GTA Online in 2021: My Experience

GTA Online

Grand Theft Auto V is one of my favorite games of all time. Releasing in the latter half of 2013, I’ve been playing since 2014 across all console versions. I’ve completed the story mode 15 times and started it without finishing it numerous more times. It’s also one of the two games I’ve ever 100 percent completed. GTA Online, on the other hand, always looked like a tedious and unforgiving grind. Especially with lots of cases of cheaters, it did not seem as enticing.

There was a point early in GTA V’s life that I wanted to play it, but at the time, I had no Xbox Live Gold, so I enjoyed my time with Michael, Franklin, and Trevor, instead. Here it is, 2021, and just a few weeks ago, I started GTA Online for the first time.

Character Creator

Wow, was this cool and not for any reason that I’ve ever experienced before. I knew plenty about GTA Online before I ever played it, but evidently, there are some little surprises in store. GTA Online lets you choose your parents, which is something I never knew. This may not be as big of a deal to everyone else as it was to me, but seeing Claude, the mute protagonist from GTA 3, as a parent blew me away. I thought it was so neat to see an official Rockstar made modern Claude. Other than the various Rockstar figures in the parent section, the rest of the creator is pretty standard. I’ve heard of the types of players that GTA Online fosters, so I did my best to make my character look as pedestrian as possible.

The Game

Lamar picks me up from the airport and gives me a pistol and a heartwarming little introduction to Los Santos. While he’s driving, he says we’re on our way to a race. We arrive, I choose my car and begin my first bit of gameplay in GTA Online. The other player and I chose the same car. The other player was so aggressive, and despite my decent driving skills, I got run off the road in such a terrible area that I was a whole minute behind by the time I finished a race. That gave me a taste of what GTA Online holds, and despite it being a little disappointing, I laughed it off. There is immediately another mission, but it’s the usual you do in every GTA.

This is where I am tossed into the online Los Santos for the first time. My mind goes straight to money. I grab a car from a random pedestrian and speed to rob a nearby gas station. I hear two kids talking, presumably playing together and complaining about being killed. I pull up to the gas station, where I am randomly splattered for the first time by another player.

Okay, so that becomes an everyday thing. I go on about my normal GTA gameplay – cars, cops, cash. I find it fun to encounter random players as their first thought isn’t always to murder you on site. It’s so much fun to hop in a car with someone and see what kind of wild escapade they’re off to. I’d say that the reputation given to most GTA Online players is certainly deserved, and it’s mostly fun if you have the patience to deal with it.

GTA Online Missions

Missions are the most fun to be had in my experience with GTA Online, also the most painstaking and annoying. Lamar’s lowrider mission “Community Outreach” is an outstanding play. It’s amusing to ride shotgun in a pimped out car and do some drive-bys for the sake of stirring up trouble. The tedium and pain come from the other players that fail the mission and quit to free roam. This puts you through an awfully long loading screen, putting you back into free roam, just for you to go through another long loading screen to matchmake and load into the mission. Then somebody dies and quits again, and the cycle repeats. Luckily I loved this mission, so it was fun to do it over about 15 times.

Now missions with friends. Brilliant. The best part of GTA Online. I played with a couple of GTAO veteran friends for a three-day weekend. They showed me the ropes and I was the demolition man on my very first co-op heist. Heists are a dream experience for somebody like me. I never knew all the fun I’d been having with the story mode could be amplified this much. This is the game people have been rubbing in my face for all this time. This was Grand Theft Auto Online. Since that weekend, I’ve been struggling to find any reason to keep playing.

My Thoughts

My first experience with GTA Online was a familiar one. It’s a crazy game for sure, and it should be – it’s GTA. I would be lying if I said I loved GTA Online, but that’s strictly my opinion and probably not a popular one. It’s great, but I found it boring after that action-packed weekend and I don’t see myself playing much more. However, I am mainly a single-player type of guy. I might pick it up again in the expanded and enhanced version, releasing some time presumably soon, also with its own GTA Online standalone game, like with Red Dead Online. Until that time comes, I will work my way through my backlog and explore what game pass offers.

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