The best way to play

A group of bikers wearing leather vests in GTA Online shoot enemies offscreen.

Screenshot: rock star games

having played grand theft auto online for nearly a decade, I don’t think it will shock you to learn that I recently felt… like I was done with the game. Although I enjoyed some of the recent updates and eventsmy desire to immerse hours of my life in GTA online has mostly disappeared. So I wasn’t sure what to expect with the new PS5 and Xbox Series X/S ports released today. Would that really change how I feel all these years later?

Surprisingly, the answer is yes. For the first time in a long time, I can’t wait to play more GTA online. And it’s not just because it loads faster and looks better…even if it does!

But first, let’s get that out now: Yes, it’s annoying that Rockstar didn’t release a new main line GTA game in almost a decade. And yes, it’s wild, maybe even hard to believe, which I still write about GTA online in 2022, on a new generation of consoles. Also: If you don’t like the way GTA online plays on old consoles, the community that exists around it or the way it manages multiplayer missions, this new version of the game does not fundamentally change any of that. It’s still most of the time, for better or for worse, GTA online.

However, that doesn’t mean that Rockstar has simply increased GTA online‘s resolution (4K) and framerate (60fps) and called it day. (I mean it’s part of this new packagebut there’s more to it.) Instead, it’s pushed and tweaked GTA online into a more modern live-game experience, with updated menus that helpfully navigate new players through the blood-soaked streets of Los Santos in the smoothest way possible. For the first time perhaps in its long existence, GTA online it really does feel like he wants you to play it.

A screenshot of the new GTA Online menu.

Screenshot: Rockstar/Kotaku Games

The biggest and most useful addition for new players, or returning players who want a fresh start, is the Career Builder. From the start of the character creation process, you get $4 million. With that, you jump into the career buildera kind of guided tour through key slices of content GTA online has to offer. When starting a new character, Rockstar now gives you four career options: executive, nightclub owner, shooter, or biker. Attractive and informative menus guide you through buying property related to your chosen career, buying guns, and buying a vehicle as well.

Read more: grand theft auto online: The Kotaku Review

The end result is that you start GTA onlineNot just with a shitty gun and a few bucks, but with a reasonable career path to follow. For example, if you choose the owner of a nightclub, you will receive an assortment of missions and activities that will help you build your club, attract visitors, and eventually get you to a point where your place becomes fun and independent. way to generate income and allow you to try other aspects of the game. Compared to the old GTA online experience, which simply threw you into the world with next to nothing, then bombarded you with texts and missions with no clear goal or plan, is a much better way to keep new players from feeling overwhelmed.

The other big reason why I found myself enjoying this new port of GTA online is performance improvement. Yes, GTA V and GTA online have been playable at 60fps on PC for years. I played GTA V there, and it was fun. But having my long duration GTA online character, on my big TV, at a nicer frame rate with better visuals and faster load times was amazing.

A screenshot of a man on a motorbike watching the sun go down in GTA V on PS5.

GTA V it might be old, but it still looks great on the big screen in 2022. And this new PS5 port is even better.
Screenshot: Rockstar/Kotaku Games

And let’s really stop and enjoy those faster load times. In single player and online mode or when transitioning between the two modes, GTA V previously struggled to load anything in a reasonable amount of time. Now, thanks to SSDs inside current-gen machines and their general increase in performance, GTA V and GTA online look more like modern games than ever.

There are still load times, but being able to start the game in seconds instead of minutes is such a relief. Literally hours of my life was wasted watching the clouds are slowly drifting as the game loads, loads and loads. And while GTA online still has some waiting issues when trying to play less popular modes, the overall experience is more stable and fast. As someone who basically plays this game for a living, thank goodness for that.

I will have to spend more time with this new version of GTA V and its multiplayer to see if it starts to break down in some areas of course, but for now I’m honestly excited to play GTA online. I don’t even check for a new update or anything…I’m just pumped to load it up and drive around and hang out with people.

I didn’t expect this new port to change my feelings around GTA online so much, but here we are. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have stunt racing to do.