March 13, 2015 by Tim

While drawing this comic, I found myself hoping that enough people had seen Heat by now that the reference wouldn’t be too obscure. But regardless, it summed up my feelings pretty well.

If you haven’t seen Michael Mann’s crime film, you should. But moreover, it is the heist/robbery film by which I find myself measuring GTA V Heists (and all heist video games, to be honest). The planning, the precision and professional execution, the tense chaos if everything goes to hell… it’s what I hope to experience every time a game promises me this sort of professional score (Payday 2, for the record, has thus far been the closest facsimile, followed by Kane and Lynch’s Fragile Alliance mode). 

And so going into GTA Heists, I found a lot of really solid framework to facilitate those sorts of experiences. But, I suppose, like most instances, you’re better off bringing friends. Bring your Neil McCauley and Chris Whatever-his-name-was, the guys you know, the guys you trust. Because god help you if you rely on matchmaking. All you’ll find there is a sea of psychotic, trigger-happy cowboys.

The day heists launched, and I was working through one with a random group I got matched into. I was the only one in the bunch with a mic. At one point, during a setup mission (this is rather early on, so I don’t think it qualifies as a big spoiler, but you have been warned), our team of four needs to split up. Two of us need to go steal a classic car from a shipping container down by the docks, and two of us, dressed as cops, need to secure a police cruiser (by any means necessary) and then infiltrate a police station in order to steal a prison bus schedule.

I’m on the police infiltration team, so dressed as an officer, I jump into a car with my mute partner. I suggest that perhaps we cause some trouble, maybe shoot a couple of pedestrians. When the police arrive, we erase them and take their cruiser. My partner speeds off, driving us straight to the police station, where he steps out of the vehicle and just unloads on two poor officers having a chat outside.

Now it’s me and him against the entire fucking police precinct. Why are we dressed as cops for this?

We failed the mission (miraculously due to no fault of our own, the other team died too many times trying to steal their objective), and we had to rereun it. This fucking guy tries the exact same play. Step 1: B-Line to the station. Step 2: MURDER.

Unfortunately, this sort of player, in my limited experience, is the rule and not the exception. I say in my limited experience because since the launch of Heists, the GTA online service has been a little spotty, and getting into a heist that you can actually see through all of the steps to completion has been a rare occurance. I’m hoping that things will smooth out this weekend some, because they are really fun missions to play.

Just be prepared for what you’re in for if, say, none of your friends are available to join you.

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