GTA Online's latest update adds "Transform Races" where players compete on tracks with checkpoints that instantly transform vehicles into something new. For example: one moment you're racing around on a motorcycle, only to hit a checkpoint where you will soar away in a fighter jet. The mode incorporates everything from boats to helicopters, and it's a great fit for GTA Online.
The variety of vehicles in Transform Races makes the whole thing feel dynamic. Players have to quickly shift from one form of control to another, all while racing at top speed against other people. It's built to test your skills across various modes of transportation. Successfully finishing these races feels great, because you have to use all your GTA Online experience in one go.
Vehicle switching often felt like the game was throwing a wrench at you, because you don't always know what's coming up. In one race I experienced, I watched a high level player dominate the motorcycle and super car portions of the race, only to crash and burn instantly when the race changed into a claustrophobic aeroplane segment.
Rockstar has also created a diverse set of tracks for this new mode. Some are fairly standard courses, complete with tunnels and jumps, but other tracks go all out with vehicle types. One of my favourite races has players drive up a long concrete straightaway in massive semi-trucks and then turn around and drive all the way back while riding small bicycles. So if you're in the lead during this race, the players behind you suddenly all become massive obstacles. It's fantastic.
While I'm enjoying these new races, my biggest gripe with them is length -- some races can last over 10 minutes long. Nearly every race I was a part of had people leaving before the race was over.
GTA Online constantly has updates focused on racing, but the latest addition still feels different and exciting. Turns out, switching vehicles multiple times during a race is a strong idea. I just hope that if Rockstar makes more tracks for this mode, they will be shorter ones.
Zach Zwiezen is a a writer living in Kansas City, Missouri. He has written for Gamecritics, Killscreen and Entertainment Fuse.