Grand Theft Auto Online Week 1 Impressions

By Spencer Pressly on October 4, 2013, 6:20PM EDT

Anyone who has tried to play Grand Theft Auto Online on it's launch day was in for a very rude surprise when the servers for the game crashed almost immediately. The shear volume of people trying to play on both PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 made the game mode unplayable for almost everyone on each platform. Xbox users were able to have some luck on the game's first day, but PS3 users couldn't even get past the character creation. Rockstar should at least be commended on how quickly they have taken GTA Online from being unplayable to slightly annoying, with a patch quickly on the way to greatly improve things even more.

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I want to take this moment to just say that anyone who is complaining about not being able to access GTA Online problem free should never have complained. Rockstar had even said well before the mode releases that even they didn't expect so many people to buy the game and Online would most likely be impacted from this. This also isn't like Diablo 3 or Sim City where you can't even play the game at all. GTAV's massive single player is still there to keep you pre-occupied till the problems with GTA Online sorted themselves out. Even with over a billion dollars there is only so much one team can do to prepare and even fix technical problems people are experiencing with GTA Online.

Now onto Grand Theft Auto Online, this is much more any other sort of multiplayer mode. You start off by creating your character and this stars by choosing what your parents looked like. An interesting idea if not for the fact that every character model looks like a character model from GTAV was made using a 3DS engine. You then have a certain amount of hours you can put into how your character spends their time and this helps shape your characters base stats. Finally you get to choose basic hair color, hair style, and age. Comparing any type of character you can make on GTA Online with the main three protagonist of GTAV it is hard not to wonder how many sacrifices went into making GTA Online?

Luckily the lack of detail on player made character models seems to be the only thing since GTA Online can somehow handle the massive world of Los Santos with 16 different players. Once you make your character he/she is assigned to your fourth character slot on the game's character wheel. This means you can switch between the four different characters whenever you want. Although joining GTA Online takes quite a bit of time to load and can take around a minute to load from single player to online. Luckily you can choose to start up online right away when the game is starting up. Rockstar says the amount of time spent loading will be much less of an issue after more servers to accommodate the high number of players trying to go online.

Some may be surprised to find this out, but GTA Online is actually a prequel to the story in GTAV and includes many of the characters you may have run into before such as Lamar and Lester. The more you continue to grow your reprutation the more missions you get to tackle. Some of these missions even include cutscenes just like the ones from the single players story mode. Many of these missions can even be played out in single player, but a few will require at least two or more players. No mission in GTA Online will require more than six players so you don't need to worry about getting a whole lobby to cooperate. Missions are just like GTAV and have a great since of variety. GTA Onlineuses multiple players in a mission in some interesting ways such as making two teams have two very different objectives in a single mission.

Basic modes such as racing, deathmatch, and survival are still there for teams of up to 16 players to compete in. Heist plan on coming into Online in some shape, but are not in at launch. While most of these modes are fun simply exploring the open world and completing missions are much more entertaining. The open world online also has the almost as many options for your character to explore, but many more places to do these activities. You can watch TV, play sports, buy property, and even rob a convenience store. Robbing a store is even more interesting since you have a much harder chance of getting away without anyone noticing now. You can even speak into your mic if you have one to make the cashier go faster. I have barley scratched the surface of activities to participate in online and can't wait to keep discovering all sorts of new things to do online.

Rockstar has taken away the ability to purchase fast cash in GTA Online, but while it is much more difficult to earn money in the beginning and things are very expensive, I have yet to feel like I NEEDED to buy money. As a bit of a tip for first time players who like to customize a car and don't have a garage, GET IT INSURED! Yes, you can get coverage on your cars on GTA Online and this helps a ton when you get hijacked or killed by another player and feel like taking some Liam Neeson type revenge on the person that took what is most precious to you.

Even with all of the technical difficulties surrounding GTA Online, I can already see myself getting distracted from the single player. The Online has some of the best parts from GTAV while adding in a lot of aspects that make GTA Online feel like it's own game such as a very different interface when it comes to completing missions. Small differences like this show that GTA Online is really a completely new GTA experience included free of charge to GTAV owners. Once more of the technical issues are resolved this could be one of the best multiplayer games on consoles, but only time will tell in the coming weeks how Rockstar handles everything.

We will continue to cover GTA Online over the coming weeks and when new content is delivered so stayed tune to Gaming Union for more on GTA Online. Also if you have been playing GTA Online let us know what you think in the comments below.

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