The latest GTA Online update was released earlier this week, and along with the usual new cars and new discounts, Rockstar has also added more contact missions, calling these new missions "Dispatches." These six new co-op missions are fast, fun, and to the point.
Dispatches are PVE missions that come courtesy of Martin Madrazo, a character who has been giving out missions in GTA Online since launch. They don't have any new voice acting or cutscenes. The in-universe explanation for this is that Madrazo knows you and trusts you will take care of these jobs quickly, without the need for pesky phone calls or in-person meetings.
The lack of phones calls and cutscenes actually works well. After playing GTA Online for years, I've seen and heard nearly every cutscene and phone call hundreds of times. Skipping that stuff streamlines the experience and makes grinding these new missions less tedious than older contact missions. Overall, these new missions feel like Rockstar has taken years of fan feedback into account.
Each mission starts at Madrazo's home or ranch. You start the mission, get a text and speed off towards your objective. Many of the missions revolve around killing a target, a simple objective that also means players don't have to pick up drugs or cash and drive back somewhere.
Some of the new missions give players different options. One mission involves players assaulting a police station and killing a prisoner. You can escape via the roof or fight your way back out to the street and leave via your car. This variety makes the missions more fun to replay, but the choices are also simple enough that they never cause confusion when playing with random players.
If three people leave via the street, but someone leaves using the roof and helicopter, the mission isn't failed, assuming everyone still escapes the police.
Once you kill your target, you'll probably have police on you. Thankfully, once you and your team have escaped the police the mission ends immediately. Older missions would force players to both escape the police and then drive somewhere to finish, which could mean spending a decent chunk of time driving to a objective just to end the mission. Without this requirement, the new Dispatch missions feel more exciting.
At one point, after killing a target found in a Merryweather base, I escaped with another player in my car.
We dodged and hid in a parking lot, but police cars were heading our way. We didn't have anywhere to go, so we stayed in our spot. The moment our wanted level vanished, the mission ended. It was a tense experience that couldn't happen in older missions. Instead, we would have awkwardly driven by the police cars we were just hiding from.
Unfortunately for solo players, these new missions are co-op only, requiring at least one other player. Playing with randos is always a crapshoot. Sometimes I was paired up with players who were great; other times I was matched up with players who didn't even play or killed me during the mission. It's disappointing that Rockstar is forcing fans to play these missions with other players, especially since the old contact missions are some of the best solo PVE activities in GTA Online.
Hopefully these new Madrazo missions aren't a special one-off surprise, but instead signal the type of content updates GTA Online will be receiving in the future. PVE content in GTA Online is still some of my favourite, and I would love to see more of these fun and streamlined missions added in future updates. And maybe give solo players the option to play alone too.