GTA Online is a chaotic fever dream in 2022

In Grand Theft Auto In line, Rockstar has built an elaborate theme park around the fantasy of being a rampaging rich criminal. Players can pull off daring heists in heavily guarded casinos and on private islands rich in cocaine and gold; they can buy expensive sports cars and race them on Hot Wheels-style tracks; they can also spend time with Dr. Dre. It’s a picture of greed, wealth and stability that seems downright surreal in 2022.

On a purely technical level, GTA online still looks great, and with tools like the Oppressor flying motorcycle and the Koastka nuclear-powered submarine, Rockstar is able to keep players focused on new content rather than old. There is only one notable exception: the To feel of the world itself. Each Grand Theft Auto game is full of references, commentary, and jokes appropriate to the time period in which the campaign takes place. But at the same time Auto grand theft 5The solo story of remains comfortably anchored in the 2010s, GTA online walks awkwardly.

Some of this isn’t Rockstar’s fault, as 2022 is a hellish landscape that none of us could have truly predicted. But other parts are a lot Blame it on Rockstar, like the ambient atmosphere of the city itself.

Starlet from GTA V

Image: Rockstar Games

The running joke of a proposal to legalize medical cocaine still hits hard, even if it’s not particularly funny after watching it for almost a decade. Other things, like the vast majority of civil barking and idle lines, were already distracting and uncomfortable at launch and have stayed stubbornly in play. hashtag selfies they like to take. Fat Pedestrians boast that they love lying to their doctors about what they eat and talk about the next culinary adventure they’re planning. A prominent delivery brand is “Post-Op” with slogans like “More Than Mail”. The brand name of a set of silly scooters? Fagio. You understood. Do you to have this?

Playing GTA online resembles the hideous experience of sitting at a table with a pissed off guy who would love to tell you all his terrible jokes, peppered with assurances that he’s not bigoted – he hates everyone equally.

During this time, the GTA online The main story missions seem to be aimed at getting the player to care about the characters and the issues in the world. Lester, a supporting character from the main game, features prominently in GTA online. It helps the player character set up their criminal empire, provides tons of useful utilities (like clearing wanted levels, for example), and is later the main logistical force behind the Diamond Casino heist. He’s pleasantly one of the few visibly disabled characters in the Grand Theft Auto canon, using both a cane and a wheelchair as mobility devices, and it’s actually quite pleasant to hang out with the guy and to see a side of him that the campaign never shows. . The player even plays matchmaker between him and the investor Georgina Cheng.

GTA Online - Lester Crest, a bald man with a cane, stands in the doomsday bunker wearing a turtleneck and jacket.

Image: Rockstar Games

Our protagonist in GTA online is silent; most of the world’s modern storytelling and texture comes from hanging out with characters like Lester, Georgina, and Dr. Dre. This already extends the immersion, as our protagonist just stares and gestures at all the animated, over-the-top personalities they encounter. Other characters even comment on it, explaining how scary and quiet we are. The player can read it as their character is stunned by ridiculous antics, or take on the role of a calm, professional mercenary. But when you step out of a cutscene and into the world proper, which is full of cruel jokes and immature punchlines, it’s hard to really care about the world, let alone save it from doomsday. financial collapse or Elon Musk-style villains.

That much, GTA online it feels like we’re falling into a strange loop of alternate history, where few of the historical events that have rocked the world in the past decade have actually happened. Instead, it’s destined to be a land of plenty forever, where the little people can always be the hero by becoming the outlaw in a corrupt and broken system. It’s just a shame that the world itself is so interested in knocking, because the atmosphere of shitty and petty jokes does all the gravity or weight GTA online can gather widely without consequence.