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Review

Grand Theft Auto Online Updated Review

  • Game release: September 17, 2013
  • Reviewed: May 5, 2014
  • PS3
Robert Handlery on Google+

To live and die in LS.

Having spent most of my life living in Los Angeles, I'm now of the opinion that it can be an interesting place to visit if you know where to go and what to look for, but that I wouldn't want to live there. After visiting it again, I feel the same way about the Los Santos of GTA Online. There are some great moments to be had, but, like getting anywhere in the gridlock traffic of LA, those moments can be difficult or impossible to access. They also lack any kind of coherent structure, and they're prone to all kinds of hang-ups and mishaps. If you want to enjoy GTA Online, you have to be willing to let go of any sort of desire for control, and just go with the flow. Whether it will take you someplace wonderful or someplace infuriating is anyone's guess.

Using money from the stimulus package that Rockstar gave players who accessed the game in October of last year, I bought myself a swanky penthouse apartment, with pretty art on the walls and a gorgeous view of the city below. But what's the point of such material wealth in a world as bleak as that of Grand Theft Auto Online? You're still as vulnerable as any other soul unfortunate enough to be living on these violent streets.

How good can the good life be in a city as rotten as Los Santos?

At least in single-player GTA, there's a story structure if you want it, offering a larger goal to work toward. In GTA Online, there's no greater purpose to fight for, and you share the world with other people who also have nothing meaningful to strive for, so the result is a nihilistic world in which life is dirt cheap, with players constantly gunning each other down for no reason whatsoever. (There are warnings that bad behavior will result in players being pegged as bad sports who are relegated to playing with all the other miscreants, but in a game designed to encourage murder and mayhem, it's hard to discern where the line is between fair play and being a jerk.) If there's a meaning to be found in Grand Theft Auto Online, it's in the way that, through depicting a society with no opportunities to do anything constructive or meaningful, it underscores the things in our world that actually are meaningful.

Sometimes you might be going about your business, trying to steal a car for Simeon or maybe just going to buy some new clothes, but instead you get stuck in a loop of getting murdered, respawning, and getting murdered again. You can turn on passive mode so that other players can't gun you down, though you can still be a victim of vehicular manslaughter. Violence breeds violence; you end up seeing any nearby players as threats and pull out your weapon, ready to gun them down before they gun you down. It becomes an unending cycle of pointless slaughter that pulls you away from what you'd rather be doing.

Clearly, this is a group of people who are going places.

Even if some material goods are the only source of meaning you need to motivate you in Grand Theft Auto Online, you're in for some frustration, because earning money is an arduous process, and everything in the game is so expensive. You can easily blow a hefty chunk of change just outfitting yourself with a reasonable assortment of weapons and ammo at Ammu-Nation. Saving up for a modest house or a luxury sports car means many, many hours spent stealing cars and doing jobs. They say crime doesn't pay, and the shockingly small payouts for so many jobs in GTA Online only enhance the feeling that sinking time into a life of crime here is pointless. The meager payouts are likely designed to nudge you toward buying in-game cash with real cash. At the low end, three bucks nets you $100,000, which doesn't go very far in GTA Online. At the other extreme, you can shell out a hundred bucks for a cool $8,000,000 in online dollars.

Jobs may not pay much, but they do offer an opportunity to escape the insanity of the unstructured life you find on the streets. But you might try to launch a race, mission, or other activity, only to find that no other players will join you, preventing you from having the GTA Online experience you want to have. You can also wait for invites to activities from other players, or use the Quick Job option to hop right into an activity with other players, but you don't know if the activity you'll be tossed into will be a well-designed race created by Rockstar or a sloppy event tossed together by another player. There are some good user-generated events in GTA Online too, like a novelty race I competed in that had us speeding down the highway, using huge ramps to leap over train cars that had been placed in the middle of the road, and Rockstar is highlighting the better user-created jobs with a "Rockstar verified" designation, but the Quick Job option doesn't seem to discriminate between the cream of the crop and the garbage.

