Grand Theft Auto Online - Review

Author: Sergio Pennacchini
Date: 2020-03-02 21:49:30
With Grand Theft Auto Online, Rockstar launched what is perhaps its most ambitious project, the first concrete realization of an idea that has been running in the offices of the Houser brothers' company for several years: bringing the freedom of action typical of its games even online, allowing multiple players at the same time to do more or less what goes on their mind, without limits. A freedom that I tasted right away, when I first connected to GTA Online. A friend invited me to his home, a luxury apartment on the hills of Vinewood, in a skyscraper. I rang the intercom, literally, and he made me go up. In his loft overlooking Los Santos (there is also binoculars for looking at the view), we started chatting, to decide what to do, where to go, how to spend the evening. As in real life, every proposal was good but a decision was never made. So he called his friend, the name was something like Candycrush: she arrived, undressed with lace lingerie and hold-ups, and started dancing in front of the table in the living room. Alone.

I wanted to beat her, but the use of force is not allowed inside the house. Then she got bored and left, so my friend and I went out on the street and robbed a liquor store. I started shouting into the microphone, ordering the clerk to hurry up, but he, nothing, was very slow. The police came, then another player started shooting us: he wanted our money. Then another guy joined, with a nick too long to remember, who landed on the street opposite with a biplane. In the midst of the shooting I wasn't sure what to do: I had just arrived, I only had a gun and not even a bulletproof vest. So I ran out and stole the plane. I set it in motion, I was about to flee like Indiana Jones and instead nothing, two bullets too many and hello to everyone, they killed me. It's not a bad start.

Speaking of beginnings, GTA Online was not an easy debut. As expected, given the amount of copies sold for Grand Theft Auto V, Rockstar's online servers in the early days were clogged, inadequate to handle such a massive amount of players. It was very difficult to be able to play, there were a few bugs too many and in the worst cases you risked having your character canceled. Rockstar worked hard to resolve these difficulties, improved the service, added servers and after a few days the situation had become much more peaceful. Today, less than a month after the release, you can play without problems. Rockstar has however decided to compensate the disservices of the first days with a gift for all those who played GTA Online in October: $ 500,000, in two installments of 250, useful for buying a house, a few cars, weapons or whatever you want.

When you first log into GTA Online, you will need to create your character. The editor is rather original and allows you to choose, in addition to sex and the alter ego (for the first time, therefore, you can use a female in GTA), also parents and grandparents (with some illustrious relatives such as Niko Bellic for whom purchased the Collector's Edition): the choice will influence the physical aspect, which you can still finish by changing some parameters (hairstyle, beard, etc.). When you are satisfied with the result (it will take a while, I don't know why, but the editor tends to create really bad people), your online criminal career will officially begin. In the first hours you will be accompanied by Lester and Simeon, who will give you the first missions to carry out, even solo, and above all they will explain the basics of GTA Online to you. You can choose your first car and insure it: in this way, if they steal it or destroy it, you can get it back as it is by paying a small sum. Then you will have to take a tour of a clothing store. At the beginning the choice is limited: going forward in the game and going up a level, you will unlock other clothes, until you can make a wardrobe worthy of Lady Gaga. Hardly, however, you will meet two identical characters in GTA Online. To level up you will have to complete missions or perform certain tasks: by running away from the police, for example, you will gain experience points and money. With experience points you can level up and have access to more missions, but also to better equipment, more powerful weapons (at first you will only have the gun, then the Uzi will arrive, then the machine gun and so on), more vehicles. With money, however, you can buy properties, vehicles and above all weapons and ammunition, which in GTA Online end very quickly. The growth of the character can be speeded up by joining a Crew, a gang, in short: you will have your Crew tag and logo, but above all in this way you will gain more experience points by completing a mission.

And you can also go around wearing jerk masks.

Well, now you can start getting serious. Scattered around the map you will have several blue icons, which correspond to the activities you can carry out. In addition to those visible on the map, others will arrive on the phone, in the form of a message, invitations from both players and from various characters in the story such as Lester, Simeon, Trevor and others. Just press a button to accept and enter the game's matchmaking system. The activities fall basically into three categories: racing with vehicles (cars, motorbikes, boats, helicopters and planes), deathmatch all against all or teams with a thousand variations on the theme and missions to be faced in a cooperative with other players. The matchmaking system is reminiscent of a shooter like Halo: once inside, you can invite other players, members of your crew, or decide the rules and game modes or even bet money on you or another player. In a race, for example, you can determine how many laps to make, whether you can use weapons or not, or whether to activate the rally mode: in this case, the driver does not know where the next checkpoint is. It will be the second player, sitting next to him, to tell him where to go. The races with weapons, called GTA, are a kind of cross between Interstate '76 (yes, I'm a bit old) and Mario Kart: there are icons on the ground that you can collect and that give access to missiles (which you can shoot also behind you), turbo and finally an icon that repairs the damage to the car. The races are many, they are scattered throughout the territory of Los Santos, and very often they give rise to truly exhilarating challenges.

Then there are the deathmatches, also here with dozens of variations. For example, how about a classic all against all inside a military base, with the possibility of taking control of a fighter, a helicopter or a tank? There is the Last Team Standing, in which the players are divided into teams and there are no respawns. Or even something more particular like Top Fun: in this case, a team must escape riding an off-road motorcycle and reach a specific point on the map, while another team will be driving the F16 fighter and will have to try to intercept them and make them jump in the air. The missions, on the other hand, consist of completing a specific task. For example, stealing a car, delivering drugs or killing an uncomfortable witness. Goals are usually protected by enemies: they can be played in teams of one to eight players. We talk on headphones, we decide on a strategy, we take vehicles, we try to survive. When you get killed, there is a limited number of respawns: if you can't get back into the game, you can see the rest of the action from various angles. Although the objectives of these missions tend to repeat themselves, moving forward and leveling up you will always unlock new ones, some really demanding and with ever-increasing rewards. The only regret lies in the fact that the "narrative" part is not as cured as in the single game: it would be nice to have, sometimes, more important, more structured missions.