GTA 5 guide: Brand new to GTA 5 and GTA Online? Read this first

By Staff, Tuesday, 18 November 2014 12:08 GMT

Welcome to Los Santos. If you’re an absolute GTA 5 beginner, here’s how to get started.


You’re totally new to GTA 5 and the world of Los Santos. No problem. Here are some general tips to explain what’s going on and get you moving. Be sure to bookmark our exhaustive GTA 5 guide for heaps more information.

What is GTA 5? Seriously? OK. GTA 5 is a first-person and third-person crime game. It released for Xbox 360 and PS3 in 2013, and is now out on PS4 and Xbox One in a revised, much-upgraded version. A PC version will release in early 2015.

In GTA 5 you play as violent criminals. In the story mode you shepherd multiple characters through an epic adventure involving shooting, robbing, torture, submarines and mini-guns. GTA Online, an MMO set in Los Santos, comes as part of the package. You’ll create a character separate from the campaign, kill everyone, buy houses, fly jets, compete in endless jobs, join a crew and so much more.

GTA 5 is a great game. We’re envious of the fact you didn’t know this, and sincerely hope you enjoy your journey.

Install the game. You really are green, huh? Put the disc into the machine and install the game. On PS4, you’ll see a message warning you to check the settings on your console to ensure it doesn’t power-down during the install. Do this. You want a life of crime, not a bricked machine. You’ll also need to download and install a considerable patch to start using GTA Online. This should happen automatically.

Transfer any previous characters. Have you really never played GTA 5 before? You may have bought the Xbox 360 or PS3 version, lapsed and just fancied getting involved again. Or maybe you just want to go back to basics for the new versions. Whatever, you can import your stats and characters over from last-gen to PS4 or Xbox One. We have all the information you need on how to do it. There’s some important information there, so be sure to read before you start rearranging your virtual life of crime.

Add any pre-order bonuses. If you pre-ordered the new versions, you’ll get $1 million to spend in-game, half in GTA Online and half in the single-player. You should find a note inside the box. Just follow the instructions on the back of the leaflet and the money will transfer to your virtual accounts.


Play the campaign. The best way to get used to playing GTA 5 is to play the single-player. The launch the campaign, just start the game. It’ll say “Loading Story Mode” in the bottom right of the screen. Wait, and you’ll be launched into GTA 5’s main game.

Play GTA Online. GTA Online and the GTA 5 campaign are two separate games. Characters you meet in the campaign bleed across into GTA Online, but it’s as though the two take part in parallel universes. Note that you won’t be able to start playing in the new versions of GTA Online until you’ve played through the campaign’s Prologue section.

GTA Online is an MMO, while the campaign is a mission-based story with a distinct narrative. Starting GTA Online from scratch may seem daunting, but the sooner you start the sooner you’ll be au fait with Rockstar’s multiplayer vision. Try playing some of the campaign, then dropping into GTA Online for half an hour and taking part in a race, buy some clothes or whatever else. Playing the two in tandem means you’ll be boosting your knowledge of both, becoming more familiar with the controls and honing your combat skills far better than if you just stick to the campaign.

Try not to leave GTA Online until you’ve finished the campaign. The single-player’s long (it’ll probably take you 20-30 hours), and a bunch of new people are getting involved in GTA Online with the new versions. Keep dipping into the online side and you’ll have much less of a struggle keeping up.

Get used to the controls. GTA 5 is complex in terms of control. Not only will you have to manage characters in a variety of modes and situations, but there are several types of vehicles, including aircraft, that have specific control schemes. To complicate matters further, the PS4, Xbox One and PC versions can be played in first-person as well as third-person. You’ll find all of the PS4 controls here and we’ll have the Xbox One controls very soon. In the meantime, the easiest way to familiarise yourself with the layouts is to start playing through the campaign.

Get tons more from the rest of our GTA 5 guide for PS4, Xbox One and PC.

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