Grand Theft Auto Online is never a boring game. I never know quite what the next five minutes will bring, and in any given moment, I might be thrilled or frustrated, or both, but I'm always engaged.

Still, there's enough of a chance that you'll have a great experience in GTA Online that playing it is worth the gamble. Time and time again, the gameplay, the setting, and the music of Grand Theft Auto Online combine to lend your car chases and shootouts and other in-game actions the look and feel of something out of a cinematic crime classic. I love speeding away from another player in a car Simeon wants while the sax solo from Gerry Rafferty's "Baker Street" plays, or clicking with a team of criminals to efficiently steal a shipment of drugs from some non-player characters and then making a clean getaway.

There are moments of tranquility too, like when you just take a leisurely drive up the coast as the sun sets over the ocean, or parachute over the Alamo Sea. Grand Theft Auto Online's greatest assets are still its incredible setting and soundtrack. Los Santos is a city that's ugly and beautiful in the way that real, lived-in cities are ugly and beautiful. But Grand Theft Auto Online's performance sometimes interferes with your appreciation of the game's best qualities. You might be caught up in the heat of the moment, racing against other players as a great song plays on the radio, only to have the game hitch up for several seconds.

There are some beautiful moments to be had in GTA Online.

And even on missions, other players are as likely to spoil your fun as to contribute to it. On one mission, a player screeched and swore at me over his headset to get in the car with him, even though it was a sporty two-seater he was driving, and both seats were already occupied. On another job, my teammates and I needed to hijack a boat from the shipyard. I hung back to cover them and pick off some enemies from a distance, and they thanked me for my help by speeding off in the boat and leaving me stranded. I didn't mind this--it's the sort of betrayal you see happen in any number of crime movies, after all--but when, in a bit of karmic retribution, they got killed out at sea, my only options were to try swimming my way out to the boat, or to just quit the mission and be scolded by the game for my bad behavior.

Grand Theft Auto Online is never a boring game. I never know quite what the next five minutes will bring, and in any given moment, I might be thrilled or frustrated, or both, but I'm always engaged. But because everything is so chaotic and disjointed, I can only spend a little time in its world before I need to leave Los Santos behind and return to a place where I feel like my actions might actually mean something.

The Good
Gameplay, music, and setting sometimes come together to create amazing moments
Can be violent or tranquil, beautiful or bleak
The Bad
Too chaotic and unstructured for its own good
Money is earned too slowly
You often can't find players for the jobs you want to do
Hitches up frequently
6
Fair
About GameSpot's Reviews
Other Platform Reviews for Grand Theft Auto V

About the Author

/ Staff

Carolyn has played and loved every major release in the Grand Theft Auto series since GTA III. After originally playing Grand Theft Auto Online when it first launched, she spent about 10 hours back in the Los Santos of GTA Online prior to writing this review.

Discussion

325 comments
Aaronp2k
Aaronp2k

what needs to happen:


make payouts for missions better (say about $12,000 - $15,000 on average for the easier ones like gerald, simeon or martins assasination missions and then $20,000 - $25,000 for rooftop rumble, coveted and base invaders since they are all hard now). Or they could just lower the prices of everything instead.


heists come out this week like you promised (spring ends this week) and also the heists better not suck (if they are anything like the beta I have seen on youtube then you have failed rockstar because they are no different from any of the missions except you grab 1 bar of gold and wait a whole day for the loot lol)


more story missions for single player (perhaps a prequel to the events before the michael and trevor bank heist at the start of the original story in north yankton I think if I remember right).


heist, survival and mission creator


£10 upgrade to ps4 version for owners of ps3 digital copy. I don't care about xbox one coz it sucks anyway, but obviously give them a similar deal also.


