THE INQUIRER does not often take a morning off work, so when we do it has to be for something special, and today that something special was competitive play on Grand Theft Auto V (GTA 5) Online.
The online playing option on GTA 5 has come out two weeks after the game was released on the Sony Playstation 3 (PS3) and Microsoft Xbox 360 consoles, and it includes GTA-world staples like shooting people and stealing drugs.
Some players do not have access to it yet because Rockstar is staggering the rollout for a game that made $800m within 24 hours and is expected to send a lot of people online.
We had expected it to go live at around midnight last night, 1 October, but actually we were not offered the software update that is required for play online until this morning at around 10am. If you haven't already managed to get into GTA 5 online, you're going to have to wait until Rockstar puts it live for you and there's no published schedule for that. We started checking early and restarted our Xbox a few times before getting the necessary dashboard update prompt. Once we'd installed that, we were able to select the Online option.
Once in, you are able to set up your character and give him an identity and a name. The first mission given to you by Lamar is a race. It was fairly easy to win.
From there other missions will appear sporadically as either people set them up and invite you, you do the same, or you stumble into them.
Missions can be spotted on your map with way point indicators, and we tried a range, most of which involved driving fast, stealing drugs or killing people.
Not all missions are easy, and death matches will put you against crews who might or might not be organised. Loose cannons that want to run and gun will soon come a cropper against those teams with high locations and large calibre weapons.
We didn't notice any real lag. Occasionally when another player is on screen they can glitch, disappear and appear somewhere off to the side of where they were. This never happened with anyone we were shooting at though, so it did not impact the game.
Weapon stores are still open, as are banks and food stores. Players are expected to bank their cash in order to avoid having it robbed by other players. Other players, of course, are also loose and running around San Andreas.