What we thought of GTA Online: The Cayo Perico Heist


So you finally find out what all the hammering noises were about in the Casino, and turns out it's a new dance club called the Music Locker, owned by Martin Madrazo's son Miguel. He and English Dave hatch a plan to steal some mysterious "goods" from druglord El Rubio's island, and it just so happens he's throwing a beach party for the Los Santos' rich party animals. Legendary record producer Dr. Dre is supposed to be attending the party but pulls out as he got a better offer, and his replacement is Scott Storch, another real-life record producer. I'm sure Storch will gain a lot of fame from this virtual appearance, but in real life, he's most famous for blowing a hundred million dollar fortune on wild parties, drugs, fast cars and faster women (apparently he wasted the rest.)

A screenshot of our character driving a speedboat, probably recklessly.

You're going to need to buy a Kosatka submarine (which will cost you a minimum of $2.2 million rising to just over $9 million with all the extras) in order to run the Cayo Perico heist, and once you've done that and met your new 'Lester,' a mad Russian named Pavel (who runs the sub and keeps you updated) you can start the heist proper. Once you arrive in Cayo Perico the game wants you to scope the primary target first, as well as all El Rubio's cash, art and gold that are spread around his heavily-guarded compound (by hacking the security camera feed rather than infiltrating the compound). Fortunately you can sneak all over the island and explore first if you want; spotting various stashes of cash, weed, cocaine and other useful items along the way. You can then send photos to Pavel to make note of for the heist (which places their location on the map for the duration of that particular heist.)

Okay let's cut to the chase. The worst things about the Cayo Perico heist are the same old problems that all GTA Online players nearly always experience when playing PVE. Headshots aren't always fatal and sometimes just knock enemies down. I'm not sure if this is because of poor collision detection, or latency, or Rockstar nerfing weapons to silly levels again. The basic sniper rifle still lacks the ability to kill many enemies with a single head shot, so I'm leaning toward the latter. The other main thing is that the game is showing its age, and was never intended to be a stealth-oriented game, and a combination of enemies that can see through solid cover and the same old dodgy cover mode all add to the difficulty.

A close-up shot of our character.

As always with any new GTA V DLC there are a few annoying bugs and glitches, and when scoping out the island as an unarmed tourist these problems can be frustrating. Get discovered 5–8 times and you'll get kicked off the island and wash up on Vespucci beach. You can return almost immediately but the lengthy cut scenes (that presumably hide some loading) are a pain in the neck.

Although in my opinion it's a must-buy for any serious GTA player, the Kosatka submarine itself also has a few teething problems. The auto pilot is basically just a 'depth hold' and doesn't really 'pilot' the sub at all. The Kosatka's return options aren't always available and sometimes you'll be told that "your Kosatka has surfaced nearby" when it HASN'T.  But the Kosatka brings a lot more useful things and fun toys to the game than GTA V's expensive white elephants, the Galaxy Super Yachts.

A screenshot of a helicopter approaching a submarine.

Approach Vehicles

Once you've scoped the island (even if not completely) you can start the prep missions. You'll obviously have to source (steal) an approach vehicle, and these range from the Kosatka submarine, the RO-86 Alkonost stealth bomber/transport plane, the Velum (a light aircraft), the Annihilator Stealth helicopter, the Kurtz 31 armed Patrol Boat, or the Longfin speedboat (the aircraft also require a second mission or acquire a pilot.)


There are also five equipment prep missions, although you only have to complete three; the Safe Code (only required if the primary target is in the safe), the Plasma Cutter (only required if the primary target is in a glass display case), the Fingerprint Cloner, the Cutting Torch (which isn't available until you scope the drainage tunnel and is always optional for any approach other than the drainage tunnel.) And finally the Demolition Charges, which you'll only need if you decide on a full-frontal, loud approach and want to blow the compound's front gates down. The explosives can also be used to open gates to stores if you didn't find any bolt cutters or steal a cutting torch.

Weapon Loadout

Five very different weapon loadouts are available for the player to choose for the finale, and all of them either require that you either steal them from a heavily-guarded Merryweather Avenger (after tailing a painfully slow helicopter to its location), or raiding an armed gang's office–which is much quicker and easier. You'd be wise to remember suppressors for the weapons, but they are optional if you're no good at stealth.

A screenshot of a stealth jet flying at high altitude over the island of Cayo Perico.

Cayo Perico Hard Mode

Once you've completed the heist there will be a short cooldown period and then you can start scoping out the island again and doing the setup missions. If you restart the heist within one Los Santos day (48 minutes realtime) you will be warned that you will be playing it on 'hard mode'.

There are only a few differences between hard and normal and they are similar to the difficulty hike when playing the Diamond Casino heist on hard mode:

  1. You start with 0 extra lives
  2. 10% increase in primary target payout
  3. 1 extra set of fingerprints to hack when hacking doors and elevators
  4. A slight increase in enemy patrols

So what has the Cayo Perico heist added to GTA V Online apart from a beautiful new location? Well for a start it's the first heist that you can play solo from start to finish, so if you're a 'Billy No-Mates', have no friends available or are just feeling antisocial then, unlike all off the other heists, Cayo Perico is still an option. Some players who are stuck in their ways will no doubt ignore it, because of the stealth element some people will hate it, but most of the GTA community will play it to death, master it and earn a fortune from it!