GTA On­line: Heists

Crime truly pays in GTA’s bank-bust­ing buddy-ups

XBox: The Official Magazine - - REVIEWS -

It’s easy to for­get, be­cause we fo­cus so much on the free­dom and tech­nol­ogy of Rockstar’s world-build­ing, that the GTA games are fun­da­men­tally crime ca­pers. The fan­tasy that GTA On­line promised has al­ways lacked a lit­tle some­thing in that re­gard – and, fi­nally, heists have ar­rived.

Heists are two-to-four-player jobs that have mul­ti­ple stages, re­quire more team­work than an av­er­age mission and cli­max in some­thing spec­tac­u­lar and a fat pay­day. The first thing this means is that you should try to play heists with mates and voice chat – the time com­mit­ment (jobs can take from 30 min­utes to sev­eral hours) and prob­a­bil­ity of restarts means it’s best to work with a com­mit­ted crew.

We said So good that it al­most seems de­ceit­ful: like a CG trailer of what the high­est level of fun might look like.

The key de­sign choice is that each team mem­ber has re­spon­si­bil­ity. Your role can be as sim­ple as cov­er­ing points of en­try in an al­ley shoot-out, tim­ing an ex­plo­sive charge at just the right mo­ment to cut off law en­force­ment, or turn­ing up with a chop­per for the per­fect get­away. The first heist, rip­ping off a lo­cal bank, re­quires only that you case the joint, learn how to drill the safe, then take it down with two play­ers. Sim­ple.

The sec­ond ups the ante with jail­breaks, ex­plo­sives and a spike in dif­fi­culty. A defin­ing as­pect of heists is that there are no ‘lives’ – if a mem­ber of your crew goes down on a job, that’s a wipe. Death is cheap in ev­ery other GTA mode so this is an un­usual and at first frus­trat­ing re­stric­tion, but it holds to­gether the whole struc­ture. By brook­ing no fail­ure, plan­ning and dis­ci­pline are fore­grounded.

You gen­uinely do not want a loose can­non. You need a driver to rely on. Some­one who can get through a shoot-out with­out dy­ing. You start to no­tice which of your friends is good at some­thing – and who should re­turn to car­jack­ing grannies.

This is what’s bril­liant about heists – they in­tro­duce a small layer of role-play­ing into this loosely struc­tured world. Tak­ing on a heist feels, from the very be­gin­ning, like gath­er­ing up a crew: you make sure ev­ery­one’s on­line, text the lag­gards and go to your apart­ment be­fore run­ning through the job. Heists feel like big, se­ri­ous events and the struc­ture gives GTA On­line a fo­cus it pre­vi­ously lacked, as well as some sen­sa­tional set-pieces. In other words: crim­i­nally good. OXM

Heists un­lock when you own a high-end apart­ment and are level 12 or above. Pub­lisher Rockstar North / De­vel­oper Rockstar Games / For­mat Xbox 360, xbox one / orig­i­nal score 10/10

The big score at the end of each heist al­ways in­volves a fan­tas­ti­cal es­cape.

Re­viewer Richard Stan­ton Live Pri­vate @rich­stan­ton

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