The Doomsday heist DLC introduced us to a lot of militarized stuff such as the Akula, Thruster and Avenger. But before you can get most of these you need to own a Facility first, and these toys don't come cheap! A fully customized Facility + Avenger set me back an easy 10 million GTA$. So I figured I'd share my experiences with you guys, hopefully it can help you decide if this is worth it to you.
Other GTA Guides:
- 100% Completion Guide!
- Beginner's Guide (GTA Online).
- Advanced Nightclub Guide.
- Advanced Guide for MC Business.
- Advanced Smuggler's Run Guide.
- How to Make Easy Money Everyday (Solo Guide).
- Mobile Operations Center (MOC) Guide.
- How to Use Mods?
- Guide to Combat Aircraft.
- Terrorbyte Guide.
So yeah, after grinding for most of the week I decided that enough is enough and that I should focus on having some fun for a change. Although I originally planned to wait and see what discounts we might get next week (if any) I changed my mind and bought my most expensive toys so far with no discounts anyway: a fully customized Facility and ditto Avenger.
Spoiler alert: this stuff can be seriously fun, however, I also think it's fair to say that I may have been hoping for a little bit more. If you're mostly a solo player like I am then you might want to carefully consider your options before grabbing all this yourself. And guess what? This guide can (hopefully) help you with that! :)
But I will say this: although this stuff is insanely expensive I also think it's pretty awesome as well!
Prepare for a long(er) read because this review will cover both the Facility and the Avenger. Simply because my original goal was to own an Avenger and before you can get one you'll have to buy a Facility too. So I figured I might as well combine all this into one big review. Let's get militarized ;)
The Facility: The Biggest Property Ever?
This is the fully zoomed out map :)
The Facility, just like the bunker, is an underground complex where you can store some special vehicles and (optionally) customize weaponized personal vehicles, provided that you have an Avenger which has a vehicle workshop. But that's also pretty much the only similarity between those properties.
This place is huge and it's easy to get a little overwhelmed at first. But let's start with the beginning....
Buying yourself a facility
A Facility isn't cheap, prepare to spend a solid 5+ million if you plan on customizing it and getting all the optionally available extras (orbital cannon, security room, living quarters and the lounge). The price of the Facility itself varies between 1,2 million right up to 2,9 ("3 million") depending on its location.
The orbital cannon will set you back nearly another million (900,000 GTA$), the price of the sleeping quarters depends on the chosen style (roughly between 150 to 300 thousand GTA$) and the same applies to the lounge (185 to roughly 250 thousand). The lounge will cost you an additional 95,000 if you also add "privacy glass"; this allows you to darken the glass that's surrounding it. Not really useful but IMO still fun to have, especially if you're a bit into roleplay.
When you enter the Facility you'll see a cutscene in which you decent using an elevator platform and eventually you'll enter the main hangar, as shown above. Here your Avenger will be stored (if you have one) and this area also allows you to store up to 6 personal vehicles (on the platform behind the Avenger).
As you can clearly see this area is really big, it's pretty insane (in a good way!) if you ask me ;)
The yellow cone is used to exit the facility and behind the Avenger (ground level) you'll find the workshop which is used to customize it. Of course that's not where you use this: you need to enter the cockpit of the Avenger, press a key to access the workshop and then you can fully customize & tweak several options (but we'll get into that later). What is more interesting in that area is the blue cone which you can also find there, this allows you to customize the sequence of your personal vehicles on the ramp (if you have any of course).
I figured I'd get myself an Insurgent for some extra insurgence ;)
Now, these vehicles aren't merely placed there for show; when entered you can access the Avenger with them (provided that you have a vehicle workshop in there) so that you can use the customize options, and more.... But we'll talk about that later as well ;)
The hallway and reception
Although you did buy the Facility it seems you don't fully own it; there is a lot of IAA personnel walking around and if you listen closely you'll hear several broadcasts which mention things that are not accessible to you. Sometimes you can hear the announcer talk about areas which have been placed in lockdown, yet there are no visible signs or markers which indicate that those areas are actually part of the Facility.
And well, some of these IAA agents can be real jerks!
"No, I will not take off any more clothes just because your gizmo keeps beeping!"
After you passed the security portal (which always beeps when you go through) you'll enter the main hallway where you'll find the receptionists desk as well as access to the security room and sleeping quarters (provided that you bought those options of course).
Also notice the huge crew logo's; these can be turned on or off as you like...
