Grand Theft Auto V is, according to most people, one of the best games of our generation, if not, one of the best online games of all times. As far as the single player campaign goes, the game is defined by its three characters, all of them with interesting and different personalities and motivations, but GTA V is at its best when the player is left alone in open world to do as he, or she, pleases.
This is where GTA V Online comes in. It is a safe space, away from the story line, where you are given the freedom to do whatever you want to do. The city of San Andreas remains the same, but your role, as the player has changed. While senseless violence (something that 70% of players choose to do while in the game) may seem a bit crazy, even the ‘Elders’, from the ‘Elder React’ YouTube show had a blast with the game. This demonstrates, once again, that GTA V is a superb game suitable for all age groups.
Just like every other game ever made, GTA Online is always better when played with friends. The game allows your imaginations to run free, while the map is bigger and better than ever.
GTA V Online’s First Release Disaster
GTA Online was a disaster when it was first released, just like the new heist feature. They’ve made a big mistake by not having an open beta prior to release. Basically, letting your customers try out your product and give you back important feedback can only improve the quality of the game.
But all of that is in the past now, all of the issues have been fixed (you will see the occasional glitch or two, but that is normal for a sandbox game) and GTA Online is extremely stable and reliable. You can now log on into the game without the fear of losing your progression or your money, because of the unstable servers.
Exploring the GTA V Online World
The game starts as your newly created character arrives in Los Santos and steps out of the plane. Without any money in your pockets, you are quickly drawn into the criminal underworld as you are greeted by the unforgettable Lamar. In no time at all you will be given a car and a pistol and your adventure will start. If you choose to create a female avatar, then Lamar will also present you with a red rose, but your character will turn down his romantic endeavors.
The progression system is very addictive. You have to play in order to earn and unlock new missions and, of course, guns. There are a lot of cameos from GTA V that make an appearance here, but the story is not as prominent as it first seemed to be. In the first hour, you are guided through the basics of shooting, taking jobs and driving. After that, the story takes a back seat and the player starts to feel as free as a bird in the sky.
The character creation system uses a wired, genetic-based formula to calculate your appearance, so everybody comes out looking slightly wrong, and very similar to each other. At the same time, you have a lot of choices when it comes to clothing. Hairstyles and clothes are basically the only things in GTA Online that separates your character from the rest of the players. Because your avatar is mute, interaction scenes with different characters seem out of place.
GTA V Online Quests & Missions
When it comes to mission, there are usually four main attractions:
- Racing, usually car racing, but you do get the occasional bicycle race, boat race, or airplane race.
- Deathmatches can be played in a team, or in free-for-all manner, with traditional options, or sudden death.
- M Missions, are more complex missions that usually require some cooperation in order to achieve the more elaborated objectives, in a traditional GTA V single player mode.
Heist, is the latest feature to come out for GTA Online. Online heists are large-scale, multi-tiered missions, which offer multiple pathways in which you can complete them, but you also have to hire help depending on your available budget and skill set. There are five online heists to complete in GTA Online, but you can end up getting $10 million, if you manage to complete them in order, on the hard difficulty setting, with the same group of players and without any deaths.
The driving and the shooting is so good, that I found myself playing for hours without getting the feeling that I was grinding.
First Impressions of GTA V Online
I found the deathmatches to be better on PC than on consoles. The auto aim feature from the PS4, or Xbox One, means that if you get spotted by an enemy, then you are probably dead, making the game more about hiding than shooting. On PC, with a mouse and keyboard, and without the auto aim, the deathmatch is far better. Here, you rely on getting head-shots, while subtlety is not as important.
Of course you still need to take cover and find good hiding places, but, because you have to aim manually, without any help, you do tend to stay alive for longer periods of time. The maps as significantly altered, in order to create hiding spots, making them fun locations for shootouts.
Game Mods & Racing System
The races are really exciting and fun. There are lots of parts from Los Santos that are very well suited for racing. You can go on a looping race across the highway, or a circuit round the airport. My favorite type of racing, is the BMX bike races around Blaine Country. The great thing about racing in GTA Online is that you can use weapons. I love the fact that you can be in first place, with only a few miles to go, and suddenly your tires are blown off. I must admit that it can get a little frustrating at times, but for me this random element and the constant threat, makes this game type a lot more enjoyable.
All the game modes are fun and entertaining, but the game is at its best in the open world, provided you’ve got the right kind of people with you. Together, you can cause all kinds of problems, rob stores, go on a drive-bys or mess around with the police, and I can definitely tell you that causing a 40 cars pile up is very entertaining. After all of that, the fact that you can take to the skies and escape in helicopters, makes the game so much more unpredictable and fun. I was minding my own business, when suddenly a jet flew above me, and the first taught that popped into my head was: “I wonder where can I get my hands on one of those”.
As I said above, when you rank up you unlock new weapon, but they have to be purchased with in-game money. The cash can be earned through various missions, or it can be bought with real life currency. Higher ranked players have more guns, but luckily the matchmaking is smart enough to not throw players with vastly different ranks together. I found it quite rare for a single player to dominate a session. If you have enough cash, you can buy and then customize your own car, but I saw almost no reason to do that, because every single race gives you a wide selection of good cars.
Other Features of GTA V Online
On the PC, you can use the Rockstar Editor Tool to capture gameplay clips and edit them in order to create elaborate films that you can later view with your friends. The simplicity of the editing controls and the flexibility of the camera makes everything very easy, and there is basically no limit to what you can do. For example I made a one hour long movie about a guy, in a bathing suit, that punches people in the face, in slow motion, but then again I’m not the best movie maker out there.
When you think about it and realize what an extraordinary world Rockstar has created, you will be amazed. So many individual areas can support individual game modes in themselves. This is a one of a kind experience, that I will always recommend, and I think that I will continue to do that ten year from now.
GTA Online, is one of the best games that you can play with your friends, and offers an unique experience unlike any other game. It has its quirks, its ups and downs, but it does manage to capture the potential of the open world multi-player.
The missions themselves can get a little repetitive, especially once you’ve passed level 20, but the fact that they’ve added new game types (like the heist) makes the gamer return every day. The basic things, such as game types and the economy are running very smoothly now, so nothing really to complain about there.
When everything comes together, GTA Online is an absolutely fantastic game.
- Incredible open world experience
- A lot of quests and activities that you can do
- Great controls
- Great graphics
- The online works very well
- The missions can get a little repetitive at times