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Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Is GTA Online actually good in 2021?

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It’s the third national lockdown in the UK, and my current game of choice is GTA Online. According to Steam, I’ve poured 243 hours into Rockstar’s open world multiplayer game (with maybe a few in the singleplayer, which I finished on Xbox 360), and right now, it’s a great distraction. Last year, I had a similar relationship with Apex Legends and Destiny 2. They’re all live-service, multiplayer-centric games – always evolving in some way so you have new reasons to revisit them, and doubling up as good hangout spaces to enjoy with my regular gaming chums.

GTA Online is also extremely confusing if you’re a new player. On paper, it’s the dream of all GTA games realized in an online space – up to 30 players share a server, roam Los Santos, and can hijack cars and murder each other at will. What it often amounts to is a griefing simulator, as you try and earn money by completing tasks around the map, before a total bastard in a flying motorcycle blows you up before the job is done. This happens all the time. 

In the PC version, too, you never know when someone might hack the game and, say, drop a submarine into the middle of a Californian highway:

(Image credit: Future)

GTA Online is so old, so popular and so overloaded with different types of content that I often wonder if anyone but devoted YouTubers truly understand it. After all these hours playing it, however, I now get how to make quick money at any time, and how to actually have fun with friends when I want to. I’ve gone from being unsure about GTA Online to enjoying it a lot, and then back again. Right now, I’m semi-permanently between those two. 

Crime and punishment

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