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GTA V Heists Review

So here they are! 18 months after the original launch of GTA V, the heist update has finally arrived. It's been an eventful time for GTA with new gen versions being released and a steady stream of smaller online updates. But the heists were the main thing, and arguably, the only thing that the community wanted. After being delayed countless times you wouldn't be alone for thinking they were never going to happen. But here they are, question is: were they worth the wait and hype?

The update gives you five heists to tackle with your friends. That may not sound like a lot but, with the exception of the opening heist, they all have 5-6 missions a piece and will easily take you an hour or two for each one. Which is a hefty amount of content to get stuck into and to top it off, it's free! I'll give a review for each heist individually below.

On the whole the heists are great fun, however there is a plethora of glitches and server issues that will seriously hamper the experience. A few that me and my crew ran into include; falling through the map, mini map not loading, not being able to connect, being told to finish a tutorial we had already finished, losing all our cars from our garage. The list goes on and for the amount of actual time we got to play we spent as much time trying to connect. It is a seriously frustrating affair. These issues could get fixed however and I am unable to confirm whether or not they are an issue on next gen consoles. Glitches and server issues aside, there are still a few problems with the design. First and foremost, only the leader of the crew gets the ability to replay a heist after it is done. The only saving grace to this oversight is that if you finish ALL five heists (as a leader or just a member) you will unlock the ability to replay them yourself. But to get through all five you must keep the same host, or find someone else who can take you through them.

The other huge design flaw is the amount of driving to actually get to the heist. Remember the driving to get to missions in GTA IV? Well this is way worse. Often the game will have you driving from your apartment to the heist which can be all the way out in the desert area. It was bearable at first but after doing it over and over again it gets really old. This issue does also have a small measure to counteract it however. If the whole crew has already beaten the heist once you can skip the trip for a fee. But your first play through of the heists will have to be driven and that is already too much.

One final thing that is an inconvenience, but really can't be helped, is that the heists require you to fill the room. Sometimes it feels like you don't need four people. But other times it's a necessity to fill the roles. So it's understandable why it is like that, but it can be frustrating trying to fill a room.

Anyway, onto the reviews for each heist!

The Fleeca Job
This heist is a short two man heist that is ultimately a glorified tutorial. It consists of only three parts; two setups and a finale. On the whole this heists presents some cool features but just feels pretty boring. The first setup in particular is a chore. Remember that driving I was talking about? Well this mission shows it off. Tasking you with just driving to the bank and driving back. The passenger meanwhile is presented with a seriously frustrating hacking mini game, similar to the old mobile game "Snake". Here they aren't too bad but when the passenger gets to do another set in the finale they are a lot more annoying. The second setup involves stealing an armored car. While it is really short, it is pretty fun. You simply go up to the top of a parking garage and kill the people protecting it and get out. All this is the setup for the finale. In the finale you take the armored car and take it to the bank. Once there one guy drills the safety deposit box and the other keeps the crowd under control. Once done you leave and escape the cops in one of the coolest getaways I have ever seen.

The Prison Break
Here's where things start to get interesting. With four setup missions this time around there is a lot more going on with a lot more intricacy. The setups involve you stealing a bus, plane, helicopter, and a transport schedule. These missions alone are all pretty fun but the one that stands out is the transport schedule. Here the teams are split into two sets of two and one group is dressed up as cops. They are tasked with obtaining a police cruiser and driving over to the station. Here they walk in and take the schedule. While it's not particularly difficult it feels pretty cool going in undercover to steal what you need. The other team is tasked is stealing a car from a container ship. This side is a lot more action orientated but there is a way to do it a lot more tactically!  All the other missions simply boil down to going and stealing the items you need by killing everyone around it and getting away. The finale is one of the most complex, with all four people having their own role. One person is tasked with being a prison officer and another his prisoner. While the other two take the plane and the helicopter. Basically the two on the ground infiltrate the prison to find a particular inmate and then bust him out. While the other plane is the getaway vehicle and the helicopter is its protection. This all comes together in a really well thought out heist and is a great co-op experience.

The Humane Labs Raid
Easily the best heist of them all. This time you have five setup missions and they all have huge variety. The missions consist of stealing a jump jet with an EMP on board which is located on an aircraft carrier. Storming this carrier via dingy as a crew is a blast. There's a deal that goes wrong to obtain keycards and a stealth mission to infiltrate the labs with the EMP. All this is just part of the set up for the finale! The finale itself is amazing. The team is split into a ground team and an air team. The ground team gets to jump from the chopper and parachute into the labs while the EMP goes off and clear rooms full of enemies on the way to the control room to acquire a data stick. The cutscene in the control room is hilarious also. From here they they escape via the water tunnels. Meanwhile the air team fends off enemy choppers and extracts the ground team. This whole heist is a seriously well put together operation.

Series A Funding
From the best heist to the worst. This one isn't as well connected as the other ones. It really is just five missions where you steal drugs then you just drive across state with them. There's a lot of driving involved to get whatever drug back to the warehouse. The first set up mission is actually quite fun, it involves storming a luxury boat in two squads; one from the air and one from the sea. Once on the boat you clear it out and take their cocaine. After that mission though it's downhill and has minimal shooting and maximum driving, which is a lot considering almost all of them involve travelling up north near Trevor's trailer.

The Pacific Standard Job
If you follow the very weak story line you will notice that all previous heists are effectively their to prove yourself to Lester so you can do this final heist. It's the most daring yet and involves a lot. First off you are tasked with getting various equipment pieces so you can take on the Pacific Standard bank. First mission requires the most teamwork out of anything else in the update. Here you must take pictures of four different vans and wait for Lester to tell you the correct one. The catch is, the driver cannot see where these trucks are and the navigator must direct him to them. Once you have the right truck you must steal it and get back to the warehouse without any cops. The other setups involve; stealing a military truck from a convoy, a set of bikes from the Lost gang, performing a switch on a device from a rival heist crew, and rescuing a hacking expert. All of these are a lot of fun to play and all lead up perfectly to the finale. The finale has you in two squads, one team keeps the civilians under control while the other team fights down to the vault to grab the cash. Once that's done and you're ready to escape it gets really interesting. The cops show up and you are forced to fight through them. However, the two with the money bags will lose money for the crew if they are hit. Once you have fought down the alleys swarming with cops it doesn't end there. The final getaway section is as fun as it is hectic. You use those bikes you stole to storm up north dodging countless police cars. Once you've made it up the mountain you jump off the cliff and parachute down to a dingy out to safety. This finale is really tough and to get out with the maximum cash is near impossible and will present a series challenge to anyone who wants to try!

Overall, the Heist Update is a great piece of content and it's hard to complain for free. But the game's glitches and server issues can ruin it entirely if they are encountered multiple times. Stick with it though and the heists are one of most fun co-op experiences there is even if it seems like a mystery as to why they took so long to make.

+Great co-op
+Humane Labs Raid
+Amount of content
-Server Issues
-Series A Funding
-Too much driving

Score: 7.5/10 "Good"

What I Played: Finished all 5 heists in about 15 hours of game time, spent another 15+ hours trying to connect and get it to work on Xbox 360
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