Behind the receptionist area you'll find the main offices. Nothing really happens there, but there is a vending machine where you can buy some drinks for $1 (same as with some stores and Ammunations).
What I really admire about the Facility is that R* has made this a lot more honest than the other properties. Meaning?
Here you see the entrance to my personal quarters. If you didn't buy this option then all you'd see here is a solid wall. Sure, your mini map will indicate that there's something behind that wall, but even if you'd try to walk up to it you won't get those nagging messages which tell you that you can't access that area because you first need to purchase some extra option.
I think that's a lot better than what you get in the CEO office and other properties such as the bunker. Of course we paid a hefty price for all this, so we should be able to expect some bit of service, but this is still R* we're talking about and they are known to try and shove features down our throats whether we like it or not.
The orbital cannon controls...
Here you see a big table containing a map of the entire state of San Andreas. You can use this to spy on players (though you won't be able to see their names it seems, but I could be overlooking an option) and of course fire the dreaded orbital cannon to completely obliterate one or more players.
If you leave this room you'll find the corridor which goes across the office section and into the main heist room:
This is where the main Doomsday heist cutscene will start as soon as you enter for the first time:
Oh Avon, such bad puns.... (facepalm).
And that leads up to the following section...
So What Can We 'Do' in The Facility?
In the previous chapter we were still in the planning room, so let's reverse our steps and work our way back to the main hangar.
The Doomsday heist
Considering that this is all part of the Doomsday heist DLC we can obviously start the Doomsday heist from the Facility. It I recall correctly it costs 65k (or 165k, I don't remember) to begin the first setup mission and I haven't made up my mind yet if I'm going to try this or not.
The orbital cannon
For the record: no, I haven't blasted anyone with this thing (yet?).
The only reason I bought this is because I wanted a 'complete' Facility, to be honest I doubt that I will often use it (if any time at all) even though I can probably easily cope with the costs. Maybe when a try-hard is bothering some of my friends, perhaps, we'll see.
Anyway, you can use the orbital cannon for more than just blasting people, as you can see above. It also allows you to use the satellite network to actually spy on other players. If you combine this with your regular map (to actually identify a player) then you can really see what they are up to, which I think is kinda cool. It's a lot faster than using your television!
The arrows are a bit hard to follow I think, but they work very nice. The brighter an arrow the closer the camera is to a player.
It costs 500k to shoot a player manually, and it takes 750k to simply pick a target and let the system handle the rest for you.
The security room
This room provides several features... It allows you to customize your weapons layout (same as the weapons locker in the CEO office and MC clubhouse), provides access to the security cameras throughout the facility and...
You can sent a mercenary team after another player. The lowest armament (pistols) is free, but if you really want someone dead then it might be a better idea to provide heavier weapons. I've actually used this option twice already; one time it was to help out a friend of mine (you know who you are ;)) who got harassed by some dumb try-hard. The perfect opportunity to try some of my new toys ;)
Now, I honestly don't know how much this differs from the Merryweather mercenaries, but I can say that I've had a 100% success rate with these guys so far. So... either these guys are really good or, also possible, the players I went after were really bad ;)
Another cool feature is that there are several weapons lying on the table here which you can pick up to get some free ammo. Across this room is another small desk where you'll find a minigun.
Here I'm next to the (darkened) lounge, you can see the offices (and vending machine) below...
Finally you can walk up to the secretary desk (there are two people behind it) to get free snacks or ask them to order one of your Pegasus vehicles. Although I do think it's a shame that they don't give you access to your personal vehicles (like your Office assistant can do) I also think it makes sense. This is a militarized facility after all, so it's all weaponized stuff from here on.
And.... accessing your Avenger
So yeah... back in the hangar you'll have access to the Avenger (if you own one of course), so it's time for Part II of my review; let's take a closer look at what this thing can do for us.
The Avenger Review
Above is the first time when I saw a real Avenger in-game, this was during a HHGO crew meet, and when I took a closer look at that thing I knew right away that I wanted to have one of my own. It didn't matter (too much) what it could or couldn't do because this thing has a huge coolness factor around it! I mean.. just look at it!
Buying an Avenger
It doesn't come cheap, but it will provide you with some serious firepower and customization options. Although it has the same functionality as the Mobile Operation Center ("MOC") there is still a big difference... The MOC allows you to customize its bays and to swap out different features. For example: you can have a living quarters or a command station. You can use 2 bays for a weapon & vehicle workshop or you can use both bays for individual features (which is what I did).