If you give us all this, then you have made yourself an extra £10 and I may even consider giving a shark card donation if you start being good boys from now on. Lets face it rockstar, how hard is it to raise the reward for the payouts of missions, get the heists finished and do a story dlc. You could easily have all that done before the ps4 release. survival and mission creator shouldn't be hard either considering you have a means to create them so there should be a way you can put them in there. 

aussiegamer86
aussiegamer86

This article raises some valid points. I haven't played GTA Online for a few weeks and don't really miss it. Wandering around aimlessly, earning very little money for the jobs you do isn't very exciting and there are a lot of glitches like when a crate drops from a plane and you go to the location and find nothing. At least in single player you have meaningful missions and more variety to keep you entertained and there are no douchebags in tanks driving around blowing stuff up. For all the hype this game received, I have to say it's a little overrated.

souther_hill
souther_hill

GTA V is boring only if you don't know what to do. If you get bored, put another disc in the console, enjoy and come back to GTA V once you feel like it.

CeZar_87
CeZar_87

All the crying in this video could be solved with one simple thing... FRIENDS! If you have some then play with them & them only. Problem SOLVED! That's what I do when I don't want to be killed.

DarkLight748
DarkLight748

Who is that reviewer? Is I ever have to listen to their voice again, please kill me now.

jimmy_russell
jimmy_russell

I quit PC gaming to play this game full-time. It's the greatest online experience I've ever encountered in my life. 11/10

tableofjapan
tableofjapan

Garbage game is GArbage.

Payouts get lower if you play the same mission, therefore punishing the player for playing the game.


Unstable Servers


No Heist still almost a year into the games life


Microtransactions


No Options to set up your own free mode or servers like in previous games.


All the online is, is just the single player, but everything from single player has insanely high prices.

dgthread
dgthread

Lots of hate for GTA in here haha. You can't say that Rockstar hasn't been innovative. I mean there isn't really any other games that compare. In time this series will be the future of gaming. I believe that if you could incorporate the best of each game into a title like Grand Theft Auto, you would truly have a total package. Imagine Forza driving but with BF4 shooting. I guess what I am trying to say is that I have respect for a game company who is paving the way, not just copy and pasting like Call of Duty has been.


Maybe this new HighLife DLC will kick some life back into the game. Check out this awesome video talking about what we can expect to see.  http://www.dieselgaming.com/media/need-something-new-to-do-on-gta-rockstar-has-confirmed-high-life-update-may-13th.161/media


Awesome Thread too btw!  

troyo90
troyo90

I can't play GTA Online without busting out laughing every 10 minutes. The game is a blast.

Shame on this writer... I have a lot of respect for GameSpot and have been using it for a long time, but they really need to re-evaluate some of their staff.

cbxero
cbxero

This game royally sucks, both single-player and online.

dani3po
dani3po

GAT Online: A virtual world for those who want to commit crimes but are too cowardly to do it in real life.

celtic_joker
celtic_joker

I've never seen so many people in the comments as well as the review who just have no clue how to play the game online.

I don't think the multiplayer is perfect. It's not even my favourite online game, but you can easily get around without being gunned down. You can make plenty of cash without farming.

And for those moaning about getting shot or crying when they get spun out in a race -you're meant to be a gangster. Behave like one.

dannydopamine8
dannydopamine8

I don't think its fair that gta gets a chance to redeem itself in an "updated" review while other games you have arrogantly called "Shit" just have to deal with it

theslovakian38
theslovakian38

when everything was fixed, (server wise) gta online at first was fantastic. it was well balanced with people wanting to do cool and fun missions and the occasional gunning down. i guess they were just learning and appreciating. I happen to put down online for a while and a few months later when i got back, it was like iraq or something. there were tanks, hydras, and miniguns shooting down other players. i could even get out of my apartment or go a block down without blowing up. it got ruined i have to say for ONCE, carolyn was right about this review...

raydawg2000
raydawg2000

The crew from GTA Diaries seem to have a blast playing it...maybe they should of reviewed it since they know how to enjoy it for what it is.  Carolyn already made it known her dislike for GTAV in general so this is no surprise she is complaining about the online portion as well.

