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Words: Griff Griffin
No matter how annoyingly often life seeks to redefine the word 'disastrous', you can always rely on video games to provide some much-needed stress-relief. And in the midst of a global pandemic that's making us pine for a time when things were merely precedented, players are turning to Grand Theft Auto V for a creative outlet.
Some are roleplaying as heroic frontline workers attempting to enforce social distancing. Others are staging sorely missed sporting events, or mocking up meteor-filled end-of-the-world scenarios that, given reality's shameless grab for the title of Worst Possible Timeline, we can only assume will definitely happen at some point.
This feature runs down eight of the most incredible, and in some cases unnervingly relevant, activities GTA V players are embarking on - and how you can join them. You may have beaten the story, bossed the multiplayer, and bought enough luxury high-rises to stack on top of each other and poke the moon. But as you're about to see, that's barely even scratching the surface.
Have you recently experienced a real-life infraction with a socially oblivious so-and-so? Has someone infringed on your god-given two metres? Let off some steam by enforcing the lockdown in GTA V. To do so, you'll need LSPDFR. This PC mod lets you play as a member of law enforcement, and opens up brand new options when it comes to interacting with Los Santos' unruly citizens.
You can, as demonstrated in the below video by Double Doppler, ask suspicious individuals for their ID, issue citations, frisk them, and even slap on the handcuffs if needs be. Plus there are UK police vehicles and uniforms to drive the immersion home for Brits. While LSPDFR and the accompanying UK-centric mods came out long before social distancing entered the public consciousness, that's not to say you can't use it for the common good. Like, for instance, calling in a SWAT team when you happen across a small gathering in the local park.
Sports are on hold indefinitely, with football stadiums, basketball courts, and anything else involving sweating within a rectangle closed for business. If you want to watch people compete physically, the only shape available right now is the WWE's squared circle, which is sorely diminished in the absence of a live crowd.
Enter: this UFC mod by KyRoz. It delivers your cage fighting fix, injecting GTA V with some pugilistic pageantry. No gloves, no ref, no problem. Baying onlookers must surely be questioning the legality of the whole show. As you get your face smashed, you'll fondly recall there was once a pastime known as 'spectator sports'. More athletic action comes by way of this football mod by NotCrunchyTaco, which provides a pitch, a ball, and some extra kicking animations to make it go in the goal. Sure, it's not quite FIFA 20, but that game doesn't let you steal cars.
GTA V's sophisticated video creation suite, otherwise known as the Rockstar Editor, has birthed all manner of full-motion entertainment. YouTube is replete with fail compilations, parkour montages, and outrageous stunt highlight reels. Rockstar probably weren't anticipating it being used to inform the public about a deadly pathogen, but that's exactly what S G Gamer does in their educational COVID-19 video here.
Okay, so it's played for laughs rather than something the World Health Organization would ever consider green-lighting, but there are some pearls of wisdom in there. For instance, it's always smart to wash your hands often, especially if you've been committing a string of bank heists. You have no idea where that money has been. And, if you've flown in the last few weeks (that includes any aircraft you've hijacked), practice self-isolation, preferably in your swanky pad located in the Vinewood hills. Got any coping mechanisms of your own to share? Try spreading awareness with an infomercial.
Where some GTA V players roleplay as police officers and enforce social distancing, others aspire to lend a healthful hand. Using LSPDFR as a bedrock, you can add on extra mods and turn your game into a full-on emergency services simulator. Famous Gunz's video showcases the life-saving action below.
Here we see them drive an ambulance to a pavement-bound patient, guide them into the back, and then escort them to the nearest hospital. You might think rappelling EMTs are a bit much, but at least it's dramatic. Additional mods you'll want to pick up for more accuracy include XScanner, which offers convincing radio chatter, Emergency Lighting System, which gives you control over your lighting patterns, and the Emergency Uniforms pack. Get these mods working in unison and no one will be able to clear their throat without a legion of healthcare professionals descending on them in force.
Remember unrestricted travel? It was this old concept where people could go anywhere they wanted. While that's no longer the case in reality, the freewheeling spirit is alive and well in GTA V, as demonstrated here by ENXGMA. In roughly four minutes and 20 seconds, our intrepid rambler strolls from the southern industrial area all the way to Paleto Bay, en route through Downtown Los Santos, Vinewood Hills, and Sandy Shores.
Up until now you've no doubt been sprinting through the game world in a bid to reach your location as quickly as possible. But what's the rush? Take time to smell the roses. Walk directly down a dual carriageway. Marvel at the artwork of ominous underpass graffiti. Pound the pavement and discover this detailed setting all over again, because unless you want to risk a hefty real-life fine, it's the only walking tour you're going on for a while.
Rockstar's 2016 Cunning Stunts update lets players design death-defying races. Four years on, we're still inventing absurd ways to circumvent gravity. From impossible wall climbs, to skyline loops, to boost-assisted jumps spanning perilous canyons, GTA Online hosts thousands of ludicrous creations.
Now's a great time to get stuck in. You can join a race instantly with the job selector in the start menu, or use hundreds of special props and tools to make your own. There are plenty of tutorials on YouTube to get you started. Whether it's a demented gauntlet containing oversized bowling pins, or a neon-lit circuit conjuring memories of Wipeout, take the opportunity to set your imagination loose. You have to feel for the state's taxpayers here, though. All that money funding a series of driving courses suspended in mid-air? What about libraries?
Check out Rockstar's recent Open Wheel update for something slightly more down to Earth - well, apart from the nitrous boosts. It adds two new ultra-performance vehicles that sound like a million angry bees, along with seven gorgeous tracks to buzz down. The shift to twitchier handling reflects the souped-up nature of these speedy beasts, allowing you to take corners at a far greater pace. With lighter frameworks come flimsier protection, so make sure you don't trade too much paint with opponents or you'll end up as a fireball.
As you've come to expect from Rockstar's updates, Open Wheel is 100% free, so load up GTA Vto download it right now. To find an event, enter GTA Online, go to the jobs menu, and navigate to the Open Wheel tab. You can also, of course, invite friends and party members along, too. If you enjoy the cheek-rippling sensation of open cockpit racing, and have a spare three million dollars to splash, hit up in-game car outlet Legendary Motorsport to buy one of the vehicles for yourself. Losing the cops has never been easier.
It's easy to feel as if the sky is falling during this global health crisis of ours - so why not go the extra mile and make it actually fall in GTA V? This meteor shower mod by JulioNIB rains an endless stream of space rocks down on Los Santos, devastating the city, confusing seismographs, and likely squashing a few squirrels in the process. Thought 2020 couldn't get any worse? At least you don't have to flee a thousand flaming debris balls the size of multi-storey car parks.
As Kareeti shows in this video, you can actually customise the look and effects of the meteors themselves, thereby tailor-making your very own doomsday. Choose the distance they spawn from you, whether they stick around after impact, and how big a punch they pack. Try spawning a plane and reenacting The Rock's heroics in 2015 disaster film San Andreas, but obviously without any of his charismatic machismo. No one's saying a humanity-threatening event like this is imminent, but with the way things are going, it's, uh, a good idea to prepare yourself anyway.
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