Everyone's talking of GTA V and GTA Online so much that I'm starting to think that they are two separate games. They even get their owns reviews. So what's the deal with them?
To me they look about the same as GTA IV and it's multiplayer.
Rockstar's constant insistence that GTA Online is a separate game (coupled with the delayed launch of the online component) has led most people to simply accept it without question. It uses the same mechanics, game world, visuals, controls, and even the same disc. You can't buy it separately and it doesn't launch as its own executable.
So my answer is no, it is not a separate game, it is simply the online component of GTA V.
It's not the same as GTA IV and it's multiplayer. It's closer to Red Dead Redemption and it's multiplayer. You start out in a free roam full of people and there are open world things you can do, like delivering high priority cars, starting gang wars, robbing stores, etc but if you want to transition into a more structured mode like a mission or a deathmatch or a game of golf then it's a near seemless transition.
GTA IV online had nothing to do in free roam. You couldn't go bowling or play pool; there were no randomly generated open world events. In GTAV online you can go golfing or play tennis, etc. You can jack a secured van for money or sell pick up a hooker and so on. GTAV online has all the open world stuff of a GTA game while GTA IV had none of it.
Is it a different game? Depends on what you call a different game. For some people Call of Duty multiplayer is a game and for others Call of Duty single player is a game. They never even touch the other half. Are they two separate games? It's the same locations, same weapons, same controls all on the same disc; the only difference is that one has other players and has a leveling system for unlocking rewards. It's pretty much the same with GTAV and GTAV Online.
I certainly think of it as one. There is a ton of new content from car customizations to clothing to the real estate and mission structures (and if Rockstar is to be believed much of this stuff is still being held back behind monthly content updates, like the heist missions). There are more gas stations to rob and generally more unique locations with things actually happening in them. Police chases also take on a totally different attitude with other players involved; there's nothing like criss-crossing police chases with another player and watching all your police aggro to the other guy or vice versa, or simply setting up shop with three randoms in the middle of a street and helping everybody get rid of their helicopters and cruisers before splitting off again.
@demoskinos: That's my thinking on it. They've talked about how they want to add all this stuff to Online over time (like new land masses and such). I personally bought GTAV for the single player stuff and was completely satisfied with that. Whatever Online stuff I get as well I see as an added bonus. If it sucks, who cares because I still really enjoyed the single player as it's own thing.
@e30bmw: Honestly, this reminds me of how Metal Gear Online was positioned. Included in the North American version of MGS 4 for free but actually an entirely separate product. FYI the Japanese version of MGO wasn't in MGS 4 and in fact was sold on an entirely separate disc. I could see Rockstar potentially down the road offering this as a separate download on PSN or something for like $10.
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