I’ve played Grand Theft Auto Online, and it rocks.
Okay, where to start on this one.. Rockstar Games kindly flew me out to New York City last week and I got the chance to play GTA Online a week before release, as well have dinner, drink beers and hang with some of the Rockstar crew, but you don’t want to know that, so I’ll just get to the point. The day of Online started off with a brief intro/talk on the game before they let us loose with the game ourselves, but keep in mind, I played on a pretty early build, so it was not the finished thing, and so some things can change from what I write here too when you play it on Tuesday (tomorrow, yes! celebrations). There’s stuff that I can not share with you but you will be able to see it in all it’s glory yourself at some point tomorrow, Oct 1. I was over excited and having fun as well as fighting off jetlag, so I got as much as I could remember out on here, and even this is only a fraction of what Rockstar have in store for GTA Online. Read on below, enjoy.
My hands-on with Grand Theft Auto Online
I started off right at the very beginning of the game with the Character Creation menu, choosing my race and sex, and then choosing from 4 grandparents, and then mum and dad, which would shape the backbone of what my GTA Online character would look like. I could see a stats menu, similar to that of the single player stats menu, although only some of the skill-stats were present: Driving, Shooting, Flying, among a couple of others, which I thought was great that Rockstar included. You have the chance to alter your stats in the way of, ‘Your character can party for more than 5.5 hrs’, and so a certain skill-stat-bar would raise or decrease depending on what bar you filled up. There was a little text underneath each stat-bar that read, example: ‘Sunday Driver’ underneath your Driving skill, to imply that I needed to get better at driving, and then ‘Wonky Eye’ (just an example, can’t remember the exact titles), underneath my shooting skill to show I need to get my aiming skills higher. I choose my characters head, selecting one few facial features and some caps and shades, and then we got into the game, which started with the Grand Theft Auto Online Introduction, after I landed in Los Santos and completed the Introduction, I was on the streets and ready to make some money.
The free-roam in GTA Online is really well done, allowing you to just cruise around with your friends and other players (16 total) in the world, or you can pull up to markers set around the map and go for jobs/missions or games modes, like Deathmatches and such, as well as being able to launch jobs and game modes via your in-game mobile phone, all well created. There are Ammu-nation stores, Clothes stores, Los Santos Customs and more around the world, all enterable allowing you to buy ammo for your guns, for those that are unlocked at your current level, you can customise your rides at LS Customs, which has some new stuff to purchase exclusive to GTA Online, and you can clothe your character with a wide choice of threads from pants, to jackets, to caps, as well as some new items added in just for Online, which I really gave a thumbs up too, as it’s another great way to spend money in the Online world. Walking into a clothes store and buying my character new jeans, a new jacket and some headphones felt really cool.
You can take part in various sports activities, golf, tennis and more, as well as misc activities including arm wrestling, base jumping etc. For those of you worrying about playing a game of golf and having some lunatic with an RPG firing at you, don’t worry, other players can not come at you while you are playing sports and such, you and your activity buddie(s) are in a different world which makes you untouchable from other players, but you still feel and look in the Online world at the same time, so it works fine.
Safe Houses & Properties Online
There are a lot of Safe Houses in GTA Online, as well as garages, spread right across the map. There was also the ability to choose from different rooms/floors in some properties, say 1 10 floor flat, you can choose whether you want to buy room a, b or c, or a room on floor 2, floor 5, or floor 10 for an example. Another cool feature giving you the player more choice. So, buying apartments in GTA Online, from what I saw, we opened up the internet in-game and navigated to dynasty8realestate.com, which gave us a map of LS & Blaine County, we could look through the list of available properties and then read up the description of the property, as well as set a waypoint to the location. Players in the same game can purchase the same apartment, say you and a friend have bought the same house in Los Santos, when you are both at the door ready to go in, the game knows that you have both bought the same apartment, and will allow you to both separately go to your rooms, or both go into 1 of your’s together. If you choose to go to your own apartment, it’ll work again, like playing a game of golf, you will go into a different world, but still be part of the Online world, allowing you to watch live-feed police chases, (and look out your window and see them happening). After completing some jobs and participating in races and deathmatches, me and the 3 other guys I teamed up with decided that we wanted to buy an apartment, but they’re not cheap, so it takes time to save up, you have to save up and work well if you want to splash out on a nice apartment, which again is great because it makes the money system in GTA Online work well. 1 member of the team I was playing with bought a 1 bedroom apartment down in east LS, which was the cheapest and cost around $80,000, and we all had to buzz at his door in order to come up, we walked about, drunk some whiskey, watched some TV and hung out, and decided it was time to hit the streets again and earn some more money.
There are lot’s of ways to stack up that cash Online: Liquor stores, (more than are in the single player game), petrol stations, Gruppe Sechs money vans, Los Santos Custom’, as well as picking up cash from another players dead body, and earning it the somewhat legitimate way by taking part in Game Modes and taking on Jobs. You can take cars to LS Customs and sell them, I believe your sell depends on the vehicle and condition, robbing liquor stores Online feels great too, you can grab more $ than from the single player robberies, shooting around the clerk and shouting down your headset mic puts the pressure on too. You have the option to ‘split money with crew/friends’, as well as ‘share money with another player’, which is something we did try out, one of our team shared money with us to help us get enough for an apartment, you’re limited to how much you can share per day, which was cool.
