There are 19 convenience stores in Grand Theft Auto V which is a lot but it's a lot better than the 32 restaurants, cafes, and bars in Watch Dogs 2. You know the deal here, I (in this case it's because Alfie Deverell of Cloven Hoof Podcast fame joined me for this one) go from establishment to establishment and give them as in-depth a review as I possibly can. Let's do it!
Convenience Store #1:
Convenience store #1 is nice. I think. Or I'm sure it would be if I actually went. That's right you've been pranked. You've been played. You're not reading a review of every convenience store in Grand Theft Auto V, what you're actually reading is a rant about the latest thing Rockstar have done to alienate a fan base that puts so much faith and hard earned money into their products. Gotcha. Now you're here you have to stay to the end.
The Grand Theft Auto V expanded and enhanced edition is a very good game and does a great job in modernizing Grand Theft Auto V, in almost every way. It does fall majorly short in one way though, the new version of Grand Theft Auto online has absolutely no option for cross-generation play. I can understand why cross-platform play hasn't happened, often there are security worries and balancing issues, but not allowing cross-gen play when so many people are still on the last console generation is such an insane decision.
Convenience Store #2:
Last night we hopped on GTA online with the hope of being able to write a fun little review of every convenience store, that doesn't sound like too much to ask. I scrolled over to the friends section to send an invite only to find out that none of my friends played Grand Theft Auto V. Except they do, my friends do play Grand Theft Auto V (unless they don't, who have I been playing with this whole time?), so why couldn't I invite them? Because none of my friends play Grand Theft Auto Enhanced and Expanded edition.
Convenience Store #3:
When you boot up the online mode on next-gen GTA for the first time you're invited to either make a new character or to import your old character. That to me sounded like a complete no-brainer, obviously I want the character I've plowed weeks of real time in to, wouldn't you? You immediately get told that your character will be deleted from the last-gen version of the game, which is odd and feels needless but ok who cares right? What they don't tell you is that by deleting your last-gen character they remove every option of playing with anyone that doesn't have the new version of the game.
Convenience Store #4:
Once you take the leap onto next-gen you can literally never go back unless you create a whole new character and save. In 2022, a year where No man's sky, fortnite, and Granturismo 7 have all managed to nail cross-generation play on next-generation versions, you begin to question why the most profitable piece of media of all time doesn't have this option. It's clearly not because it can't be done and it's not because nobody wants it because it very much can and they very much do, it feels like yet another blatant cash grab by the most money hungry company in the gaming industry.
Convenience Store #5:
It's so frustrating because it's obvious that it can be done, a game that as of 2018 had made $6,000,000,000 should have the option of cross-generation play at least in some capacity. I wouldn't even mind if I had to use the last-generation edition of my character, they could just let me upload progress between the same versions and I wouldn't mind. What Rockstar have done is make it so that either my friends all have to buy a new console and then a third edition of this game or I have to make a new character and spend money on in game currency to catch back up with the rest of the player base and if that isn't the craftiest and slyest thing you've ever heard of a game company I don't know what is.
Convenience Store #5:
I have no problem with games releasing multiple times, I don't care how many editions of Skyrim Bethesda want to announce. I even had no problem with the very flawed GTA trilogy remasters. I do have a problem with a blatant and nearly game ruining cash grab in a game I've now bought several copies of across three separate consoles. I'm not the only one that will be effected by this and that's the problem, almost everyone is going to suffer from it and as long as the new edition sells well and gets played it will keep happening. Red Dead Redemption 2 will inevitably see a similar re-release and it wouldn't surprise me if the same happened. It's more than just not being able to review convenience stores with friends, it's a ridiculously dedicated and active player base that's been cut into four lonely pieces.
Convenience Store #6: (I'm never ending this convenience store bit):
Maybe it's not that serious, maybe players should just get over it. Maybe. But I don't think so, I think when a company makes such incredible amounts of money out of a fan base the least they can do is keep that fan base together.
Convenience Store #7:
Will I keep playing GTA V? Sure, it would be crazy not to after having just paid money for the new edition (not that I did spend money on it but you get the point). That's another part of the problem though. It's obvious players aren't just going to suddenly drop a game that's been so huge for nearly ten years now, and that means that Rockstar and Taketwo will get away with it fully. I'm not suggesting that Rockstar employees are evil and I'm not suggesting that they're bad at making games, that would be wrong. What I am suggesting is that the video games industry stopped being run by people who are passionate about video games a very long time ago. The video game industry much like every industry is entirely run by people with far too much money who want more and they'll squeeze every last drop out of people that work hard to be able to afford their games.
Convenience Store #8:
It might seem like I'm being dramatic but remember the uproar when EA included microtransactions in Battlefront 2. The microtransactions in that game allowed you to unlock a hero or star card earlier if you spent money. Sure, it wasn't great but it also wasn't mandatory, you could very easily just unlock everything without spending money (despite wildly inaccurate Reddit posts at the time claiming that it took hundreds of hours). This isn't that though. This is Rockstar taking your money without telling you any of this up front. This is Rockstar knowing that some people like their game enough to buy a new edition and then banking on the fact that their friends will also buy it just to play together. Imagine the uproar if in Battlefront 2 you could buy Darth Vader but when you did it meant that you couldn't play with your friends until they did too.
Convenience Store #9:
It's a baffling decision. GTA V online has such an active community. It just makes no sense when it's something that could so easily just have not been a problem. And it's not like there's really a way out either, it won't change. To change it and add cross-play would be to admit wrongdoing and to admit that it always could have been done.
Convenience Store #10 (there are now as many convenience stores reviewed as there are Fast and Furious movies):
Grand Theft Auto V is great on the next-generation consoles but had I known how it would work I never would have bothered with it. But now I'm stuck with it. I can't just move my character back to the PS4 version, and trust me I would if I could, so I'm stuck on my own in a GTA server with no one I know and everyone's out to get me with Oppressor MK2s.
Ok I'm ending the convenience store bit, sorry.
If you've stayed through all that then thank you and maybe you'll enjoy being a member of Cloven Hoof (it's free just sign up). There will be an actual Grand Theft Auto V convenience store review at some point so don't worry. There is also a podcast on the way at the begining of April (check out the full info on that here) so there's literally never been a better time to sign