MaddenBowler10
MaddenBowler10

Maybe re-releasing this game on next-gen consoles could help make GTA online the game mode they dreamed it would have been. But for now, I never thought I'd find myself trying to stay away from playing GTA 5 online.

starjay009
starjay009

GTA Online is easily the WORST part of GTA V. Of course Rockstar don't want to release the game on PC and next gen. They are far too busy adding make-up to the crappy multi-player. Either way I don't care. Beat the single player campaign a long time back and satisfied. 

nl_skipper
nl_skipper

The biggest issue I have with the game is that they chopped up the lobby system so much it's freakin' impossible to find a match in whatever game-type or specific map that you're trying to join, and there's no way to make the options wider in scope to try and fill up a lobby (as in, Deathmatch ANY LEVEL, instead of being forced to pick a specific level and hope others are trying to join a game in that level at that exact moment... terrible design).

NightOfInsomnia
NightOfInsomnia

The only reason why I gave GTO a chance was for the promised heists. As soon as I realized they weren't going to come for a long while, I gave that up. I couldn't stand the mentality of some other players, especially the ones exploiting money glitches. I'm glad other people are having fun with it though.

WolfgarTheQuiet
WolfgarTheQuiet

@jimmy_russell  Joke right. They ruined signature GTA single player experience for crappy online. Hope next GTA gets rid of it.

WolfgarTheQuiet
WolfgarTheQuiet

@dgthread  Get rid of online and do a proper GTA single player experience and people wont complain.

tableofjapan
tableofjapan

@dgthread  

Nothing Innovative about GTA Online at all. Still the same as previous games, except it has an economy this time around.

tableofjapan
tableofjapan

@troyo90  

"This person has a different opinion then I, so therefor they should be fired"

Thats what you sound like. And that's terrible and childish.


What are you? 6?

jimmy_russell
jimmy_russell

@cbxero I think it's you who sucks, that's why you keep getting shot and run over when you play it, you're just a baddie scrub.

brewskimi
brewskimi

@dani3po Too *intelligent, *morally sound, *educated to do it in real life. But hey, tough guy dani3po, have a great time living the thug life!  We'll send you a postcard from time to time.   

jimmy_russell
jimmy_russell

@dani3po Intelligence would suggest that doing a crime is a bad idea. I don't think it has to do with cowardice, more realistic expectations. You might want to get your head examined. Just saying..

sdeng47
sdeng47

@celtic_joker  I agree with you on that one. At the end of the day...it's GTA for gods sakes. And what is GTA known for? The mass slaughter of healthy American citizens, whether they be innocent, cop, gangster, no one is safe. Any one gets run over,shot, stabbed, and beaten senselessly and  freely, and with little consequence. It's just the nature of GTA. So before you complain about how unfair GTA can be, think about what your playing first, and think about the complete insanity that made the game so fun in the first place. Dont want to get killed like the useless player you are? then play little big planet 2 or some shit lmao

Gelugon_baat
Gelugon_baat

@dannydopamine8  

Dude - you have made this complaint of yours earlier.

Are you making it again so that it stays on top of the comment thread?

Also, I have said this to you already: if you want your complaint addressed, mention what the other games are - that is, if you want to make something more than a vacuous complaint.

tableofjapan
tableofjapan

@jimmy_russell @tableofjapan  



Awwwww, So cute. The Wittle Baby Watched South Park for the first time


D'aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaw! SO CUTE!

No, I play games that are...ya know....good?

MartijNtjuh
MartijNtjuh

@jimmy_russell @tableofjapan  

atleast not a sucky one, like gta V

aussiegamer86
aussiegamer86

@tableofjapan @dgthread I have to agree, there isn't much innovation in the game still the same as previous games. I bet he thinks Apple is innovative too for bringing out essentially the same phone every year

jimmy_russell
jimmy_russell

@tableofjapan @dgthreadThere's nothing innovative about a free to play persistent MMO sandbox with modern environments and themes? Nothing innovative about a PS3 game having the best graphics of any game ever made? GTFO of here you scrub. Your insolence is disgusting.

presauk
presauk

@jimmy_russell @cbxero @jimmy_russell@cbxero Dude I keep getting shot and run over when I play it (by people in tanks and buzzards mind). For the most part I still enjoy the game however and I have to agree with some general critiques of the game though.


