GTA Online’s retro throwback Adversary Mode, Tiny Racers, has just been released to much fanfare and… not a lot of applause. However, Rockstar also dropped a line in the announcement post that might prove to be infinitely more interesting than the Mode itself.
But first, let’s talk Tiny Racers. The bird’s eye view vehicular deathmatch game mode sought to play on the heartstrings of nostalgic players who still look back at the heyday of the original Grand Theft Auto and GTA 2 with rose-tinted glasses. However, with the perspective being the only common factor, the retro sensibilities wear thin.
That wouldn’t be an issue at all if the mode would stand on its own merits, and from a technical standpoint, it very well could. However, Tiny Racers falls victim to the goodwill of the developers. This is a mode that was quite clearly designed with the concept that even if they could, the players wouldn’t intentionally break it, but would rather seek to gain as much fun as possible.
Simply put, Tiny Racers is simultaneously too easy and too difficult. Thanks to the power-ups, the victor is determined by luck rather than skill. Whoever happens to nick a bomb first will probably win, and each match is over way way too soon. Players have taken to the internet to voice their concern and disappointment.
Alas, not every Adversary Mode can be a Deadline or a Power Play. Fan reception notwithstanding, Rockstar has announced that the Mode will offer double RP and cash for an indeterminate period of time, so if you have a few buddies who you know won’t abuse the bomb, this mode can actually be fun.
There are seven maps in total, however the differences are marginal. The other power-ups are pretty intuitive and mix things up from a gameplay standpoint in genuinely creative ways. There’s one that will turn you into a Shotaro with an active light trail, for example. It’s ironic that the simplest, most basic of the power-ups is the one that’s the most powerful – to the detriment of the game itself.
Say what you will about the gameplay, but Tiny Racers is impressive on the visual side. It’s still GTA 5, so don’t take this as it’s a graphical improvement. However, how it uses the game’s visuals is the truly impressive part. The courses are based on the stunt tracks from Cunning Stunts, meaning they’re narrow and suspended mid-air (ultimately an odd decision – if evoking the retro GTA games was the goal, why not play at street level?).
This means that off to the edge of the track, you’ll be seeing swathes of the map we’ve all come to know and love over the course of the past three years in a way we’ve never seen before. Sure, you can always look down when in a flying vehicle, but the appearance and specific perspective of this mode – which is maintained – gives it a new, intriguing visual profile.
Unfortunately, as the point of Adversary Modes is to provide entertaining PvP content, the visuals alone won’t save this mode in the eyes of the fans. In any case, you can grab a few in-game photography inclined mates and race around the track peacefully while enjoying the view.
Snuck into the Newswire post as nothing more than a short post-script was something that might end up being the bigger story, outshining this somewhat disappointing Adversary Mode. GTA Online players logging into the game between now and the 30th of April will be eligible for a so-called “tax rebate” in May valued at GTA$ 425k.
The announcement is highly odd to say the least. Rockstar hasn’t handed out cash in a pre-defined, structured way in years, and now in short succession, it happens twice? First, the refunds for the Returning Player content were surprising (if a tad bugged). If you were to believe the pitchfork wielding element in the GTA Online community, Rockstar’s “greed” would have made this event outright impossible.
And now a seemingly random amount is being thrown at players too? This is different from the selective giveaways of (usually) GTA$ 250K people have been getting, sometimes repeatedly, with no explanation. While some players have received millions for free through that system, but others not a penny, this tax rebate will be granted to every player who logs in before the deadline.
However it remains something of a mystery. Why that exact amount? What does “eligible” mean? Why is Rockstar doing this? The answers to the first two questions are fairly simple. The choice of 425,000 likely stems from the date: it’s the 25th day of the 4th month, which depending on your region, may be written as 4.25.
The wording of the post, namely the inclusion of “may be eligible” had many players questioning whether or not this was guaranteed. Some assumed that this meant logging in during the period designated would simply give you the possibility to be chosen for the rebate.
This, however, doesn’t ring true when we look at multiple sources. Rockstar has posted the information on many of its various social media channels, with the word “eligible” omitted. Likely this is just fanciful expression. In practice, anyone logging in between today and the 30th will get the handout – in May. This latter part has been causing trouble for some people.
It’s when we arrive at the ‘why’ portion of our inquiries that we run out of answers. If this were an apology for the hacking situation on PC, it would likely only have been provided to PC players, and without a login deadline. Many theories have cropped up across the community to answer it.
Some say it’s a general attempt to ensure players don’t bleed out of the game due to a recent lack of meaningful new content, hacker scares and the game’s age. Others think that it is meant to bolster the wallets of players in preparation for the next DLC. This latter theory works on the principle that the content of the DLC will be so expensive that even with the bonus $GTA 425k, the biggest toys will be just out of reach for the average player, making the prospect of buying a Shark Card all the more enticing.
When did the GTA Online protagonist, a criminal through and through, start paying taxes anyway? Some players joked that this is likely a rebate on the insane VAT that must justify the in-game prices which, compared to real world prices, are absolutely batshit crazy.
Seeing as the gunrunning update was slated to be released either in May or early summer, we’re guessing this is an indication that the former will turn out to be true as opposed to the latter. The vibes we’re getting here is that Rockstar is doing this tax refund stunt to regain some goodwill after the relatively weak run in 2017 the game has had so far.
Tiny Racers is the last update for April, and we’re eager to see where the game goes next – more minor updates, or will gunrunning come sooner than expected?
What do you think? Sound off below!