Grand Theft Auto V

Tax man taken all your dough? Stress not on this sunny Los Santos afternoon, as the San Andreas Treasury Department is treating GTA Online players to $250,000-worth of free cash. 

To secure your share, simply sign into the game from today through February 26 (one week from Monday). Better still, all in-game money spent during this time is subject to a ten percent rebate on every dollar—with up to $1 million-worth in cash back. 

"Tax season is upon us," says Rockstar in a statement, "and with 2017's population growth, the San Andreas Treasury Department is happy to report a new stimulus for all citizens—hustlers, triggers, shot callers and kingpins alike—alongside a new state-wide rebate program to fill your pockets with extra cash to spend on anything from sensible investments like Executive Offices to submarine-sports car hybrids like the Stromberg all week long."

Rockstar adds that rebates and bonuses will begin to appear in players' Maze Bank accounts at some point between February 27 and March 6. 

Having just splashed out on some unnecessary Vehicle Warehouse renovations, and having arsed up one particularly awry plane-based stolen goods run (that pylon came out of nowhere, I swear), this news couldn't have come at a better time for me. 

To all the Los Santons (Los Santonians? Los Santosites?) out there: let us know how you'll spend your free moolah in the comments below.

Grand Theft Auto V

I wanted to shoot that bastard Tenpenny. I mean, after all that—after uncovering Big Smoke's hideout, slaying scores of gangsters, having a shotgun, his shotgun, pointed in my face—I was convinced this crooked cop would die by my hand. He didn't of course, and as Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas' credits rolled, I couldn't help but think: What now?

What now saw me returning to Grove Street, dressed in green and strapped for war. To this day, San An's gang warfare system is one of the most enjoyable squad-based, territory-capturing mini-games I've ever played, adding dozens of hours to an already massive game. Launched in 2016, Lucas Vinicius' Gang and Turf mod brings the PS2-era mechanic to GTA 5. Better still, the hobbyist project is still growing, and has some grand plans for the future. 

"I think it was when the single player missions ended. Unless you go online, there isn't anyone to fight besides the police, and that's a battle you can't win," Vinicius tells me when asked why GTA 5 needed a San Andreas-esque gang warfare system. "Best case scenario there is that you escape and survive. Fighting against the police also has no persistent effects: When the fight ends, the world will be the same as when it started, whether you survived or not."

Despite its age, the "persistent consequences" of San Andreas' territory acquisition rival that of any modern online multiplayer game, reckons Vinicius, and while the former's events have distinct beginnings and endings, their outcomes are semi-permanent. Unless you wipe out a rival gang entirely, there's a good chance your aggressors will reclaim some of their lost land while you're off invading pastures new—such is the scale of SA's far-reaching landscape.

GTA 5's interpretation of the state contains several incarnations of the 3D universe's gangs, and is large enough to support inter-island domination. But the base game's protagonists lack the natural motivation to pursue territorial war in the same way Carl Johnson might have. Franklin has ties to The Families, for example, but his sense of entrepreneurialism makes him more Stringer Bell than Avon Barksdale—and while GTA Online's Gang Attacks provide match-based zone-control affairs, they lack the sophistication and high stakes ebb and flow of the San Andreas set up. 

Which is where Vinicius' Gang and Turf mod enters the fray.

Paying close deference to its source material, Gang and Turf charges players with heading up their own murder squads—within which members are registered, crew colours are sworn by, and patches are defended. Team vehicles are assigned for squad-based transportation, and backup can be patched in by land or parachute when things get heavy. 

The results are suitably chaotic, particularly when multiple companies rough it out for the same stretches of land—or when another gang relocates their spawn point on the fly. A well-executed plan of attack goes a long way towards success, however it's game over if Michael, Trevor and/or Franklin expires on the field. 

As such, the mod's "mind control" feature allows players to temporarily fill the boots of friendly gang members in the same way the base game's trifecta of haphazard heroes are controlled. In turn, this encourages players to take more risks in battle. 

"Strategies should be made in order to increase the odds of winning the war," explains Vinicius. "A good way to start is to hide or stay away from the war zone as the protagonist Michael, Franklin or Trevor, and 'mind control' a friendly gang member (aim at the member with a weapon and follow a prompt) to deal with the enemy. If the controlled member dies, the war won't end, unless there are no allied reinforcements left, making it less dangerous to take greater risks. Keep in mind, however, that the war will still end if the protagonist dies, even if you weren't controlling them at the time of death."

Over time, the mod's updates have added new layers of strategy options and despite mirroring San Andreas for the most part, Vinicius says elements of personal favourite Mount & Blade have crept in along the way—not least when calling upon reinforcements.  

"The number of reinforcements when a war begins is defined by the scale of the attack, and the attacker can choose how many members will be used with attack prices rising accordingly," Vinicius adds. "The number and level of territories owned by the involved gangs also has a minor influence. It is always a good idea, when attacking, to employ more attackers than the number of defenders. 

"Dying as a protagonist will end the war instantly, but it won't necessarily be a defeat—if your gang was doing well against the enemy, they may still win on their own. You get a battle report once you leave the hospital, telling you what happened and who won the battle overall."

