GTA 5 Beginner’s Guide: Tips, Tricks AND Things To Do When You’re Starting Out In Los Santos

GTA 5 is FINALLY here for Xbox One and PS4. Check out these tips, tricks and things to do in and around Los Santos

It’s finally here! After a year-long wait with multiple delays PC players can finally join in the chaos of GTA V and GTA Online, the game went live last night via digital distribtion platforms at 12 midnight UK time! Chances are you’ve had plenty of time to watch more than a few console “Let’s Plays” of GTA V and have a pretty good idea of how to get started, but maybe not…maybe you’re a real busy person. That’s where this article comes in, we aim to distill down the bare essentials of what you need to get started in the biggest game of 2014/2015.

GTA 5 is one of the biggest and fastest-selling games of all time. It’s also one of the first games for PS4 and Xbox One to get a TRUE, next-gen re-mastering complete with new game play modes, camera angles and missions. The original GTA 5 was easily one of the finest console titles ever produced, but the next-generation GTA 5 reboot takes things EVEN further.

GTA V sold very, VERY well indeed. And just before the close of 2014 we got our first real indication of just how big sales actually were via a report from Take Two: “Grand Theft Auto V was the best-selling console video game of 2013 in North America, Latin America and Europe combined. To date, Grand Theft Auto V has sold-in more than 33 million units.”

Here’s a breakdown of the BEST selling console titles in the UK: 

UK individual formats chart – 31 January

1 (1) Grand Theft Auto V (PS4)
2 (3) Call Of Duty: Advanced Warfare (PS4)
3 (2) Grand Theft Auto V (XO)
4 (6) Call Of Duty: Advanced Warfare (XO)
5 (4) FIFA 15 (PS4)
6 (10)Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition (360)
7 (9) FIFA 15 (XO)
8 (5) Saints Row IV: Re-Elected & Gat Out Of Hell (PS4)
9 (12)Assassin’s Creed Unity (XO)
10(7) Call Of Duty: Ghosts (360)

Ukie Games Charts, compiled by GfK Chart-Track

GTA V Modding Community Just Did Something VERY Cool

“The GTA modding community has achieved a very critical step in bringing other city maps to GTA 5,” reports VG247. 

“GTA modder NTAuthority has made a guide to show anyone how to add custom maps to the game. This is huge! It means, for instance, you can play GTA 4′s Liberty City in GTA 5. He’s using a utility called FiveM. The process is not too complex but the whole thing is still in its infancy. As a proof of concept, NTAuthority brought the city map from 1999′s Grand Theft Auto: London 1969 into GTA 5.”

If you’re a seasoned GTA 5 player then you might want to stop reading here: this is something of a beginner’s guide to the game, and is not meant for those of you with plenty of Los Santos experience already under your belts.

Improve Your Character’s Skills

You play three main characters in GTA 5, and all of them have their own story, personality quirks and special abilities. Franklin’s is driving, Michael’s is shooting and Trevor’s is, well, being a maniac. You don’t get Trevor straight away, so when you’re first starting out with Michael and Franklin it’s worth spending some time developing their special abilities, skills and stamina, as all will come in very helpful later on in the game.

In order to do this you need to find activities to do like visiting the shooting range to improve your gun skills; cycling to improve your stamina; running to get you in better shape; racing in cars to improve your driving skills. San Andreas is your oyster, and there are plenty of things to do that will quickly improve your character’s skill, stamina and abilities.

To increase your character’s stamina by 1%, for instance, you need to run 18 yards or swim for one minute. With shooting, when you complete a challenge, say, the gun range, or a successful hit, your “skill” will increase depending on how well you did in the mission –– you get a 3% increase to your skill for a gold medal, 2% for silver and 1% for bronze.

When you’re driving you can quickly build up skill points with jumps –– you get 1% for every second spent flying through the air –– and stunts, which you get either 2% or 3% for when successfully completed. Jumps and stunts are easy to do, especially when you have a fast car, but you do need to land them, so don’t just drive off high cliffs into the sea.

Other activities, like yoga classes, for instance, which help improve Michael’s special skills, can be found on the map and really are worth doing. The better you can shoot, the longer you’ll survive on harder missions where deadly force is essential. These activities are highlighted with symbols  –– a gun for shooting, tennis racket for tennis, and so on –– on the map and are scattered about San Andreas.

Use The Map –– IT is YOUR Friend 

The Map in GTA 5 is basically your best tool for getting missions, finding things to do and for planning routes to and from jobs. You can zoom in and out of areas, plan routes by selecting a point anywhere and locate missions, as well as find things like clothes shops, barbers, and strip joints. If you find yourself with nothing to do, simply navigate to your character’s pad to begin a mission.

Watch Out For Blue Dots –– They’re IMPORTANT

There is a whole side-mission that runs throughout GTA 5 called “strangers and freaks” which brings you into contact with all kinds of, well, strange people and freaks. To find these little side-missions, simply watch for a question mark symbol on the Map. Once this pops up, just drive or walk towards it to meet your freakish new acquaintance and get started.

And then there are the Blue Dot missions. These are slightly different and pop up from time to time, often with bespoke cut scenes. These are slightly more important because you can make new, very handy contacts doing them, as well as gain a lot of extra skills. They pop up almost randomly from time to time, so be sure to keep your eyes peeled. Also, there’s one mission which you only get one shot at –– it’s in the construction site –– so make sure you don’t mess that one up or else you’ll never 100% complete GTA 5.

