At long last, gamers are beginning to hear some substantive talk about if and when Grand Theft Auto 6 might come out. At the very least, we know it’s a real game, with Rockstar Games having issued a confirmation in February of this year (saying that the game’s development is “well underway”). We don’t know the exact date for its release yet, but we should expect it to fall somewhere between March 2023 and March 2024. Unfortunately, despite the excitement of the confirmation, this basically means a whole year or more of waiting.
Of course, there’s one perfectly natural way for fans to spend their leisure time during that wait –– which is to stay entertained by the existing games in the franchise! So, to follow up on our previous game review for San Andreas, it’s time for a look back at the almighty GTA V –– and some of the things we’re enjoying in the game (besides the core missions) as we continue to twiddle our thumbs in anticipation of its successor.
It will always be somewhat amusing that in a game primarily revolving around violence, bloodshed, and general mayhem, there’s something as chill and relaxing as a side golf game. As you likely know if you’ve spent your share of time exploring GTA V, you can simply step onto a course and enjoy a few rounds, either with friends online or against in-game characters. If you haven’t already, unlock the golf option by completing the “Complications” mission. Following this, you’ll be able to pay $100 of in-game cash for a round at the Los Santos Golf Club –– at which point your character will throw on his golf outfit and you can start playing with simple, intuitive controls. And no, surprisingly you cannot bludgeon your opponent with your clubs.
GTA V’s in-game poker is available in the Diamond Casino and Resort, where –– as with golf –– a bit of in-game cash can get you in on the action. You’ll be seated for simple games of three-card poker, which you can essentially play as long as you want. In addition to being fun (and a possible means of earning income for your character), GTA V’s poker system is also valuable in that it accomplishes many of the things you’re supposed to do if you want to get better at poker in real life. For instance, you’ll have the chance to play with friends, play a ton of hands, and train without money on the line, learning from your mistakes without consequences. Being able to do all of this basically turns Diamond Casino poker into a training platform, for those who want to take it that way. (Sadly, we can’t quite say the same about golf….)
Following the unveiling of the Diamond Casino DLC itself, the Diamond Casino Heist was a thrilling content update for GTA V. The update came out in 2019, so if by chance you haven’t played since then (GTA V came out in 2013, after all), we highly recommend you break it out just for this update, if nothing else. The heist mission is a blast, and you can do it more than once –– which is important because there are three separate approaches to the heist (along with about a million different outcomes). These approaches are “Silent & Sneaky,” in which you try to enter the vault undetected; “The Big Con,” in which you try to pass yourself off as a casino worker; and “Aggressive,” in which you simply take the vault by force.
If you have any interest in hunting, you can take part as Trevor after doing the Strangers and Freaks missions. Using your camera, a sniper rifle, and an elk call (why not), you can spend the day (until sunset) getting as many deer as you can for a cash reward from Cletus. It isn’t the greatest option out there from a gameplay mechanics standpoint, which is often the case where mini-games are concerned. But you can have a little fun mastering the process, and as any experienced GTA V player knows, it never hurts to have another surefire way to bring in some cash.
Sure, you can just steal a plane (and if you’ve spent much time in GTA V, you probably have). But what’s the fun if you don’t actually know how to fly it? If you haven’t discovered it yet, there’s actually an in-game flight school at Los Santos International that teaches you a thing or two about planes, and how to fly them. It’s definitely a side activity, in the sense that flying expertise won’t come in that handy in the course of gameplay. Furthermore, it’s not going to help you hone any real-world skills like the Diamond Casino poker tables can. Still, there are 10 flying challenges (including combat maneuvers) associated with the flight school, so completing it is a nice challenge.
Ultimately we’re all waiting impatiently for GTA 6 to drop, and we probably will be for a while. But we hope this has served as a nice reminder that GTA V is absolutely overflowing with activities and side games you can enjoy in the meantime. A few rounds of poker, swings on the golf course, and flying lessons don’t make up for what we’re missing without a whole new game. But they can keep you entertained for a while.