The following in GTAO frustrates me:


Lack of heist mode (despite it having been promised for spring; it's summer now. Though personally I prefer they release heist mode in a complete state rather than what they did with gta online in the beginning)


While it has never happened to me (but to a friend who I hang out with on online a lot), losing cars in your garage that you bought legitimately and then being given 500,000 which barely covers the cost of some super cars let alone the garage itself.


Connections issues


Weird spawning patterns for law enforcement response; it's pretty aggravating that escaping from the cops gets halted by the fact they will spawn in front of you while you go down an intersection. I mean it's better than GTA IV where you could just drive fast and lose the cops but we need something better than insta spawn cops. Yes I am aware that you can lose them by just driving into the LS river channel and then accessing the sewer system or a parking garage. But it seems silly that these cops know EXACTLY where I am unless I decide to enter a really obvious sewer access in the river where they'll follow me or if I pull into a parking garage.



^Note that none of these complaints are illegitimate and are dependent on skill level. So it's pretty closed-minded to assume everyone who has problems with GTAO must suck at GTAO.


Gelugon_baat
Gelugon_baat

@sdeng47 @celtic_joker 

Well, that would just suggest that Grand Theft Auto V is ultimately not to anyone's taste, isn't it?

With that said, there's no law or rule against complaining that a game is not to a person's taste.

jimmy_russell
jimmy_russell

@tableofjapan @jimmy_russell #1 I don't watch South Park. #2 GTA Online is not a good game, it is an AMAZING game of EPIC proportions. I don't care if you don't like the game, that doesn't make it any less awesome.

Aaronp2k
Aaronp2k

@jimmy_russell @tableofjapan @dgthread lol I can think of plenty of games which had better graphics than gta v. the last of us is one of them. there isn't even blades of grass on gta, its just all flat lmfao. you can even crash a car through hedges and its like hitting a brick wall.

Aaronp2k
Aaronp2k

@alifetimebefore @jimmy_russell lets face it, who wouldn't rob a bank given the opportunity if they knew they could get away with it scott free? I mean imagine how badass and awesome you would feel, not to mention rich!


oh wait there a second, you can't even rob a bank in gta online. and you can only rob a bank once in gta story mode. oh....epic fail gta!

Gelugon_baat
Gelugon_baat

@jimmy_russell  

Do elaborate how you come about to that thought then, if you are going to say that you are 'reflecting'.

Gelugon_baat
Gelugon_baat

@jimmy_russell

What do you hope to achieve with that remark, really? Has it ever stopped anyone from telling you what you don't want to hear?

jellyman68
jellyman68

@dannydopamine8 He/she spends time on here picking arguments with people over semantics and trivial points, and tries to pass themselves off as someone with authority. Probably best to ignore them. Judging by the amount they post and the way they post, they're unemployed and probably have a learning disability or something. 

Grand Theft Auto V More Info

First Release on Sep 17, 2013
  • PlayStation 3
  • Xbox 360
  • + 3 more
  • PlayStation 4
  • Xbox One
  • PC
Grand Theft Auto V is an open-world crime epic set in the LA-inspired city of Los Santos around the lives of Franklin, a street hustler looking for real opportunities; Michael, a professional ex-con whose retirement isn't all he hoped it would be; and Trevor, a violent psychopath.
9
Average User RatingOut of 3637 User Ratings
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Developed by:
Rockstar North
Published by:
Rockstar Games
Genres:
3D, Action, Adventure, Open-World
Content is generally suitable for ages 17 and up. May contain intense violence, blood and gore, sexual content and/or strong language.
Mature
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