GTA Online today looks a whole lot different from how it was at launch. Over 30 DLCs have been released, some big, some small, some very big, changing not just the amount of items in the game, but also how progression works. The result is a steady stream of new content for die-hard fans to dig into every now and then. But.
The other result is an absolutely batshit massive game which, as a newcomer, might seem utterly daunting. Reaching the content of the newest DLCs would take a fresh, out-of-the-box character circa 50-75 hours of gameplay, if not more, considering the prices of things and how each update is built upon the previous one.
Grinding your way up in rank and collecting all the money to jump into new content is a massive undertaking.
Sure, you *can* grind endlessly and save up to beeline to whatever the newest content is (currently The Doomsday Heist) and jump over the content of previous updates, but you still need to lay some foundations. One of the big gates locking away gameplay content is the executive office, which is the backbone of basically everything post mid-2015. They start at GTA$ 1,000,000.
Then, you need some specific vehicles to stay competitive, and to keep freshening up your garage as money allows. By the time you'd be halfway to your goal, another DLC or two would have been released further adding to the huge cost you need to get there. Basically, GTA Online isn't all that accessible for new players right now.
The Criminal Enterprise Starter Pack is Rockstar's solution to this issue.
GTA Online has already carried microtransactions for years now, however that only allowed players to purchase varying sums of in-game currency. They still need to either do research or play and gain experience and understanding before they know what to spend that cash on to advance.
This Starter Pack is also something of a guide. For $44.99, you get a massive package of in-game items, vehicles and properties, allowing you to access a much wider array of GTA Online's features and content, instantly. It also comes at a discount compared to buying together all the Shark Cards needed to cover the costs of these same items. Additionally, you also get a boost of GTA$ 1,000,000.
So what items are in this package, and how useful are they, really?
First up, you get a bunch of properties, some of which are absolutely crucial for content unlocks:
- Maze Bank West Executive Office
- Paleto Forest Gunrunning Bunker
- Senora Desert Counterfeit Cash Factory
- Great Chaparral Biker Clubhouse
- 1561 San Vitas Street Apartment
- 1337 Exceptionalists Way 10 Car Garage
This is a hugely useful collection of properties. Between the executive office, the bunker and the clubhouse, you get access to the content of Further Adventures in Finance and Felony, Bikers and Gunrunning right off the bat, with the fact of owning an executive office also unlocking everything else.
The counterfeit cash factory is a business related to the biker clubhouse, which is good to have, however at the same time countefeit cash is one of the least profitable businesses. Naturally Rockstar can't fill this pack with all the best things, since then there'd be nothing to work towards after buying it, but we still need to note it's a pretty inefficient business.
The apartment and the garage are nothing to write home about, but are definitely good to have and will help you find your place in the world of GTA Online.
The package also immediately fills up the aforementioned 10-slot garage with the following vehicles:
- Dune FAV
- Maibatsu Frogger
- Enus Windsor
- Obey Omnis
- Coquette Classic
- Turismo R
- Pegassi Vortex
- Huntley S
- Western Zombie Chopper
The vehicle selection isn't quite as neat as the property pickings. Obviously it makes sense that Rockstar wouldn't pack the game's quickest car into this pack, however none of these are particulary competitive on the current racing scene.
Lacking boats, and with only one aircraft and one armed vehicle, this is basically a selection of 8 vehicles used to cruise about in Freemode with. So functionally they're mostly identical, simply giving players a wide selection to pick what they like from. In this sense these 8 rides are varied enough for all tastes to find something fitting, at least.
That said, the inclusion of the Banshee is a nice touch, as the Benny's Custom Motorworks upgrade for that ride, the Banshee 900R, is a very swift set of wheels and is competitive in races, even though it is no longer the King. It was once, briefly, the fastest car in the game.
Finally, you have weapons and character customization items. Most of the latter in the game are fairly cheap, so customizing your character with items beyond the bounds of this pack won't hurt you financially, and the weapons are pretty good to have.
Weapon balance in GTA Online isn't a huge concern beyond eventually grabbing that heavy sniper, and when you're starting out any gun is going to do. Specifically, this is what you get:
- Compact Grenade Launcher
- Marksman Rifle
- Compact Rife
- Stunt Race & Import / Export Outfits, Biker Tattoos
All of these items together cost over GTA$ 10,000,000. For comparison, the Megalodon Shark Card, which gets you GTA$ 8,000,000 costs $74,99, so the value is pretty great when broken down to pure finances.
But should you buy this thing?
As an existing, long-time player, we'd definitely say no. While the Starter Pack branding should be pretty clear, the great value on the purchase might attract veterans. However, not much in here is actually useful for veteran players at all, and might very well overlap with what you already own.
As for new players, we'd give a tentative recommendation. While the selection of items is hit-and-miss, it ultimately does give you a pretty great boost from the starting content to stuff more recent, and the value is fantastic. However, from a progression point of view, this thing will likely motivate new players to outright ignore older content, and to leap into late-game content with fresh characters and only a loose grip on the game's intricacies, which might affect the enjoyment of the experience.
The Criminal Enterprise Starter Pack for GTA Online is available on PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4.