In the Avenger on the other hand you can only buy into 1 specific bay function, as you can see above. So either you buy yourself a turret or you don't. You get a vehicle workshop, or you don't. So it's basically all or nothing here.
But I highly recommend that you get all the available options if you can, because it'll be more than worth it! And don't worry about space... in the Terrorbyte you may get a bit of a "cramped up" feeling due to all the extra chairs and such, but the Avenger has room to spare, just see for yourself:
The weapons workshop is comparable to the one in the MOC and Terrorbyte; it allows you to upgrade several guns to their MkII variant as well as purchase specialized ammo for them (assuming that this is available to you, several options first need to be unlocked through bunker research).
Turret controls & passenger seats
The Avenger is a very expensive vehicle but as the turret controls will show you: you get what you pay for! If you bought the turret option then you'll have a front turret at your disposal, customizing the Avenger in the Facility will provide the option to add a top and rear turret as well, you can see their controls above. You also get 5 seats for any passengers to use during a flight. Of course that doesn't mean that you can only take 5 players with you, heck no. I haven't tried this myself, but I am convinced that you can transport the entire lobby with this thing if you wanted to.
What makes the turrets such a cool feature is that you can easily switch between all of them using a simple press of a button, provided that none of your friends are using any of course. And this allows you to have some really good fun ;)
Payback for all those vehicles you impounded LSPD!
Here I'm, uhm, "convincing" the LSPD to release my impounded vehicle free of charge, at least I'm trying to, and as you can see I have full control over all my "persuasive arguments". I'm using the rear turret to surprise some cops who are trying to sneak up on me and with a simple click I can switch to the top turret so that I can convince the approaching chopper pilots to stop ruining my paintjob ;)
Weapon locker & clothes section
And finally you can change your clothes and also customize your weapons layout. This really completes all the features of the Avenger in my opinion, making it a true strategic command center, apart from the fact that you don't have any SecuroServ access from here of course.
What about the vehicle workshop you ask?
This has some interesting "secrets" which I will address shortly ;)
Entering the cockpit of the Avenger from within the Facility allows you to customize its features using the Facility vehicle workshop, as shown above. You can apply extra armor, a more powerful engine, setting up how easy (or hard) controlling the Avenger needs to be and of course you can add some extra weapons (like the extra turrets which I already mentioned earlier).
Although this is obviously not free it's actually not too expensive to set this whole thing up. In my opinion that is ;)
The Avenger interaction menu
Just like with the other two special vehicles (Mobile Operations Center & Terrorbyte) you can use the interaction menu to request your Avenger (or to sent it away). But what I really like about the Avenger is that it will most likely be placed relatively close by near you, you can see an example above. I've been in several public lobbies already to see what this thing could do and if it could keep me safe, and almost every time when I called for it I had little problems reaching it which I think is a huge pro in comparison to the other two vehicles.
The menu can also be used to put your Avenger on auto pilot so that you can hop back into its main area to work on some other stuff, for example telling the LSPD to go take a hike (notice the police helicopter in the background?).
And What Can We 'Do' with The Avenger?
I know that I've already mentioned several examples above, so I won't get into those topics again, but there are some specific features which I wanted to share in a section of its own. Because this thing is seriously versatile.
Remember how I mentioned that you could access the Avengers vehicle workshop from within the Facility by simply entering a personal vehicle and then selecting this option? Well, there's more to that feature than I already told you.
The cool part is that although the vehicle workshop is not a real storage space for your vehicles it can be (temporarily) used as such! This is why it makes more sense not to store any regular cars in your Facility but only weaponized vehicles. So: just hop into the Avenger using any of the six vehicles you can store in your Facility, exit the vehicle and then enter the Avengers cockpit to take off with the vehicle still in the back.
Then all you have to do is go find a suitable place to land and you or a friend can then quickly exit using the vehicle. Heck, I even (accidentally) tried to exit the Avenger while I was hovering above a street and much to my surprise my vehicle perfectly survived the fall and was ready for action!
Seriously, this is what makes the Avenger such a deadly force.... it has good armor, powerful weapons and the option to bring a weaponized vehicle with it. If you bring some friends to operate some of the turrets and the vehicle in the back then I don't think there will be much stopping you.
And if someone still tries? Well....
