‘Grand Theft Auto Online’: What You Need To Know

So, today, Grand Theft Auto Online, which is half of Grand Theft Auto V, hits the streets. In fact you can already get the upgrade, which is a title update. But what do you need to know before you start playing?

Needless To Say The Launch Is A Mess

Seriously, don’t try to log in right now. It’s not worth it. The update has been up since 7am EST, and it downloads easy enough; I had it on my PS3 in a minute or two. But service is widely reported to be spotty, and if you do get in, it starts and stutters, and missions will hang as they try to find other players who are all experiencing the same problems you are. So give it a day or two to get straightened out.

The Character Customization Is… Weird

You’ve probably been told that you’ll “customize” your character by picking your parents and their ancestry, and then choosing your character’s lifestyle. But it’s one thing to see it on paper and quite another thing to see it in action. You’ll probably spend a lot of time here picking different parents and generally screwing around to see what the game will do with various genetic and lifestyle choices. Let’s just say partying all the time is not what you call conducive to good looks.

This feels, quite a lot, like it was an idea that Rockstar was going to use for another game; it’s very detailed and in-depth, and screwing around with the sliders is practically a minigame in of itself. One suspects this isn’t the last we’ve seen of this idea.

You Start At The Very, Very Bottom

Finally, it’s worth remembering this; you’re going to have to play the game to get to the cool stuff. Microtransactions won’t earn you Reputation Points, which is what you need to unlock cooler vehicles and guns and boost your stats. Even the minor screwing around demonstrated that you’re going to have to build your character up quite a bit; all your stats are miserably low compared to what you’re probably used to, and, for example, you won’t be running around with the minigun to up your shooting stats.

It’ll be interesting to see what happens when things heat up; either way, it’s going to be an interesting experiment. We’ll try it out and have a review in a few days.