Grand Theft Auto V Online, also known as GTAO, is the multi-player half of the hugely successful video game Grand Theft Auto V. The multi-player consists of a 16-player, free-roam world filled with smaller, more group oriented missions and traditional competitive modes. We’ve been very excited here at The Pixel Pen Review to play GTAO and the wait was definitely worth the experience.
First of all, Rockstar delivered in regards to translating the iconic single-player experience of the Grand Theft Auto series into a fluid, multi-player mode. The world of Los Santos is still just as visually stunning as you race through the streets or soar through the air. But this time, as you go about your day-to-day GTA activities, you get to see other players interacting with the same world and going about their activities. These interactions with other players create a sense of an actual, breathing world inhabited by other human beings rather than the drone-like NPC’s that shamble the streets. Most of these interactions, though, usually involve someone trying to murder you or someone trying to mug you, so the moment never lasts for too long. However, despite the excitement of seeing multiple people play around in the world, most of the time you’ll be on your own and it’ll feel like you’re playing the single-player again. This feeling isn’t too common and there’s nothing wrong with getting more of an incredible experience, but it’s just not the experience that was hoped for when jumping into the multi-player.
When you’re not gallivanting around town killing others or robbing stores, there a multitude of missions and PvP modes you can participate in. Matches like Deathmatch, Team Deathmatch, Last Man Standing, and other standard multi-player modes are accompanied by more GTA-esque modes such as The Crooked Cop where 2 teams of 8 attempt to steal evidence from a corrupt police informant. These modes are pretty well-balanced depending on your level and access to guns (however automatic weapons usually are preferred). I find them to be very enjoyable, especially with the upgraded GTA gunplay system that runs much more smoothly.
From these modes and other various tasks to be done in the free-roam mode, you’ll start to build your financial empire which opens up the customization portion of GTAO. The amount of flexibility you have with your character’s appearance, their style and their ride far surpasses the single-player’s range. To acquire these upgrades and outfits, you’ll need two things: rank and wealth. Rank moves at a pretty average pace, never feeling to slow or too easy depending on how many missions you run or if you’re just goofing around in the world.
However, it’s the wealth half of the equation that makes acquiring things in GTAO frustrating. Rockstar has implemented a new micro-transaction system that allows players to trade in real cash for GTA dollars. Thanks to the rank system, this process doesn’t unbalance the gameplay. However, it’s pretty noticeable that the slow earning of money online was designed to push players towards buying cash. This doesn’t bother as much since I can still earn all the cash I’ll need free of payment, but I do feel like the player has been slowed down in order to entice purchases.
In summary, Grand Theft Auto Online is an extremely enjoyable experience that allows players to connect and interact with a dynamic world. The sheer freedom each player has to romp around town, combined with the shared experiences and tales that those shenanigans might cause, form a player-driven mult-player that is as beautiful as it is funny. Though some of the systems and mechanics can be frustrating from time to time, I’d definitely recommend everyone who owns the game to give it a try and live the sweet life of a virtual gangster.
Written and edited by Tim Atwood
Chief Editor at The Pixel Pen Review