Is GTA Online's Criminal Enterprise Starter Pack worth $40?

Next month, Grand Theft Auto 5 celebrates its third birthday on PC. And yet, despite its age, the open world crime simulator attracted record player numbers last year—driven by GTA Online's Doomsday Heist, which launched on December 12, 2017. Two days later, Rockstar rolled out the Criminal Enterprise Starter Pack. 

Promising new players a leg up in Los Santos for £40/$40, I picked up the multiplayer welcome bundle and raised a single profile from level 16 to 85 in just short of five weeks. I maxed out my character's skill stats and earned a small fortune along the way, but sunk dozens of hours into the game during this time. 

Is the Criminal Enterprise Starter Pack worth your money, then? Or would grinding free-of-charge, or picking up select Shark Cash Cards yield the same (or better) results? As you might expect, that depends on how you approach GTA Online. Let's take a closer look.

What do you get? 

Rockstar bills the Criminal Enterprise Starter Pack as follows: 

The Criminal Enterprise Starter Pack is the fastest way for new Grand Theft Auto Online players to jumpstart their criminal empires. Do not purchase if you already own the Criminal Enterprise Starter Pack.

Get access to a huge range of the most exciting and popular content in GTA Online including properties, businesses, weapons, vehicles and more—all content valued at over GTA$10,000,000 if purchased separately.

Launch business ventures from your Maze Bank West Executive Office, research powerful weapons technology from your underground Paleto Forest Bunker or tear through the streets with a range of vehicles, including a Supercar, Motorcycles the weaponized Dune FAV and more. 

A smallprint disclaimer however adds: "A copy of Grand Theft Auto V is required to play and the content is only accessible in GTA Online. Content, including vehicles, will be marked FREE in-game, and has no trade-in value."

The Starter Pack's collection of vehicles, properties, weapons and cosmetics includes:

Property

  • Maze Bank West Executive Office.
  • Paleto Forest Gunrunning Bunker.
  • Senora Desert Counterfeit Cash Factory.
  • Great Chaparral Biker Clubhouse.
  • 1561 San Vitas Street Apartment.
  • 1337 Exceptionalists Way 10 Car Garage. 

Vehicles

  • Dune FAV.
  • Maibatsu Frogger.
  • Enus Windsor.
  • Obey Omnis.
  • Coquette Classic.
  • Grotti Turismo R.
  • Pegassi Vortex.
  • Huntley S.
  • Western Zombie Chopper.
  • Banshee.

Weapons, Clothing and Tattoos

  • Compact Grenade Launcher.
  • Marksman Rifle.
  • Compact Rifle.
  • Stunt Race and Import/Export Outfits.
  • Biker Tattoos.

Money

  •  GTA$1,000,000. 

The property 

In GTA Online, you need property to make real money. Whether you're working alone or playing with friends, becoming a VIP or CEO of an Organization and buying and selling Special Cargo and/or vehicles is a good way to generate cash and RP quickly. 

Maze Bank West is a centrally-located Executive Office that otherwise costs $1,000,000 and is the gem of the Starter Pack's crown. It's the base I still operate from today, and the main method I used to level up so quickly. And while there are other, better-situated and more customisable properties on the market, this is as good as any and saves you splashing out. You will however need a warehouse to store your illicit goods—which can be covered by your $1,000,000 bonus. 

I do wish the Starter Pack came with a cheap warehouse, but you can pick up a 16-crate-storing Convenience Store Lockup in Rancho for $250,000. I've since graduated to the more centrally-located 42-crate Fridgit Annexe in La Puerta in that regard, which set me back $925,000. 111-crate-storing units are priced between $1.9 million and $3.5 million, but they're only worthwhile if you play with pals on a regular basis.

Gunrunning is another feasible money-making route in GTA Online, but the Paleto Forest Bunker isn't a great spot, in my opinion. Otherwise priced $1,165,000, Paleto Forest is located northwest of Mount Chiliad and, besides being positioned next to the highway, is a bit of a nightmare to get to and from. This is particularly troublesome if you're interested in stealing supplies—as opposed to buying them—as you're often forced to travel the length of the map against a timer. Likewise, resupply/selling runs (besides Merryweather missions) are capped at 15 minutes and can feel difficult to complete from here.

The Senora Desert Counterfeit Cash Factory is worth $845,000 and is a good money-earner. Located in Sandy Shores, drop offs are tied almost exclusively to the city—which means driving on paved roads across shorter distances, as opposed to the reverse if you opt to set up shop in-town.   

The Great Chaparral Biker Clubhouse is the cheapest clubhouse in the game at $200,000, but it boasts a great location. It's a shame the Starter Pack doesn't include cocaine or meth businesses to compliment your MC, but the option to run your own motorcycle club is a good addition nevertheless. 

Less impressive are the Starter Pack's remaining properties: 1561 San Vitas Street Apartment ($99,000) and 1337 Exceptionalists Way 10 Car Garage ($112,500). After a cursory visit post-purchase, I haven't returned to either as they are almost useless besides allocating vehicle slots. 