To date, Gang and Turf has been downloaded over 50,000 times on GTA5-Mods.com, and is one of the site's longest-serving active projects. It still receives daily support and frequent updates, and is now open source with Vinicius always keen to hear other players' suggestions. Last year, Renlou's All Gangs introduced lore-friendly San Andreas crews to this end, while other players have chipped in to help with joypad support or to stabilise things when base game updates throw things off track.  

Crashes pose the biggest threat, but with this degree of community support unsolved issues never last long.  

"The most enjoyable part is having fun with the mod, and enjoying each battle's incidental moments," suggests Vinicius. "It's also probably the best way to test it. Personally, I like using it with the randomly generated gangs, and then create some custom members for the enemy gangs according to the name that was generated."

Vinicius says that while he has no intention of giving up on Gang and Turf any time soon, the fact that the mod is open source means anyone can assume control should he ever decide to move on. 

But he's got plenty of neat ideas up his sleeve in the meantime, which, if realised will grow Gang and Turf above and beyond the achievements of its inspiration. 

"I'd like to tidy the XML files a bit and add some more configurable options that people have suggested," says Vinicius. "In the future, I'd like to make the AI use helicopters, planes and boats, if possible. Gameplay-wise, the idea of adding a 'population' to the gangs, a number of members that increases over time and decreases every time someone dies, is something I'd like to pursue. 

"In a more distant future, I'd like to add some kind of diplomacy between gangs, so that two gangs can help each other to defeat a third one that's getting too strong."

Against the maverick lawlessness GTA Online, I love the idea of street rules governing Grand Theft Auto 5's single-player. As we already know, crooked cops are ten a penny in San Andreas. I say it's time to pass the baton to the gangsters.

More information on Lucas Vinicius' Gang and Turf mod, including installation instructions, can be found here

Grand Theft Auto V

To celebrate the coming of Valentine's Day to Grand Theft Auto Online, Legendary Motorsport is offering a sweet blast from the past called the Vapid Hustler, a little deuce coupe with wide rubber, low-slung running boards. and a fiery paint job that would bring Harrison Ford running from all the way across town. 

The Hustler actually appeared back in GTA: San Andreas, according to the GTA Wiki, and it sounds like a mighty fine machine: Decent acceleration, excellent top speed, good handling for a car of its type, and it can push when it has to. It's an undeniably sweet looking ride, too. Nothing says "romance" like a chopped top, open engine compartment, and flames

The Valentine's Day event will also feature double GTA$ and RP in game modes including Till Death Do Us Part, Slasher, Resurrection, Deadline, and Lost vs. Damned, which is an angels-vs-devils showdown with 60-second day/night cycles that confer bonuses to one side or the other. The Turbine off-road slalom premium race is also open for business, and the LSIA Time Trial offers rewards for anyone who can beat the clock on a run from the Los Santos International Airport to the foothills of Mount Chiliad. 

And what's a day dedicated to love and romance without things to throw your money at? Here are the discounts on tap until February 19. 

Vehicle Discounts 

  • Albany Roosevelt (Sports Classic) – 25% off
  • Albany Roosevelt Valor (Sports Classic) – 25% off
  • HVY Barrage (Military) – 35% off (Buy It Now & Trade Price)
  • Nagasaki Shotaro (Motorcycle) – 25% off (available for purchase after completing a round of Deadline)
  • RCV (Emergency) – 35% off (Buy It Now & Trade Price)
  • Ocelot Stromberg (Sports Classic/Weaponized) – 25% off (Buy It Now & Trade Price)
  • Nagasaki Buzzard (Attack Helicopter) – 25% off

Dynasty8 Discounts

  • All 10-car Properties (including High-End Apartments, Garages and Stilt Houses) – 25% off
  • Executive Offices – 25% off

Clothing and Accessories Discounts

  • All Valentine's clothing – 25% off
  • Doomsday Heist Tattoos – 25% off
  • Smuggler’s Run clothing – 25% off

There's also a 25 percent discount on Executive Assistant services, and a 25 percent discount on a custom upgrade at Benny's Original Motor Works. Full details are up at rockstargames.com.

Grand Theft Auto V

In preparation for Chinese New Year, digital storefront Fanatical has dropped its Lunar New Year sale—launching new deals from now through February 15.  

Headliners include Rockstar's sprawling crime simulator Grand Theft Auto 5, Prey—the game that spawned this glorious PC Gamer magazine cover art—and PCG's Game of the Year 2016 Dishonored 2. In that order, they're going for £15.60/your regional equivalent (52 percent off), £20.40 (51 percent off), and £15.60 (52 percent off).

Elsewhere, more of my own favourites include the Metro Redux bundle—which comes packing both Metro 2033 Redux and Metro: Last Light Redux—for £16.86 with a 75 percent reduction, and the fast and frantic Furi which is a steal at just £7.50, half its recommended retail value.    

Head in this direction to browse Fanatical's Lunar New Year sale in full, and share your own favourite deals in the comments below. 