GTA V Heists Mode is now LIVE 

Here’s what Rockstar said about the new gameplay mode:

Plan, Prepare, Execute – Online Heists span numerous missions featuring new gameplay, vehicles, weapons, and scenarios to test a team’s full set of skills: from computer hacking to stealth infiltration, precision driving to aerial dogfighting, sniping, skydiving and much more.

4-Player Teams, 4 Ways to Play – Choose your roles and strategize to complete each stage of a Heist, with tight communication and coordination the key to success. Some missions will require the team to work as a single unit, while others will break the team into separate roles to complete key objectives. Replay each Heist to experience a different perspective on the action, and complete Elite Challenges for extra cash.

Additional New Adversary Modes – Brings new kinds of competition to GTA Online while new Daily Objectives and other Freemode activities bring chaos to the streets of Los Santos and Blaine County.

Assemble Your Team – Create a Crew or join existing Crews at the Rockstar Games Social Club to earn additional RP rewards as you play.

Use Your Phone 

As you progress through the game you’ll meet new people and when you do their details will be added to your phone, so you can call them to hang out anytime. This is also a quick method for doing side-stories, as people can call you to see if you’re up for doing something for them, say, towing your brother’s truck when playing as Franklin. All this little side-stories gain you skills, cash and connections. You can access your phone at any point and, as you get further into the game, more and more people will start calling you.

iFruit App

Rockstar has launched a companion app called ‘iFruit’, which is the name of the spoof Apple brand found in the game. The app integrates with in-game features allowing you to keep tabs on and interact with your game while away from your console.

The basic functionality includes integration with the Rockstar Social Club, which lets you see news and content from the game and interact with other players, but it also ties in with GTA V’s in-game Facebook spoof, dubbed ‘LifeInvader’. Presumably this will become more important when the multiplayer component, GTA Online, is released as a free download in the next few weeks.

A bit more substantial are the two mini games incorporated into the app. The first is a virtual pet and training section for one of the character’s in-game pets, Franklin’s dog, a Rottweiler named Chop.

You can use the app to give Chop presents, food and water, play fetch, take him on walks and train him to sit, beg and shake hands. This will unlock interactions with Chop in the main console game and will also improve his happiness levels, meaning he’ll be able to do more and it can make him more effective at helping the player. Allegedly you can customise Chop in-game with different collars and bandanas and there’s some suggestion the iFruit app may help you unlock bonus ones.

The second section is Los Santos Customs, a car customisation tool, it will let you tweak all the car customisation options found in the main game including number plates, paint, window tint, tyre burnout smoke colours, custom wheel rims, car horns and bodywork such as spoilers, bonnets, exhausts, lights and bodykits.

You can also enhance performance with engine upgrades, turbos, nitrous, brakes, suspension, tires and even bullet-proof armour for those particularly risky heists and chases. Apparently changes you make to cars on the app will be saved for when you boot up the main game, we would assume you can only customise cars you’ve already got stored in your garage.

Seek Out Dom –– He’s a Legend 

Word to the wise: if you want to do some REALLY cool stuff in GTA 5 you need to find a character called Dom. Once you do locate Dom, be prepared for some pretty extreme missions and a lot of fun –– we won’t spoil anything here, though. That’s for you to find out for yourself.

How To Get Cash Quick

Money is pretty limited in the first few hours of the game, but if you want to procure more cash –– and fast –– there are plenty of ways to do so. One method, although it’s not exactly a walk in the park, are the Secret Packages which are scattered around Los Santos. These usually contain A LOT of cash –– anything from $5,000 to $25,000 –– and are great when you eventually find one. The only downside is how difficult they are to locate.

A far easier way of getting some cash (usually $5000) fast is taking out an armoured car… although you will get the cops after you, so some decent driving skills are required to ensure you get away safely in order to spend your ill-gotten gains. Armoured car drops happen all the time and if you’re near one it’ll show up as a dot on your Map, so keep your eyes open –– they can pop up when you least expect it.

Or, you can just revert back to basics and mug people after they’ve drawn cash out of an ATM. Head to the posh part of Los Santos for the biggest scores and be mindful of cops, especially in the fancier parts of town where people are more likely to report crime. You can also rob shops by drawing your weapon before entering, just be aware that not all shop assistants are the same and you could end up in a shoot-out, which means COPS and lots of them.

Play The Stock Market

Listen in to the talk show radio stations as you cruise around Los Santos to ensure you get all the latest stock information. Franklin will sometimes get assassination missions from a phone box in the south of the city – before you head there be sure to check what effect the target’s death will have on the stock market and make sure your characters invest the right way.

Each character has their own wallet though so be sure to use all three characters to invest before you undertake the mission. Once the mission has started you’ll be locked out from your phone’s stock exchange meaning you can no longer invest.

Buy Property

Once you’ve got some cash you can begin building your property empire with houses, garages and vacant buildings. Some are better earners than others, but it’s definitely worth putting at least some of you blood money into bricks and mortar. You don’t have to of course, like, you don’t have to play the stock market, but it is another fun dynamic of the game that is definitely worth exploring.

You can find property for sale on the Map. Note that if you want to store planes (or even enter the airport without getting a wanted level) you can buy a hangar. This is a good idea because if you break into the military base and steal a fighter jet, you’ll be able to store it once you lose the wanted level.

Another thing to watch out for is the bike thief random events – it’s a good idea to follow up on these and catch the thief, then return the bike to its owner. Eventually you’ll encounter one who is a CEO of a company and he gives you $100,000 work of stock in his company at a later date.

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