In order to initiate heists—some of GTA Online's most lucrative ventures—you require a high-end, heist board-supporting pad. 1561 San Vitas is neither high-end, nor does it support heists. I've since splashed for the 10-car-garaged 3 Alta Street apartment 10 for $223,000. Which also means I have no use for 1337 Exceptionalists Way. Unless you're a collector, I'd advise against buying car garages entirely. 

The total in-game value of all of the above is $3,421,500.

The vehicles 

The Starter Pack's vehicles are a mixed bag. Some of these rides have been integral to my success. Others I've driven once and stored indefinitely. And some I've decided against claiming at all. 

The Maibatsu Frogger helicopter ($1,300,000), for example, falls into the former category. Not only does it help cover the map quicker, it's durable and allows players to boost their flying skill stat from the off. Unlike other choppers, its back rotor cannot be sniped and thus can't be disabled from the ground which proves handy during airborne attacks. I've since moved on to a gun/missile-holstering Buzzard Attack Chopper ($1,750,000)—but the Frogger is great for beginners. 

Both the Turismo R ($500,000) and the Banshee ($105,000) are solid cars. The former hits between 125-140 at max speed but has incredible handling. With a tweaked engine, brakes and armour, I've found the Turismo R to be one of the most reliable cars in the game without parting with an inordinate amount of cash. The Banshee is nothing extraordinary, but it's admittedly my favourite car in the Grand Theft Auto series (I include the first game's Beast GTS in this bracket). Tell me the pink number above isn't a beauty. With decent speed and handling, both of these cars can help increase driving skill stats from the outset, too. 

At $1,130,500, the Dune FAV is a great fast-attack buggy that combines a driver and a gunner to great effect. I'd question the FAV's worth over my latterly-purchased Buzzard, but this is likely a matter a taste. If you're into motorbikes, the Pegassi Vortex ($356,000) is a decent all-rounder, while the Western Zombie Chopper ($122,000) will help you look the part at the head of an MC.

Personal preference undoubtedly plays an important role here, but I've found little use for rest of the Starter Pack's vehicle ensemble.

The total in-game value of the Starter Pack's cars (full list at top of page) is $5,919,500.

The weapons and cosmetics 

Despite GTA's scope for chaos, I'm a big fan of picking people off at a distance. As such, my most prolific one-two punch comes from a Sniper Rifle ($20,000), and scoped and silenced Special Carbine ($14,750). The Starter Pack's Marksman Rifle (otherwise $15,750) satisfies this playstyle to an extent, but I've found its Compact Rifle (otherwise $14,650) to be a bit lightweight in offence with temperamental recoil.  

I did, however, find the Compact Grenade Launcher (otherwise $45,000) particularly valuable when starting out as a CEO. Missions that required laying waste to multiple enemies in vehicles became far easier, however I've since graduated to the Homing Launcher ($75,000) for the purpose of taking down hostile choppers. 

Cosmetics are cool, and the Starter Pack's tattoo selection is neat. But, again, the value of these will depend on what you're into on a superficial level. 

All told, the in-game value of the Starter Pack's weapons and cosmetics is $75,500+.

The money 

$1,000,000 pocket money is good, but, as outlined above, it can be spent pretty quickly in GTA Online.

So, is it worth it? 

As Rockstar outlines in its blurb, the contents of the Criminal Enterprise Starter Pack are "valued at over GTA$10,000,000 if purchased separately." This is true, however, as I've discussed above, I'm not convinced you'll need every item/vehicle/property to improve your GTA Online experience. 

Let's gather the Starter Pack's purchases that are worth your time:

  • Maze Bank West.
  • Senora Desert Counterfeit Cash Factory.
  • Great Chaparral Biker Clubhouse.
  • Maibatsu Frogger.
  • Turismo R.
  • Banshee.
  • Dune FAV.
  • Pegassi Vortex.
  • Western Zombie Chopper.
  • Compact Grenade Launcher.

Total value: $5,603,500.

Grinding out this haul free-of-charge will take new players some time—particularly when factoring in Vehicle and/or Special Cargo warehouses and/or coke and meth businesses. Access to an office from the outset has been real handy for me, as far as earning potential and RP accumulation are concerned, and while the Starter Pack is hardly likely to intrigue long-serving players, it is definitely a handy leg-up for new faces. 

You could of course mix-and-match paid-for Shark Cash Cards and go after exactly what you want—skipping some of the dead weight the Starter Pack houses in the process. At $1,250,000, you could own both Maze Bank West and the Rancho Convenience Store Lockup and go from there. Doing so with a Great White Shark Card would set you back $11.99/$19.99, which is a sure sight shy of the Starter Pack's £40/$40 ask. 

But if you're short on time and are happy with the price, I nevertheless think the Starter Pack is worthwhile. It's perfect for players who're after a point of entry into GTA Online without breaking the bank. To ascertain the above $5.6 million figure by way of Shark Cards, you're looking at a combination that far exceeds the Starter Pack's value. 

From a personal standpoint, I've jumped almost 70 levels in just over a month since purchasing GTA Online's Criminal Enterprise Starter Pack. I'm not convinced I'd have risen this quickly without its help, and, starting out, it helped me feel more at home in an already well-established world. It's undoubtedly missing some crucial features—features which will cost you time and/or real world money—but I still think it's worth it for new players.

Looking to make cash in GTA Online without spending real money? Check out our comprehensive guide