With new special offers launching every day till Thursday, February 15, it's worth noting that each game's discount period is different. Bear this in mind while bargain hunting, and save yourself an extra eight percent with the code LUNAR8—valid now through February 28.   

Some online stores give us a small cut if you buy something through one of our links. Read our affiliate policy for more info.

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (John Walker)

Where oh where is #9 this week, you ask, uncertain that it is possible to have a top ten without it. A mystery! Of course there are the usual suspects, the increasingly usual new suspects, and even a couple of new entries, but when it comes to slot nine, there’s a gap. The URL for the entry is this, the number seemingly unattached to anything on the store, and not> the since deleted entry for the idiotic CS:GO championship sticker collection, as I’d first assumed. Go solve the mystery, mystery solvers! (more…)

Grand Theft Auto V

Not long after the release of GTA Online's Air Quota mode comes another addition to its extensive list of adversary modes this week: Hardest Target, where 4-16 players across two teams have to kill the other's target while guarding their own. That's live in the game now, and you can get double experience and $GTA when playing it until 5 February—which is pretty standard with the debut of new competitive modes. 

These new modes are a decent excuse for jumping back into the game and seeing how easy it is to make a bit of quick money. And you'll need extra cash to buy GTA's newest sports car, the Pfister Neon, a slick electric vehicle which will set you back $1.5 million from Legendary Motorsport. I like to offer real cash context on these purchases: in Shark Card terms, that car would set you back slightly more than the Great White £12/$20 card, which nets you $1.25 million. If you've not done the Red Dead 2 challenge yet either, that's another $250,000 without spending actual money. 

If you're after Bunker-related purchases this week, the following are discounted:

  • Farmhouse Bunker—25% off
  • Thomson Scrapyard Bunker—25% off
  • Bunker Renovations—25% off 
  • Mobile Operation Center Cabs—25% off

You can also save 25% on special cargo warehouses and executive office renovations this week, plus 35% on PCG editor Phil Savage's favourite GTA helicopter, the cargobob. There's also a 25% discount on the lovely LF-22 Starling glider aircraft, the Grotti Cheetah Classic, vehicle armour and bulletproof tires. 

Grand Theft Auto V

Earlier this week, GTA Online introduced the classy Cadillac Escada Con—um, I mean, the Ubermacht Revolter to its Legendary Motorsport car dealerships for $1.61 million. I like the tagline: "Looks for the red carpet. Power for when the deal goes south." If my prior GTA Online misadventures are anything to go by, I'll be far more reliant on the latter scenario.  

And for when the inevitable screw ups roll in, upgrading my new ride with a forward-facing machine gun mount should come in handy—as should double GTA$ and RP, if I decide to wheel the Revolter around any of the game's Rockstar-created stunt and land races between now and Monday, January 29. 

Then again, with less in the way of squad cars, lampposts and, you know, brick walls, perhaps I'm better heading skyward. The same two-for-one bonus applies to GTA Online's newest Air Quota adversary mode during the same window. But if I can't be trusted behind the wheel, I am really the right person to be in control of an attack helicopter? I guess there's only one way to find out.  

After a flurry into some Grand Theft Auto roleplaying servers recently, I've allowed myself to be re-swallowed by GTA Online and it's been a real case of get rich or die trying. I'm always closer to the latter, but at least I can hope (who I am kidding, I can't afford this) to do so in style. Look, see: 

Grand Theft Auto V - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (Brendan Caldwell)

Holiday snap

Have You Played? is an endless stream of game retrospectives. One a day, every day, perhaps for all time.>

My friends and I have three matching tattoos. One for each heist we pulled. The shooting, driving, rocket-launching and knife-criming sandbox of Grand Theft Auto Online is a jolly lark. But even the four player co-op heists have created fewer memories for me than the silliness of my friends when there s no murdering to be done. (more…)

Grand Theft Auto V

After an extended Christmas break (sorry!), Sam and Phil convene to catch up on the latest in PC gaming. After a brief discussion on our Christmas gaming habits, we launch into an extended conversation about GTA Online’s latest update: The Doomsday Heist. We also answer a bumper crop of questions, from what we’re looking forward to in 2018, to PC gaming’s most misused mechanics.

Download: Episode 59: The Doomsday Podcast. You can also subscribe on iTunes or keep up with new releases using our RSS feed.   

Discussed: Prey, NieR: Automata, GTA Online, Dishonored 2

Starring: Samuel Roberts, Phil Savage

The PC Gamer UK Podcast is a weekly podcast about PC gaming. Thoughts? Feedback? Requests? Tweet us @PCGamerPod, or email letters@pcgamer.com. This week’s music is from FTL. 

Counter-Strike: Global Offensive - contact@rockpapershotgun.com (John Walker)

Well sound the klaxons, unfurl the flags, hoist your main-braces and petards whatever they may be, 2018 is proving far more interesting for charting Steam games. Of course we can’t escape the three usual suspects, but beyond those this is quite the collection of interesting, independent, and novel games. (more…)

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