Video Game Review: Grand Theft Auto Online

Details: I’m not sure how many hours I’ve played of the Online part, but total time spent including with the single player is about one hundred and fifty hours. At least fifty of those hours were spent in the Online part. Played on the PC. I purchased Grand Theft Auto V a while ago for $35.00. Grand Theft Auto Online came with it. A lot of additional content has been released since the game came out. It’s unclear if more content updates will be released.

I wrote a review for the single player portion of this game a while ago and I’ve finally played enough of the online component to give an opinion.

Grand Theft Auto Online is an online multiplayer game where players can inhabit and play in Los Santos (the fictional city from the single player) with others over the internet. It comes with Grand Theft Auto V.

Grand Theft Auto Online is essentially a free to play game. It is largely funded by micro transactions. They sell in-game, virtual hats and clothes and cars and boats for in-game money. You can buy in game money with real money from their website or your local video game retailer in the form of Shark Cards.

The good part about this is that after the release of the game, Grand Theft Auto Online has released pretty consistent content updates since and they are all free for everyone who owns a copy of Grand Theft Auto V. Usually, subsequent content updates are marketed as downloadable content and given a price. That’s not the case here. The downside is that all the really cool items that you’d really like to own (e.g. a fast car or a new property) cost a fortune. The game is situated to be fun enough to keep playing, but annoying enough to tempt players into spending real money on in-game currency. This gives the game that shitty, Candy Crush-esque feel. It’s a long, time-consuming grind to achieve any kind of progress in the game. An additional negative is the rampant hacking/cheating present which further impedes enjoyment of the game.

There are a lot of things to do┬áin Grand Theft Auto Online, but most of it is derivative of everything in the single player and short-lived (after playing most things once, you’ll never want to play it again). The only things that I think are worth mentioning are the races, the heists, and the free roaming.

Racing in a Grand Theft Auto game is almost common sense and being able to race other players is fun. With the addition of stunts and a battle mode with rockets and other power ups, the game feels a lot more like Mario Kart than a traditional Grand Theft Auto game.

I loved the Heists in this game, but it was disappointing that there are only five and that it looks unlikely more will ever be added. Each heists generally consists of a few setup missions and then the heist itself, which is a big, multi-part mission where each player will be required to cooperate and perform a distinct function in order to complete. The best and worst part of these missions is that cooperation is essential, which is very difficult to find when you’re playing with some random players over the internet who don’t give a shit about each other.

The best part of this game is that it realizes a dream that Grand Theft Auto fans have had for a long time: we get to inhabit the same city with other players. We can help each other, hurt each other (usually hurt), drive, shoot, or just screw around, all within a persistent virtual world. It’s just fun to be in a virtual world that allows you to do whatever you want while others play in that world with you.

Overall, GTA Online is a fun little distraction that can be fun for hours if you let it. The biggest flaw and best feature of GTA Online is that many of the most fun aspects of the game require a preexisting group of friends who own a copy of the game and will play with you. Otherwise, GTA Online is kind of short-lived and will get boring fast. As a standalone game, GTA Online isn’t great. As an online game bundled together with the Grant Theft Auto V single player, the game is great. I don’t recommend buying Grand Theft Auto V for the Online component alone. I do recommend the purchase if you want to enjoy the single player and already have a group of friends who own Grand Theft Auto V and want to play GTA Online with you.

Score: 6.8/10

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Video Game Review: Bully: Scholarship Edition

Details: Was originally released in 2006. I played it on PC with an Xbox 360 controller. I bought it off Steam for about $5. Played for about twenty hours. Made by Rockstar Games.

Most of the time, playing this game felt like a chore. This is a really old game.

Firstly, the visuals are actually not bad. This game originally came out for the PS2, which was a freaking long time ago. Luckily they up resolution-ed the game and gave it a 1080p resolution, so it looked fine on my screen. It is definitely dated though.

Gameplay was the most painful part of this game. It is essentially a combination of mini-games. In general, you run around like in a Grand Theft Auto game, more like Grand Theft Auto III and less like Grand Theft Auto V. Some of the mini games involve timed button presses, like in rhythm games. There’s also trivia and some other tracing varieties. There’s a lot of mini-games, but they aren’t very deep or substantial. The difficulty is also pretty easy, easier than a Grand Theft Auto game at least.

My biggest annoyances were that the game broke two cardinal rules of video games. The game operates on a timer that goes in real-time. At certain times you need to do certain things and there is generally a time limit on a lot of missions. The other violation is the inclusion of missions where you need protect someone controlled by shitty artificial intelligence. That means that the computer controlled character will run off and get killed regardless of what you do sometimes. There are a lot of other shitty things about this game. You should just keep in mind that this game is old and a lot of the gameplay used in this game has been removed from most modern games because developers realized how not fun they were.

The music for this game was fantastic. I was surprised how many good, original tracks there were.

The voice acting and performances were as good as any other Rockstar game, which is to say they were great. I was surprised to see that motion capture was used in this game despite how old it is. That motion capture really comes through and adds to the performances surprisingly, even though the character models are old looking.

There are some bugs. The game crashed on me lots of times throughout my play through.

The story was okay. The premise is this: Jimmy Hopkins is sent to one of the craziest boarding schools and must do his best to survive in this strange new environment. I did feel a sense of satisfaction after seeing the ending. However, there were lots of times where I wanted to quit the game. I mainly pushed on because I like finishing games. The story was not strong enough to compel me to keep playing.

While not a bad game, I would not recommend it to most people. The game is so old and outdated that I’d rather recommend something more recent. I can see how some people might enjoy it though. If it looks interesting to you, then you should probably go on YouTube and watch some gameplay videos before making the purchase.

Score: 4/10