Nearly five years, several billion dollars in sales, and 30 content updates later, the sun is seemingly finally setting on Rockstar Games’ open-world crime thriller, Grand Theft Auto V. With Red Dead Redemption 2 just three months away from launching, Rockstar has dropped one last (or one of the last) substantial content update for GTA V.
The update known as After Hours is particularly appropriate with the fact that it comes full circle back to 2010’s Ballad of Gay Tony expansion, the finale of GTA IV. Now as we appear to be tucking GTA V in for bed, Tony Prince, aka Gay Tony, has made his way from Liberty City to Los Santos in hopes of expanding the nightclub scene for the city.
Tony comes to you for help in funding and running the operation which requires you to buy a property, deck it out with fancy lighting rigs, dancers, and much more. On top of raking in dough from the patrons grinding their coked out bodies against each other, you can use the club as a front for your less savory businesses.
Beneath the club, you have storage rooms for all sorts of illicit goods that your hired technicians gather up for you based on whatever businesses you’ve invested in already as a CEO or MC leader (cargo, cocaine, meth, gun running, etc). From here, it’ll all piles up in one place where you can watch it grow in value until you’re ready to sell. Each club comes with a complimentary van which you can keep as a standard, not-so-suspicious van or you can upgrade it to look like something straight out of Mad Max with mounted mini-guns and extreme armor plating.
When you sell, all of your goods are put into the van and you drive it to the destination. If you’ve got the cash, you’ll be able to ensure no one comes and tries to destroy your precious cargo with your ridiculous van fit for a doomsday prepper. While you’re doing that, the safe in your club office will accumulate money from customers which varies depending on your club’s popularity.
The club’s popularity rises and declines depending on how much you care for it. This is probably my least favorite part of the update because it feels a bit lifeless when you make a strong effort to make your club popular. In order to do so, you’ll have to do club promotion missions which involve things like driving around Los Santos for 5 – 10 minutes, getting out of your car about 10 times, and putting posters up on walls.
Other missions see you picking up random NPCs in a limo and driving them to the club, flying a blimp over key landmarks and playing a generic looped EDM track, and so on. It’s VERY tedious and really boring, there’s no action to it, there’s nothing very engaging about it. It would be far more fun if these missions had you sabotaging other clubs (whether they’re player operated or not) in order to drive business away from competitors and towards your club.
Perhaps my favorite thing outside of the more cohesive business management is the activities within the club. You can get on the dance floor and show off your moves by pressing the buttons to the beat similar to how it worked in The Ballad of Gay Tony (although you can’t specifically dance with a guy or gal and seduce them with your dancing like in TBoGT), you can pop $150,000 champagne and spray it all over your friends, and you can find infamous radio DJ Lazlow usually doing some really bizarre stuff around the club.
It’s lots of fun and surprisingly, Rockstar has made everything pretty easily accessible in this new GTA V update. If you’re super poor, you can go engage in the nightclub activities at any of the clubs other players own simply by walking through the door and paying the entry fee which can range from free to $100. The nightclub properties are also fairly cheap in comparison to previously released content, so they’ve definitely heard your cries about the extreme economic inflation in Los Santos.
Rockstar will also be drip-feeding more additions to the After Hours update over the coming weeks with a new radio station and more acclaimed DJs to use in your club.
All in all, if this is Grand Theft Auto V’s last hurrah, After Hours is a fitting close even with a few boring missions. It allows us all to dance the night away as we await whatever Rockstar is holding for us in the land of the wild, wild west this October. After all these years, Rockstar’s continued support for GTA V leaves me feeling nothing but excitement for whatever they have planned for Red Dead Redemption 2’s online mode.