Grand Theft Auto Online has been live since October 1st, but not without it’s share of problems. Many publications rushed to have the first reviews out for GTA Online, but we felt it was important to give Rockstar a couple weeks to iron out the kinks. Four patches later – we finally have a stable version of GTA Online. This is undoubtedly what the development team wanted it to be out of the gate (and what it should have been out of the gate).
To play GTA Online, you will need to download the latest patch. After updating, it’s time to create your online character. To do this, you will select your parents and grandparents. The way your character looks will depend on who you pick. You can also randomly generate a character if you do not feel like going through the steps of creating your own family tree. If you spam the random button enough times, John Marston from Red Dead Redemption will appear as your characters father. While Marston is one of my favorite Rockstar characters, it would have been nice to have more well known options (Tommy Vercetti, Cole Phelps, Max Payne, Claude, CJ).
After creating a character, you are ready to enter the world of Grand Theft Auto Online. Before joining up with friends and crew members, you will need to make your way through the tutorial. This will consist of competing in a race, buying a set of clothes, customizing your car, and robbing a convenience store for the first time. Once these things have been completed, you will be free to join in your friends games and invite them to join yours.
Before free roaming, I suggest taking time to get familiar with everything that can be done from your characters cell phone. If you have already played the single player story of Grand Theft Auto V, then you will feel right at home. We recently reviewed Grand Theft Auto V, if you are looking for a more in-depth analysis of the game.
As you play through missions and level up your character, more contacts will unlock for your phone. All main missions will come from these contacts, who send activities straight to your job list. You can also call contacts and request jobs if there are currently none available. Certain contacts have other uses beyond requesting jobs. Lester stands out as the most useful, and (depending on your level) you can call him to set bounties on other players, pay cash to have your wanted level removed, or locate boats and helicopters.
The other main use for your phone is the internet browser. Here, you can purchase a garage or apartment from the “Dynasty 8 Real Estate” website. You can also shop for cars or motorcycles online and choose what color you want the car painted. Any cars purchased through the phone will automatically be delivered to your garage. You can also purchase boats, planes, helicopters, tanks, and other crazy vehicles. These will not go to your garage, however. A delivery company called Pegasus will be added to your contacts and calling them will deliver your tank or helicopter whenever you want to play with it (deliveries cost $1000). Finally, you can access the “Maze Bank” and deposit or withdraw money from your account. This is very useful, as hunting down an ATM every time you earn cash would get old quickly.
Lamar is the first familiar character you will meet (he picks you up from the airport), and will sometimes send you missions. Main missions in GTA Online will vary, based on which NPC assigns the mission to you. Simeon’s missions usually involve stealing cars, while Gerald’s missions always revolve around breaking up a drug deal. The best missions come from Lester, who also happens to have the most varied missions. One mission from Lester will see you infiltrating the airport and murdering countless Mayweather soldiers to steal a Titan aircraft. Another one of my favorite’s involved getting an armored car and wreaking havoc at various police stations around the city, then speeding your way out of town and losing to cops. Trevor’s meth addicted partner, Ron, will dish out missions to you from “TP Enterprises” when you have reached the appropriate level. Most of these missions usually involve taunting, killing, and stealing from “The Lost” motorcycle gang.
As far as side activities; there are a ton of them (with more and more unlocking on the map as you earn reputation and rank up). You’ve got Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Vehicle Deathmatch, Survival Mode, and Missions. There are also a number of different race types to compete in – Water Race, Land Race, Bike Race, Air Race, and Parachuting. All the distractions found in single player are also available to enjoy with friends online (Tennis, Golf, Darts, Arm Wrestling, Etc).
No matter what you decide to do in GTA Online, you will earn GTA Ca$h and Reputation (RP) to level up your character. I’m still not clear on what the level cap actually is, but I have seen people as high as level 124. My character is currently around level 60, and this is after many hours of playing. You will want to grind and level up, as doing so not only unlocks more missions, but also better weapons.
You can play GTA Online solo, but it is definitely 1000x more fun with a friend. There are still a few minor glitches here and there, but for the most part, GTA Online is stable and very playable. My only real complaint is the way missions are set up. You invite friends to join your game. They join. Then you decide to play a mission and it brings you to the mission setup screen. You’d think the game would automatically bring friends and crew members with you, but no. Another invite is required to get your friend into the mission (even if they are already in your game).
Overall, GTA Online is a ton of fun and definitely worth your time if you own the game. Rockstar will be adding a ton of new features over time; including the online stock market, a map editor, and heist missions. Many of the big exploits have already been patched out, but there are still a few that might be worth your attention.
A Few Tips
1) If you can find a friend to race with (who is willing to take turns winning) – you can earn a ton of cash and reputation. There is one race called “Down The Drain”, which is ideal because the track is short and you can set the race for a single lap. I suggest racing motorcycles (unless you are trying to unlock mods for a certain vehicle class), as the bikes tend to make their way around the track much faster than cars. If you take turns winning with a friend, then you can earn a maximum of $7000 per race, and each race will only take around a minute and 30 seconds.
2) If you are playing on Xbox, you can pause the game and select the Xbox Games Store at any time. Doing this will remove your wanted level if you currently have one. Hitting the “B” button in the game store will drop you back into the game where you were before. This is especially useful when robbing convenience stores. Go into any store, point your gun at the clerk and grab the bag of money when he drops it. Kill the clerk, press start and go to the Xbox Games Store. Immediately back out of the Games Store and you will be dropped back into the convenience store. Give the clerk a few seconds to re-appear and then rob him all over again. Rinse and repeat. You can do this over and over, as many times as you want. It takes about a minute to do and will net you $1000 to $3000 per robbery.
3) Go to the survival map called “Boneyard” and make sure you bring at least one friend. There is a warehouse near the center of the map, with two entrances on either side. Hold down one side of the building while your buddy holds down the opposite side. There is body armor and health on both sides of the building for the two of you to collect between waves. Completing all 10 waves will net you and your partner a cool $20,000. The whole survival mission should take between 10 and 15 minutes if you are speedy killers.
*This review is for GTA Online only. You can find our complete review on Grand Theft Auto V, here.