Then you bomb the living daylights out of 'm ;)
Next to some powerful turrets the Avenger also has a bombing bay, which allows you to stock up to 50 bombs that can be either dropped individually or in groups of 5 to do a carpet bombing run. The only problem I have with this option is that it's not very obvious where the bombs will drop because there is no aiming indicator or anything. But despite that this is still a very powerful feature.
Don't mess with the Avenger ;)
And finally the cockpit also looks quite good in first person mode. I wouldn't try to fly this thing like that, but who knows... it could be an interesting challenge I suppose :)
The Facility and the Avenger are very costly toys. As mentioned before I had 13 million when I decided that I was going to grab these toys anyway and after all was said and done I ended up with 3 million.
Money well spend if you ask me, but it will probably be more fun if you share all this with some of your friends.
- Massively expensive; get ready to easily spend over 10 million if you want to get yourself the full deal (including several customization options).
- There isn't much to do in the Facility other than starting the Doomsday heist. So don't expect any fun (single player) missions or something.
- The offensive features (strike team & orbital cannon) require money to use. The orbital cannon even sets you back half a million dollars (500k) per shot!
- Although the Avenger is pretty solid it's not indestructible. I had a try hard coming after me and even though they never managed to kill me they did blow up one of my rotors which made it a bit more difficult to get away from the warzone (which is where my military vehicle came into play).
- You can only take weaponized vehicles with you in the Avenger.
You can also store 'regular' vehicles in the Facility, such as the Insurgent..
- Extremely cool looking features. The Facility looks seriously cool; huge halls, several personnel and high grade security. If you enter one be sure to look at all the cool signs hanging around it. And as for the Avenger... If you stepped into its shadow once (in freeroam) you'll know how cool it looks :)
- Free ammo! Just walk around the Facility and you'll get free ammo for the minigun and several assault weapons (and some sticky bombs too).
- Powerful weapons. The orbital cannon is basically a guaranteed insta-kill. The turrets of the Avenger can wreck some serious havoc as well and if you then combine that with the strike team and bombing options you got yourself a seriously powerful setup.
- The Avenger is very easy to control! I have actually done a 360 with this thing (because I got stuck) and still survived without it blowing up on me. It takes getting used to, but this thing is really easy to control once you learned how.
- In comparison to the other two specialized vehicles (MOC & Terrorbyte) the Avenger usually gets placed very near your current location making it much easier to reach.
- Vehicles get placed near the Facility. If you exit your bunker and ask for a vehicle then it probably gets placed near the road, get ready to run! Do the same when exiting the Facility and you'll probably find it right next to you.
- Build your own private army! Avenger + military vehicle + some friends to operate the controls = a mini army which is very hard to defeat "just like that" (even more so if you provide back up using the orbital cannon).
- You can't die. Just as with the Terrorbyte you can't be killed as long as you're inside the main area of the Avenger. Even if it gets blown up then you'll simply be transported outside.
- Insta-clearing of wanted levels. You can hop into the Avenger despite your wanted level and it doesn't even matter if the cops know where you are or not: the moment you enter then your wanted level is gone.
- Bragging rights ;) Well, ok, maybe I'm running out of serious options but even so; it is true that you don't see a Facility or Avenger in every lobby (at least not that I could tell).
Another pro, but maybe not for everyone, is that you can still attract police attention while you're inside the Avenger. What can I say... I often enjoy showing those LSPDumbo's who's boss :)
So the big question here is obviously: "Is it worth it?". Because I can't stress this out enough: this stuff is not cheap!
Personally I think it's worth every dollar (otherwise I wouldn't have bought all this) but I do think that solo players may not get the full satisfaction out of all this. Simple reasoning really: you fly with your Avenger and get attacked. So you decide to retaliate... You get into the main area and by that time there could be a risk of your Avenger getting seriously damaged (the rotors for example) which means that a crash could be imminent. Another possible issue is that performing a bombing run may not be as easy as it seems....
Of course on the positive side the Facility doesn't charge you with daily costs, so... who cares? :)
So yeah, I suppose it heavily depends on the kind of player you are. I can honestly say that I'm having a great time with all of this stuff so far. And even in a very hostile session (players killing each other constantly) the Avenger still managed to keep me safe despite the fact that I'm not very good at PVP (I don't care too much about pvp because I think it's a waste of time, ammo & money. Ergo I'm not that experienced with it). Even better: remember my comment about a try-hard harassing a friend of mine? Yah, he wasn't expecting a rain of bombs (ghost organization FTW) nor did he enjoy my turrets. So if I can do that with an Avenger.... ;)