Even when Grand Theft Auto Online‘s Heists were released last Tuesday, I had a hard time believing it. Could you blame me? Rockstar announced several (false) release dates for this highly anticipated mode so my skepticism was understandable. It wasn’t until my podcast mate Brett Murdock called to tell me that Heists were launched that I finally believed it.
Now that I’ve spent a week playing them–and have lost many hours of sleep in the process–I wanted to tell you guy what Heists is all about. Was this DLC worth it? As the title of this article says, it sure was.
There are a total of five Heists available in this free update. Each is its own self contained story but they do tie into each other in minor ways. The first four Heists are relatively simple while the fifth is one of the most challenging missions in any GTA game. Heists require a four man group (the tutorial heist is for two) who can coordinate well with each other. While you may get lucky with a random player. it’s best to stick with your friends so things can go (relatively) smoothly.
In order to do each Heist you’ll need to do several set up missions beforehand. These typically involve you and your team getting various things (like vehicles or special equipment) for the Heist finale. Everyone gets a designated role such as driver, lookout, hacker, or whatever else the setup requires. For the finale, the Heist leader (the one that initiates the Heist by putting up an investment), decides how the money is divided among the group, and decides which members get designated to specific tasks.
While the majority of the missions are relatively easy on normal, on hard they all provide a great challenge. The higher difficulty rewards players with (potentially) millions of dollars; giving everyone a real incentive to complete them all. If a team can manage to beat all five missions in a row on hard without anyone dying, they will receive the biggest payout the game has to offer. Again, difficult, but well worth it if you have the skills.
Each Heists begins and ends with a cutscene from whomever is giving you the job. There are also a few cutscenes during the missions themselves. This is great for providing a narrative that you experience with your friends. The cutscenes are of the quality as those in Grand Theft Auto V and don’t feel superfluous in any way. Let’s not forget that the guys who give you the jobs are completely bonkers which makes the cutscenes highly entertaining.
While most of the Heists are essentially fetch quests which end with you killing everything that moves, they’re all a lot of fun and provide a good deal of variety no matter what your role is. Nearly every Heist has you commandeering newly added vehicles like APCs with roof mounted turrets, different types of attack helicopters, and my favorite, the Hydra jet. All of these vehicles become available after missions but you’ll need to fork over a good chunk of your earnings to buy them.
As great as Heists are, they aren’t without some problems. Let’s face it, Rockstar has had a pretty spotty record with GTA Online. The fact that Heists didn’t work until a patch was introduced is just another example of this. However, even after the patch, there are instances of the game dropping the connection, or not allowing players to connect. Being disconnected from the game is bad enough but couple that with the eternity-long load times and you can spend more time trying to connect to the game than actually playing it.
Connection issues aside, Gran Theft Auto Online Heists is everything that fans of the series could have hoped for. If this was a traditional DLC, it would have easily been worth $30 since it contains so much content and replayability. Though the wait was long, it was most definitely worth it.