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How To Play GTA V Like A Professional

by Jeff Marchiafava on Sep 27, 2013 at 12:05 PM

Surviving in the chaotic city of Los Santos is no easy task; even a leisurely stroll down the sidewalk with your trusty pooch can turn deadly in a matter of moments. It seems like every criminal, cop, and crazy person in Rockstar's satirical city is perpetually looking for a fight, which may prove trying for the average gamer. Lucky for you, I'm not the average gamer.

I don't just play games for fun; I play them for a living. My career – nay, calling – as a professional gamer has endowed me with skills far beyond the common man. Rather than keep these secrets to myself like some kind of selfish secret hoarder, I've decided to share my wisdom, like a selfless wisdom sharer. My professional guides for Skyrim, Far Cry 3, The Last of Us, and Tomb Raider have proven invaluable for boosting the skills and self-confidence of gamers just like you. Now it's time to enlighten GTA V players.

Below you'll find a list of (spoiler-free!) situations you may encounter in GTA V, along with descriptions of how an amateur might handle them. If these sound like how you play the game, don't worry – we all sucked at one time. Following each amateur entry is a pro description, that outlines how I personally handled the situation. Study them hard to improve your fledgling skills and be more like me.

Situation: After choosing your car, Franklin's friend Lamar challenges you to a race during GTA V's driving tutorial.
How an amateur handles it: Drive through Los Santos while following Lamar on your GPS.
How a pro handles it: Immediately get into a head-on collision and lose Lamar because you're busy reading on-screen prompts for things you already know how to do – because, as it turns out, you've driven a car or two in video games before. Try and fail the mission two more times because Lamar is really unpredictable and there's a lot to remember and the beautiful city is distracting. Realize on your fourth try that Lamar is actually calling out every turn he makes before doing it.

Situation: After successfully racing Lamar, the cops show up and give chase.
How an amateur handles it:  Follow the on-screen directions and lose the cops, then head to the dealership and finish the mission.
How a pro handles it: Ignore the game's instructions (and the cops) and head north into the mountains. Become obsessed with trying to make your car explode, and spend 20 minutes driving off of every cliff and bridge you come across. Once your car has been reduced to a smoldering (yet somehow still drivable) husk, decide to return it to the dealership after all for comedic effect. Accidentally slide off the dirt path and into a river on the way back, instantly failing the mission.

Situation: After a few more tutorial missions you decide to take a break for a quick round of golf.
How an amateur handles it: Save your game and then head over to the golf course in the morning.
How a pro handles it: Fail to realize that there's no such thing as night golf and head over to the country club. Walk up to the guard who's clearly waving you away because the country club isn't open yet. Saunter back to your car, then get shot five times by the guard. Panic and drive backwards into the parking lot, wedging your car between two walls like Austin Powers. Continue to get shot while you drive back and forth, then run the guard over. Drive around the block while evading the police, then park outside the country club again and wait for dawn. After finally starting a round of golf, accidentally trip on your golf cart and inexplicably die.

Situation: While towing cars as Franklin, you spot a free bulletproof vest in the parking lot of the adjacent police station.
How an amateur handles it: Sneak in, grab the armor, and sneak back out.
How a pro handles it: Sneak in and grab the armor. Feel a false sense of invincibility after putting it on, then try to steal a squad car in front of the pair of cops who are hanging behind the building. Act surprised when they start shooting you, instantly depleting the armor you just stole. Drive into the gate, then get pulled out of the vehicle. Run down street and into a massive, multistory parking garage to escape. Run up all four levels even after the police give up chasing you, because surely there will be a jump at the top along with a car to drive off of it. Realize you're half right. Start the long walk back down to the street.

Situation: You've entered the Ammu-Nation's gun range to improve your character's shooting skills.
How an amateur handles it: Make your way through the list of weapons and challenges.
How a pro handles it: Get stuck going for the gold medal on the second handgun challenge, wondering how in the hell you're supposed to get 20,000 points with the basic pistol. After half a dozen retries, realize that you weren't zooming in by clicking the analogue stick. Repeat the challenge several more times, finally mustering 10,000 points and a silver medal. Give up and move onto the next pistol, then realize that the challenges apply to all the handguns, including the lightning fast automatic pistol with that features an extended ammo clip. Select it and pass the challenge on your first try.

Situation: After taking possession of Chop, the game encourages you to download an app to better train him.
How an amateur handles it: Download the app and train him.  
How a pro handles it: Continue checking Franklin's phone every couple of hours while wondering when you'll unlock the ability to download phone apps in the game. Check the in-game Internet for mentions of an iFruit app, then finally check the real Internet on your real smartphone for more information on how to unlock it. Facepalm when you realize it is in fact a real app. Surf through dozens of phony iFruit apps on Google Play while looking for the official one before once again returning to the Internet to find out that Rockstar still hasn't released it yet.

Situation: You decide to change the radio station.
How an amateur handles it: Hold left on the d-pad and select your desired station from the radial menu (the radial radio menu).
How a pro handles it: Accidentally perform a drive-by shooting by holding the left shoulder button instead of the d-pad every freakin' time. Try not to hit innocent pedestrians and drivers as they begin fleeing the area, then mutter obscenities to yourself as the cops close in on your location. Accept the fact that whatever activity you were on your way to will have to wait until after another high-speed chase through the city.

Situation: While out in the middle of nowhere, you punch a cop no reason and instantly attain a three-star wanted level.
How an amateur handles it: Wait for a passing motorist or cop car to show up and steal their vehicle, then drive to a secluded location and wait for your wanted meter to disappear.
How a pro handles it: Steal the old tow truck parked nearby, despite it being the slowest vehicle in the game. Drive all over the countryside in vain as the cops easily trail behind you at a snail's pace. Attempt to drive up a moderately steep hill, which is still too great of an incline for your jalopy. Slowly roll to a halt as your truck runs out of steam, then reverse down the hill and off of a cliff into the ocean. Sink to the bottom of the ocean inside the truck in hopes of losing the cops, while thinking you're safe because the air gauge isn't going down. Finally exit the truck and realize that it actually was going down, and you have no chance of making it to the surface. Swim a few feet and then drown.

Situation: After continually becoming winded while running away from cops, you decide it's probably a good idea to increase your stamina.
How an amateur handles it: Run and swim a lot to increase your stamina or partake in the triathlon activity.
How a pro handles it: Increase your stamina exclusively by jumping off Franklin's second-story roof and into his pool. Listen to Franklin comment on the size of Chop's poop every time you run back upstairs. After finally leveling up, miss the pool and hit your head on the concrete, instantly killing you. Reload your last save to avoid paying the $5000 hospital fee, even though it means losing your stamina progress. Repeat the process ad infinitum.

Situation: After a rude pedestrian makes a disparaging remark about your driving skills, you decide to express your displeasure with a one-fingered hand gesture.
How an amateur handles it: Press and hold the left shoulder button – after making sure you don't have a weapon equipped.
How a pro handles it: Completely fail to understand how the taunting mechanic works, shooting the hapless bystander when you only intended to flick him off. Get out of your car and unequip your weapon, then get back in and drive up alongside the fleeing and injured victim. Accidentally shoot him again. Forget the issue until a few hours later when you're tasked with assassinating a guy on a motorcycle, who you accidentally flick off repeatedly until you get hit by an oncoming car and the time limit expires. Head back online to figure out how the mechanic works, then get sidetracked by funny YouTube videos of characters getting knocked out.

Got any humorous tips for your fellow readers? Share your experiences in the comments below, or check out Matt Bertz's tips on starting GTA V out right.