The lights are on
As a newcomer to Los Santos, you may feel overwhelmed by the region's massive
map and large number of activities available upon your arrival. After spending
more than 40 hours in the city, I've got some advice that should help you get
on the right track to riches.
Max Your Critical SkillsAll three characters start with different skill levels. Not all the skills
are as meaningful as the others, but I recommend developing an expertise across
the board in two critical areas - shooting and flying. You can sharpen your aim
at Ammu-Nation gun ranges located throughout the region, or by racking up
headshots in the open field. To master the control of planes and choppers, I
highly recommend attending flight school, which is located at the Los Santos
Play The Stock MarketOne of the quickest ways to get rich in GTA V is to make smart investments
on the two exchanges, LCN and BAWSAQ. You can access these markets from your
phone or any computer. LCN is the more volatile market, prone to steep climbs
and precipitous drops. BAWSAQ is much safer, but the payoff potential is lower.
I recommend playing the market early and often. Pay attention to any
business-related Weazel News reports, and listen carefully to the tips provided
by characters in the game, particularly Lester.
Think Outside The Box During Police ChasesThe police pursuit in GTA V is governed by line of sight. As any GTA vet knows,
the higher your wanted level, the more comprehensive the police response is
going to be. Our natural instinct is to escape escalating circumstances via
vehicle. When doing so, I found it's easier to shake them by going off-road -
provided you have a vehicle up to the task. Another good tactic when you're on
the freeway is to jump off to a lower level of interstate. It may seem
counterintuitive, but sometimes driving isn't the smartest way to escape. If
you're in a neighborhood with alleys and backyards, sometimes it's easier to
shake the cops on foot by jumping over fences or hiding under bridges.
Don't Forget Your Special AbilitiesEach of the three protagonists has a unique special ability. Franklin can
slow down time while driving, Michael can use a Max Payne-like bullet time to
do the same during shootouts, and Trevor has a berserker-like ability to absorb
a ton of damage while racking up kills. Use these special abilities whenever
you can to improve them; when you get in a jam in later missions you'll be
grateful to have a larger meter. Of the three special abilities, I found
Franklin's to be the most useful. Being able to slow down time while driving
160 MPH through traffic is a godsend during chase missions, and it's also
easier to line up shots while driving in slow motion.
Pick Your Getaway Vehicles WiselySome heists require you to procure a getaway vehicle. Whatever you do, avoid
using vehicles you have purchased for this purpose. I made this mistake with a
$100,000 sports car I tricked out to the fullest extent, and after the mission
it never returned to my garage (which is the smart play for a criminal who
wants to stay out of jail). Instead, I recommend hijacking a good getaway car,
tricking it out at Los Santos Customs (the improved car armor and bulletproof
tires are highly recommended), and dropping it off at the extraction point.
Collect Online CouponsWith so many big price-tag items available to spend your
money on in Los Santos, it doesn't hurt to save on some of your everyday purchases.
If you log into the Rockstar Social Club and visit the LifeInvader site you can
find a lot of useful coupons that save you a couple bucks on car customization,
tattoos, hospital bills, and more. Explore the site and click every coupon you
see. The next time you log into the game, they will be available for use.
Stay In Contact With Your FriendsDuring the course of the game you get a lot of emails,
texts, and phone calls. Don't be that annoying person who never responds to
friends. When you send texts and emails or give your contacts a call, the
dialogue will flesh out the side characters and give you some insight into
their relationships to the three protagonists.
Bring Chop On Scavenger MissionsDogs have a great sense of smell, which apparently is useful
for tracking down spacecraft fragments or letters that solve a murder mystery. Take
Chop along when you're in the mood for tracking down these collectables,
because there is a lot of terrain to cover and not a lot of direction to take
without him. If he's nearby one of the pieces he'll lead you to it, which is a
big time saver.
Email the author Matt Bertz, or follow on Twitter, Google+, Facebook, and Game Informer.