GTA Online’s newest game modes might seem familiar. That’s because Rockstar has recently begun remixing old modes by adding new vehicles, rules or other features. While this isn’t the first time Rockstar has taken something old and added to it, these new remix modes freshen up GTA Online by drawing on what works best about the game.
Four remixed modes have been added since August: Hunting Pack, Running Back, Sumo and Trading Spaces. I jumped into GTA Online to try my hand at each one.
The best of the new modes is easily Sumo (Remix). The original Sumo is one of the earliest adversary modes added to GTA Online. It was a simple mode where a small group of players ram each other in cars and try to push everyone else off of a building. The remixed version of Sumo changes things up in some big ways. There are now teams of players, meaning a lot more people to ram and dodge. The mode now takes place on a giant platform, where players can find ramps, missing sections and other obstacles. Every 30 seconds or so a safe zone spawns on the platform and both teams rush over to it. A timer counts down, and if a player is outside the zone they blow up. Last team standing wins.
While I really loved how fun the original Sumo mode was when I wanted to shake things up with friends, it could get boring after a few rounds. Sumo (Remix) changes all of that. Now you can play it with more people, and there are a lot of different ways to win or lose. Some matches I play more aggressively while other teammates play as anchors, quickly getting into the safe zone and staying in there. Other times I try to block players with my car, creating a giant ball of (hopefully) unmovable steel and glass. I ended up playing Sumo (Remix) the most of all the new modes and enjoying every match.
Back in the day, my friends and I played a lot of Hunting Pack. The original mode was a fast and exciting asymmetrical mode with two teams. One team is made up of a runner and defenders. The defenders try to protect the runner, who is driving a bigger and slower vehicle. If the runner slows down too much for too long they explode, and their team loses the round. Trying to stop the runner are the hunters. They drive fast cars and have to spin out, flip or wedge the runner’s vehicle long enough to make it explode.
The remixed mode uses the same rules, but it changes up the vehicles and location. The original Hunting Pack was played in the streets of Los Santos. This made it a great mode for players who knew the city well, and it also meant every match was different. Some runners would try to take alleyways, while others would stick to highways. Hunting Pack (Remix) is set in different custom tracks, such as a long and winding course filled with obstacles. These tracks work well, but since their obstacles are always in the same place, they can get stale. Eventually runners avoid certain areas or hunters wait to strike at certain obstacles. It’s still fun to play, but I prefer the more open and random chaos of the original mode.
Running Back doesn’t just sound like Hunting Pack, it also has a lot in common with that mode. (As you can tell by the name, it’s inspired by American football.) Two teams face each other on locked-off, straight roads and bridges. One team has a small compact car, the runner, that must reach the other team’s endzone. If the runner’s car crosses into its own endzone it blows up. Teams take turns trying to get to each other’s endzones, and the first team to score a certain number of points wins. Where Hunting Pack is a fast-paced chase, Running Back is slower and more brutal.
The new Running Back (Remix) is basically that same mode with a two tiny changes. Players on both teams use much faster supercars, though runners are still stuck with compact cars. The other change is that Rockstar has created new arenas for the mode. These new areas are mostly long, straight corridors, like the original, though they are brighter and less cluttered. The new arenas make it easier to see what’s going on but don’t make this remix feel much different than the original. I was never a huge Running Back fan, but for those players who enjoyed the mode, this remix is more of the same but with supercars.
Trading Places (Remix) has the opposite problem of Running Back (Remix). Where the remix of Running Back feels like it barely changes anything, Trading Places (Remix) feels like it changes the core gameplay entirely. The original Trading Places was focused on two teams who used basic weapons to kill each other. The main goal was to kill a member of the “Winners” team and become a winner. Stay on the winning team long enough and you win. The losers can kill winners and trade places (get it?) to become winners themselves. It was a weird mode to explain to people, and the community didn’t really like it much either, thus its low ratings on the Rockstar Social Club.
In theory, a remix of Trading Places is a great idea. But Trading Places (Remix) changes the game mode into something entirely different that isn’t any better, and may even be worse. Players are still trying to kill one team to change places, but the winners are now heavily-armored juggernauts with mini-guns, and the losers are now super-jumping creatures that look like werewolves. The idea is that the beasts are fast but fragile and the juggernauts are slow but strong. The reality is that a group of fast beasts can easily destroy a group of slow juggernauts, mainly because GTA Online’s melee combat is awful. Once a beast starts pounding on a juggernaut, they get killed within seconds. Add a little lag and players quitting early into the mix, and you have a mode that isn’t much fun.
While not all of these new remixed modes are winners, I’m excited for more remixing and experimenting. I’d love to see Rockstar dig into older modes that feel too simple today or were never loved by the community and figure out how to make them better. I’d love to see beloved modes like Hasta La Vista or Top Fun remixed with new weapons, rules and abilities. It could be a great way to keep GTA Online fresh without needing to create entirely new content. New remixes could also be an excuse to retire less popular modes like Trading Places or Tiny Racers from the game.
If you want to give any of these remix modes a try, Rockstar is doing a double rewards event for all remix modes through October 15. You can have some fun with these new modes and make some extra cash too.
Zack Zwiezen is a a writer living in Kansas City, Missouri. He has written for Gamecritics, Killscreen and Entertainment Fuse.