Rockstar Games continues to bring its A-game with the San Andreas Mercenaries update for Grand Theft Auto Online, fully living up to the anticipation that its announcement earlier this month had stirred.
Introduced on June 13, the update has created a lot of buzz among GTA Online players but not all of it has been good.
The San Andreas Mercenaries update offers a rich storyline focused around your squad, the Los Santos Angels, a talented crew led by the proficient pilot and mechanic, Charlie Reed. Battling against the formidable Merryweather Security private army, your squad is tasked to put an end to their corrupt practices and uphold the survival of criminals in San Andreas. The introduction of high-value contracts adds another layer of complexity, too.
Anchoring the update is the Mammoth Avenger, a giant aircraft that serves as your sky-borne command center. With Charlie's assistance, you can revamp this plane into a hub for carrying out operations and upgrading weapon systems. This approach encourages more ventures, including striking high-value moving targets for cash and supplies, further strengthening your criminal empire.
In keeping with the Rockstar Games tradition, the update introduces a fleet of new vehicles like the Grotti Itali GTO Stinger TT and Vapid Clique Wagon, plus two planes from Warstock Cache & Carry. The hint of future arrivals like the electric muscle car, Bravado Buffalo EVX, has stirred an exciting anticipation amongst players.
The new Tactical SMG, a potent fully automatic weapon, is introduced with the San Andreas Mercenaries update as well. It's the perfect weapon for drive-by attacks, expanding the arsenal of GTA Online players.
However, the update wasn't all sunshine and rainbows. Amid the enthusiasm, Rockstar has sparked controversy by removing over 180 vehicles from in-game stores. Justified as a bid to "streamline the shopping experience," the move met significant backlash, especially since some previously free cars are now exclusive to GTA+ subscribers.
Despite the discontent, Rockstar has proven its commitment to delivering a quality gaming experience. This commitment is reflected in the QOL improvements accompanying the San Andreas Mercenaries update. These include streamlined features like being able to claim all destroyed vehicles at once, and an interactive GTA Online Career Progress tracker for PS5 and Xbox Series players.
Rockstar has also extended extra perks to GTA+ subscribers for the month as well, such as access to The Vinewood Car Club, a premium service offering a curated selection of vehicles for purchase at discounted rates. While some players are dissatisfied with the car removal, these bonus features indicate Rockstar's endeavor to keep the game fresh and player-centric.
The arrival of San Andreas Mercenaries and anticipation of a much larger expansion later this year makes the wait for GTA 6 even more bearable.