Grand Theft Auto V is one of the biggest games of all-time. The crime sandbox has been a top-selling title across two console generations and continues to this day thanks to its ever-evolving online multiplayer mode, GTA Online.
Allowing people to do just about anything that they want – provided that they can find the cash and equipment – GTA has always been an intriguing game, but GTA V easily boasts the best gameplay yet. But GTA Online takes that style of play further, with people participating in crimes and general anarchy alongside other real players, making the game more realistic, in a sense.
Thanks to the in-game virtual currency and microtransaction set-up, Rockstar Games knew that GTA Online would always be a cash cow. So, they’ve continually updated the game mode with new content for free to maintain its popularity. Then came The Diamond Casino & Resort update, which took GTA Online to another level.
As reported by Polygon, the DLC set a new high for player count, bringing in the largest number of players to the game at once. While it was a highly-anticipated addition to the online multiplayer mode, is The Diamond Casino & Resort expansion really that good?
Rockstar finally opens the doors to GTA Online’s casino
The building of The Diamond Casino & Resort had been in the game, teasing its players for years and years, working as a stagnant yet constant hype-machine. Much like early in the GTA Online lifespan, the greatest amount of excitement surrounded the potential heists – which were a core feature of GTA V.
Heist approach and execution changed substantially, with one of the operations seeing the player infiltrate the most secure building in Los Santos. Naturally, a DLC featuring huge heists and a lavish casino was billed as having the most lucrative mission ever to come to the game, which only helped to make The Diamond Casino & Resort expansion even more tantalising to existing and returning players.
What really makes this update to GTA Online stand out, though, is how accessible it is to any player. Whether you’ve been on the game non-stop for the past few years or you’re looking to jump back in because of the casino opening, you don’t need to pay a bunch of in-game cash upfront to gain access to the new content. What’s more, the recent rise in popularity of casino gaming in the online realm, combined with the tech-savvy approach of game developers and operators alike means that there likely is a cross-section of the audience that will be attracted by both.
Prepare yourself for the biggest, most audacious, most complex criminal operation ever to hit Los Santos.
— Rockstar Games (@RockstarGames) December 5, 2019
Upon arrival, you’ll see other online players from your session roaming around the casino while you’re taken on a tour, with Kotaku describing the experience as feeling organic and far less sectioned off from the rest of GTA Online – which was often the case with other expansions.
There are a couple of bum notes from the expansion, but they mostly spawn from the potential of what could have been as opposed to bad content. You can get yourself a sprawling penthouse in the DLC, and while it is very customisable, the custom mechanics are very shallow. Players will also find that a lot of the casino work simply isn’t viable in terms of replay value due to the low pay involved.
While the big missions, rewards, and new cars helped in this sense, perhaps the most endearing is the inclusion of longevity activities. Not only are there now loads of casino games like spin the wheel, virtual horse racing, classic table games like blackjack and roulette, and slot machines, but the update also scattered 54 hidden playing cards across the map, which can yield rewards when found.
The Diamond Casino & Resort DLC for GTA Online was a long time coming, but it was certainly worth the wait. A casino fits perfectly into the landscape of the game, but most importantly, the developers didn’t simply open the doors to such a venue. Instead, they went big on creating a huge experience with lots of missions to undertake and other activities to make the expansion a game-changing addition.
Rockstar hit the jackpot with this DLC, improving on previous formulas while expanding what it means to play GTA Online.