The Epic Games Store is offering Grand Theft Auto V for free for a limited time and there was so much interest in the latest freebie, that the store was shut down for almost a full 24 hours due to server overload. Now that everything is back up and running, the streets of Los Santos are once again full, but the GTA Online cheaters are definitely out to play and their numbers have grown dramatically. 

Cheating in online games is nothing new. From aim bots, to God Mode, to fun "cheats" designed to just make the game even weirder. Regardless, there are numerous cheaters out there that play to compensate for not being good or to save time and unfortunately, in an online environment that makes the gameplay worse for everyone. With so many new players picking up Grand Theft Auto V on PC thanks to Epic Games, the number of players wasn't the only thing to go up: the cheaters have reached astronomical levels. 

Team Prima recently picked up the game again to refresh our guides with all the new players, guides that you can find here, and while it's been about a year since I've joined this particular online fray, it was Not Good. As mentioned, cheaters are to be expected, but there were numerous times where it felt like myself and friends were the only ones not cheating, which was weird. 

Related: Aliens are invading GTA Online ... sorta 

The interesting thing about Grand Theft Auto Online is that it allows for modding, which isn't the most common in online environments, and that modding can be super speed, more money, etc. It can also mean the aforementioned God Mode and other features that make going toe-to-toe with these players unbearable. 

When trying to capture footage, I ended up breaking my mouse from slamming so hard out of frustration, something I haven't done since my Dark Souls days, and it got me thinking: am I just having bad luck, or is this a bigger problem. That's when I took to social media and saw the Reddit boards alight with others reporting the same major spike, showing that it's not localized and that with great power (crowds) comes great responsibility (cheaters). It's a thing. And not a good thing. 

For better or worse, cheaters aren't going away in really any game despite efforts, but it looks like GTA Online will remain the environment it has always maintained: an unregulated online experience where modders aren't really modders in a traditional sense, and cheaters are just expected. And that's why my time here won't last long. We're doing it for Prima, you're welcome. 

As for the game itself, Grand Theft Auto V and its GTA Online counterpart is available now, for free, through the Epic Games Store. Enjoy.