I think it’s fair to say that while GTA 5’s single player campaign has generally had a positive reception, the online content has had a rocky start. The loss of characters and/or character progress has already been well publicised. To top it all off, Rock star have recognised that they’ve dropped the ball and rather than trying to sweep it under the carpet, to their credit, they are compensating players by dropping $500,000 in their GTA bank accounts.
Those who have played in October can expect to receive $250,000 in their accounts at some point in the week commencing the 14th of October and a further $250,000 in November – again assuming you play in November. Whether players who join later will also receive this is not clear.
It’s a smart move. Not only does it compensate those players who have been frustrated by the game, but will reel people back in who have been put off completely and encourage people to either buy GTA5 or give the online content a chance, especially as now things have been stabilised. $500,000 is not a figure to be sniffed at. Currently, $500,000 will buy you the top of the line apartment / garage with some change left over for car/weapon modifications. Bearing in mind as a low level hood, races tend to bag you $7,000 (if you come first) and early missions seem to get you a few grand a go. It’s a nice boost.
So on to the online content itself.
What is it REALLY like?
The key thing is the game seems to be stable now.
Once you’ve made your way through about 3-4 tutorial missions you are pretty much given the run of the city. While it is slightly frustrating for people who are familiar with the single player element, it does make sense for people who are completely new and moved straight to the online content. I would say the tutorial isn’t exactly clumsy either. Your character is introduced, rather than plonked in the middle of a map and you are given some insight into the cost of certain upgrades, which are massively inflated compared to the single player campaign. Most items are also locked until you level up.
You’ll get to a point where you have your starting set of wheels, a pistol and familiarised yourself with the map. You can start taking part in missions and some of the games.
piss people off too much (not just players!) and you’ll have a bounty placed on you – making you the juicy profitable target.
Games are accessed in one two ways. When you’re not murdering the citizens of Los Santos or other players, you can start/join games through your mobile phone or start them by driving to them on the map. The games are inventive and do have a ‘grand theft auto’ theme about them. As well as the obligatory death match games, you also have games where you go head to head against other teams to steal coke from a location and get it back to your safe zone. There are also various types of races (land, air and sea), sky diving races, survival modes and of course the missions. You are spoilt for choice and as you progress you can obviously focus on your preferred games.
Initially the games are fun, but after a while once a realisation sets in that the fastest way to progress is to take part in these games, it takes on a feeling that you need to ‘farm’ them. As a result a feeling starts to creep in of being boring and repetitive. However, do not be discouraged. If you’re part of crew, this is easily offset by the general banter (not to mention the bonus RP you get for completing jobs in a crew). Let’s not forget, if you’re bored of the games, there is still a lot to do in GTA5 online and fair few ways to earn money. You can steal cars and sell them. You can hold up stores, take down gangsters or even hunt down fellow players for a profit. Assuming they are carrying any cash. Beware however – piss people off too much (not just players!) and you’ll have a bounty placed on you – making you the juicy profitable target.
What I would say is GTA5 online’s strength lies not in what it is currently, but what it could very easily be. For those who’ve played the single player campaign far enough will have experienced the heists. The preparation and final carrying out of the heist is, in our opinion, the most fun part of GTA5. If they translate that well enough into the online content, including sizeable RP and cash, then that would be stunning. You would have to control eligibility of these super-jobs otherwise you could have people who are unprepared/under equipped and the other ‘quick’ jobs (deathmatches, sky diving, coke runs, etc) could be under-populated. Assuming Rockstar do try to manage eligibility, one can only assume they’ll base it on your stats (you need 3 bars in shooting to qualify for the jewelry heist) or the ever mysterious JP (job points) you earn at the end of a job.
We are also excited by the other content that should be coming later with Rockstar. You only need to stroll into Ammunation and stare at the gun wall. Currently half of the wall is covered in the standard weapon load out available in GTA, the other half is bare. Can we expect perhaps…
Heat seeking rocket launchers to take down choppers?
Maybe even dual wielding pistols?
So I continue to play the game, either with or without my crew(Big up to ma boyz in BL00D METH N TEARS!), not because I am necessarily addicted to the content, but I am expecting some big things to land in GTA5-O and I want to be ready, when it does land.