Missions & Game Modes
From what I can tell you, this works really good, 1 member of your team can initiate a mission or a game mode via walking into a respective marker placed around the world, or simply you can start up a job or deathmatch or race etc via your phone, which is quick and easy, and then invite you or other players into the pre-game lobby, and once you’re in the lobby you can make some adjustments, like invite more players, friends/crew, lock the lobby. Of course the host has control over almost everything, you can still choose what radio station should play while waiting, select your vehicle type to the respective class, and change the colour etc, plus lots more. As well as for certain game modes like Deathmatches etc, you can choose which weapon you start with, and you can also buy ammo for each weapon you own. It looked to me that you could choose any weapon to start with, so long that you have already unlocked it in the Online free-roam game, but I saw the you could go back and forth and purchase ammo for each weapon you owned. In the Deathmatches I played, I noticed something very good, something that was annoying in GTA IV’s multiplayer, and that’s when you run over and pick up a weapon in a match, you still have that weapon in your wheel when you respawn from dying/being killed. As in GTAIV you would lose it and just go back to having your default weapon, I’m glad to see this has been changed for GTA Online.
The missions in Online really give you a feeling that you are part of a team, it’s very co-operative, for an example: We had to oversee a drug deal near the sewers in LS, and me and 3 other guys got in 2 cars, and we would get ourselves in position just before we turned up, I would take cover on a bridge overlooking the entire deal, one would wait in a car parked around the corner, and the other two would walk to the deal and do the business. Sometimes we got the better and sometimes we got wasted, but whether we succeeded or not, we never stopped having fun, and by losing, it only made us work together to make a tighter plan for next time around. I played a lot more missions and game modes, from bicycle races around LS airport, to taking out an escorted dirty businessmen. As said, there are 500 or so missions available on launch day, and content will be continuously added, so it’s endless fun.
Once you’ve finished your match or job, you go into the end game lobby, and you can chose from a mixed-up selection of missions, game modes, or vote to return to free-roam. You can also vote to refresh the next game options incase you didn’t like the provided ones. You can thumbs up or dislike certain jobs too, which is part of Rockstars “We want feedback from YOU, the players, so we can keep giving you stuff that you like”. Which is really good.
There are lots of cool new features in GTA Online, from of course the ability to purchase Safe Houses and garages around the world, to buying your character new clothes from stores, as well as getting tats and new hairstyles. But those you already know, I presume most of you do.
So, some really cool new features that I used was a quick pull-down menu, by holding the ‘back’ on Xbox360 or ‘select’ button on PS3, it pulled up a menu on the left hand side top corner that had some options to choose from, including (one of my favourite parts) a Quick GPS system, you could set a waypoint to the nearest ATM, which you use to deposit your money so no one can kill you and rob you of. Ammu-nation, Mod Shops, as well as a few other places, I noticed that I started with only a few options to set my waypoint to, and more unlocked as I went through. So if you choose ‘ATM’, it would just instantly set a waypoint to the nearest machine, I had a lot of fun using this. Other options in the pull up menu were, ‘Passive Mode’ which makes you un-kill-able, but you can’t kill anyone else, this is made to be used for getting to ATM machines and safely depositing your money without getting killed and robbed. This cost $100 to activate, but this cost could change. You can bring up all the players in your current game and set a waypoint to one of their locations. A ‘Suicide’ option, which cost $500, Rockstar told me that this was meant for when you get stuck somewhere or can’t be bothered to walk to find a car etc, it’s an easy way out. There were some locked options too, presumably unlocked via progressing further.
1 v 1 deathmatch, say another player pops you while you’re on the way to the ATM, you can choose to start a 1v1 deathmatch with that other player, which I believe they have to accept, and if they do, you will start a timed first one to 5 kills deathmatch, you will spawn relatively close to each other, say a few blocks away, and it you’re rewarded with RP (Reputation Points) if you win. I had much fun with this!
Quick features round up
- Crew colour(s) and Crew emblem for your vehicles in LS Customs, pretty pricey but that gives you the push to make more money.
- Quick GPS to nearest ATM, Mod Shop, Ammu-nation & more.
- Passive Mode, allowing you to safely get to somewhere without being killed, though you can not kill others.
- Lots of Safe Houses & Garages around the map that you can purchase.
- You can purchase ammo and choose your starting weapon in lobbies.
- When losing a Wanted Level in Online, you will be rewarded with RP, it varies on how many Wanted Stars you had and how long the chase lasted.
- There are 500 missions already from the Online launch.
- You can sell vehicles in LS Customs.
- LS Customs sells car insurance as well as trackers for your vehicle, so if someone steals your ride, you can see where it is on the map.
- You have to buy a high-end apartment with a planning room before you can start the big heists.