with Axetwin on this one:
Regenerating health = fine, if implemented properly
Two weapon system = BS, since this game SHOULD NOT be cribbing from CoD in that department.

dan the rockstar lover

On May 5, 2013 at 3:12 am

they shouldve done this a long time ago in my oppinion im writing this on my xbox so ignore the shortness of this comment


On May 5, 2013 at 7:07 am

I’m all for regenerating health, as long as the damage enemies deal to you isn’t minuscule. You shouldn’t be able to shrug off countless rounds. Each round should do decent damage, which will be balanced out by your health regenerating when you aren’t being hit.


On May 5, 2013 at 9:00 am

Well, it’s Sunday… ‘Regen health or not’ should just be one of the game options.


On May 5, 2013 at 10:16 am

As there are no difficulty levels in GTA, I think regenerating health is a bad idea. In FPS games where there is usually regenerating health, you can play the game on a higher difficulty level if you want a challenge. However, as GTA only has one default difficulty level, I think regenerating health would make the game too easy, and take away the need to really think about how to tackle missions. Like Red Dead Redemption; that game, while awesome, was, now that I think about it, not really challenging at any point. In GTA 4, I remember having to plan my missions and really prepare for them. I even had to enlist the help of a few online FAQs for a couple of missions. Instead of Regen health, I think that the game should include a basic inventory system (like in RDR) so that the player can take a few food or health items along them before to take on missions. This would allow the player to be more “ballsy” but at the same time keep the game challenging and therefore more fun.


On May 5, 2013 at 10:23 am

This is a bad idea; it’ll turn GTA into Saint’s Row.


On May 5, 2013 at 10:33 am

It’s already been confirmed there is a weapon wheel. I believe it had 12 slots. No worries there. I think two weapons would trash this as far as a GTA game goes.


On May 5, 2013 at 7:14 pm

I hope they also fix the helicopter controls.


On May 5, 2013 at 9:58 pm

Why would only 2 weapons be a bad thing? I like it when games make you think a little bit ahead from a tactical standpoint so I’d be for it.


On May 6, 2013 at 12:54 am

@ MarkEMark – Because GTA is not a game that demands tactical play. You dont have to plan each move ahead of time in order to succeed. Its a game about blowing sheet up, stealing cars, blowing sheet up, banging as many girls along the way and blowing sheet up.

Tactical gameplay works great in tactical based games. However in a game like this, forcing tactical gameplay down the throats of the players only serves to limit the game, not enhance it. This is another item that belongs on the “not every game needs it” list, alongside multiplayer/co-op and a crippling difficulty that punishes the player for the smallest mistake.


On May 6, 2013 at 3:03 am

I don’t agree with you on what GTA “should or shouldn’t be”. I approve of the gritty direction Rockstar have taken the series and the strength of GTA4 to me was that there was more to it than “blowing sheet up, stealing cars and banging girls” as you put it. Also, part of what makes the gameworld more immersive is the attention to detail that Rockstar applies. Limiting how many weapons a person can reasonably carry would work towards that end. Though I suppose I’m not too fussed either way as Red Dead Redemption and GTA4 had pretty solid shooting and cover mechanics (which kinda destroys your point that these games don’t demand tactical play) and they allowed you to carry a lot of weapons.


On May 6, 2013 at 4:30 am

You might not agree with what GTA should or shouldn’t be, but that fact is, GTA not a tactical shooter nor is it a game that requires a lot of tactical thinking. NO, RDR doesnt count becauseits “tactics” can be summed up in 4 words; Dead-eye, auto-aim. It takes little to no effort to start headshoting enemies and sustain your dead-eye meter. As a matter of fact, its harder to NOT headshot enemies than it is to do so.

If you liked GTA 4, then great, I won’t say anything against that. However, GTA 4 is almost single handedly the reason why Saints Row took off like it did. You are in the minority of people that liked the realism shift in GTA 4. From everything that has been released about 5, it seems Rockstar is going back to the fun over the top gameplay in 3, VC and SA as opposed to the realism of 4.


On May 6, 2013 at 5:58 am

I never said it was a tactical shooter. You said that GTA doesn’t demand “tactical play”. Aside from the fact that technically speaking, all games demand tactical play, I was implying that the introduction of cover mechanics suggests that there was a conscious move by the designers for a more tactical shooting experience thus suggesting your point (that GTA isn’t supposed to be that kind of game, which you keep claiming as matter of fact), is wrong.

Also, I beg to differ that I’m in the minority when it comes to GTA4. While I’m aware that there was a group of players that took exception to the direction that GTA4 went in, overall it was critically well received and many people apart from myself bought and enjoyed it as well as both of it’s expansion packs.


On May 6, 2013 at 7:12 am

Fair enough. We are getting off point, which was whether or not a 2 weapon limitation has a place in GTA. I still say no because while, I will concede, there is a small amount of strategy/tactics involved, a 2 weapon limitation takes it too far. The problem with the GTA world is by mid game, any given fight will throw situations at you that require the use of more than 2 different types of weapons. Trying to play through mid/late game with only the two weapons that you think will cover all possible situations is not fun in this specific genre of gaming.


On May 6, 2013 at 7:38 am

OMG did GTA4 blow. I have played all the FPS GTA’s ( haven’t played the top down version), loved them all, SA being my favorite, and I wont finish 4. Don’t want to. I hated it that much. As far as other people, I haven’t seen many people support 4 in any of the discussions. All my friends that play can’t stand it. The driving was sooooo bad, it was like driving a boat on ice. Don’t know how they could go from SA to this cr-p. Driving in SA was a blast. In 4 it was one of the worst parts. If 5 follows 4, I won’t even consider buying it. It will be just another game that could have been.
As far as regenerating health, it could be good or bad, depending on how they implement it. There is nothing you can’t ruin if you do it badly.


On May 6, 2013 at 12:26 pm

Actually that’s a good point Axetwin (regarding the various things that the game throws at you).

@TheDog. The driving took some time getting used to compared to previous GTA games I admit but it’s not like it was impossible to get used to the introduced physics. I don’t let my 8 year cousin play the game’s missions but I do let him drive around while I supervise him (it’s the only car game I have) and he seems to be able to handle the driving with ease….

Furthermore, the people I associate with both online and offline have mostly positive things to say about GTA4 and the interesting characters and immersive world that Rockstar managed to create. So maybe it says more about the circles either of us run in.


On May 7, 2013 at 3:22 am

GTA is played only by a small minority spotty virgins who got raped by their uncles aged 12 and want a scapegoat. The sooner Jack Thompson gets it banned, the better. Then EA can buy the license and make it the game everyone wants to see.


On May 7, 2013 at 8:38 am

@ MarkEMark Didn’t say everyone was going to hate it, just everyone I know and any forum I go to, most don’t have kind things to say.
As far as the physics in the game, they are so unrealistic and BS. I was going 15 mph around a corner, and my back end went sliding out. I’m sorry I’ve driven anything from a semi, to a double clutch Studebaker truck, to a VW bug, and even a monster truck. None of them handled like they do in the game. Nothing breaks free at 15 mph on a normal corner, So yes, you might be able to get used to it, but it doesn’t mean it doesn’t suck.
My daughter who loves to drive in SA, won’t touch 4. She tried it and left, saying she couldn’t stand the driving. That the driving in Mafia 2 ( which to me was the worst part of the game) was better than this garbage. She’s never touched the game since.
True about the circles. We tend to hang out around others who are at least kind of like ourselves. It’s like I tell people. I don’t think bad about anyone who likes the games I don’t. I really wish I could like it, I just can’t.