How To Use Cheats & Codes in Grand Theft Auto 5

The player base of Grand Theft Auto 5 is expanding with such speed that more new players are flocking to the game now than two or even three years ago, not long after it was first released. This is exactly the opposite of what we’d expect to see considering normal video game commercial lifecycles. And all those new people mean new, inexperienced players who might need a hand with some of the game’s less obvious features, such as cheats.

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The thing with cheats is that they have such a stigma attached that many gamers wouldn’t even dabble with them even if they knew they were available – and to be clear we’re talking about legitimate, developer-programmed cheats, not hacks or other exploits that use third party programs, mods or other tactics.

Cheats are often associated with a lack of skill, as players relying on them are viewed as unable to progress through the challenges posed by the game’s difficulty on their own. Some games often punish the use of cheats by disabling saves, or taunting you with the fact – the Knights of the Old Republic roleplaying games, for example, plastered a large, bright yellow “cheats used” watermark on all of your save thumbnails. While it likely wasn’t the intention, it sure feels like shaming.

Not that there isn’t any truth to this. Using cheats or hacks in multiplayer environments to gain unfair advantages is despicable and loathsome. Any attempt to do this in GTA Online (the online multiplayer component of GTA 5) in any way – even leaving technically harmless single player mods active on accident – will get you banned, and these days that means a complete progress wipe. Cheats are a fantastic way to extend the game time of the single player mode – more on that later – but you’ll need to restrain yourself when venturing Online.

It Doesn’t Have To Be Hard

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The thing with GTA 5 cheats is that they’re not meant to be a simple shortcut or an easy way out of tough fights. Granted, some of the specific cheats exist to serve this particular purpose, but the majority exist with a different intent in mind. Many activate effects which augment or change the gameplay in interesting and entertaining ways, but are entirely unrealistic and unhinged, meaning they don’t fit GTA 5’s overall tone of realism. Hence, their use and activation is gated within cheat codes.

Grand Theft Auto 5 was released in three waves. First the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 versions were launched in 2013, then the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 “enhanced editions” in 2014 and finally the PC port in 2015. The methods to activate cheats in the game are differentiated similarly. That said, keep in mind that the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 codes are different, however the equivalent next-gen console shares the codes, meaning Xbox 360 codes work on the Xbox One and PS3 codes work on the PS4.

On the last-gen consoles, cheat activation happens via the tried and true method of button combinations. This has been the traditional method for entering cheats for countless years in gaming, so it should be familiar. However, many of GTA 5’s new players are relative or complete newcomers to the gaming scene, so a refresher might be in order. If you’ve hit up a page showing you the list of GTA 5 cheats and their associated codes (like this one, for PS3 cheats), pick one you like and start pressing the applicable button combination in quick succession. There isn’t a special space or prompt to do this, just do so during regular gameplay.

Dial “F” For Fun


On the current gen consoles, this button combo method still works, however it is no longer the only method of cheat activation. The enhanced edition versions of GTA 5 allow players to call specific numbers with the in-game cellphone which then activate the cheat effects. Each effect has a number associated with it. One advantage here is that you see the numbers you’re dialing, so making a mistake is less likely than when you’re trying to hit button combos in thin air. That said, activating phone cheats takes a longer time, save for the one you have on redial.

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With the release of the PC version of the game, the line of button combinations was broken. While the phone cheats remained, the other method was changed to another long-standing method that experienced PC gamers will be familiar with. By opening the developer console, a prompt typically used for debugging purposes during the creation of the game, players can enter phrases associated with each cheat effect. In GTA 5, this is done, by default, with the tilde (~) key. However, you can change this in the game’s config files. Though, if you know how to do that, chances are you understood how this works already.

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Know Your Hacks!

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Knowing is half the battle, but what do you do now that you know how to use the cheats? That’s ultimately up to you, however we’d suggest refraining from using these to help you in terms of campaign progression. The best way to make use of cheats is to mix and match them – since more than one can be active at any given time – in free roam and side activities. For example, try doing races with the “slippery cars” cheat, which almost entirely negates traction, and the “moon gravity” cheat both activated – it makes such activities all the more challenging.

Alternatively, load up the “give weapons” and either “explosive ammo” or “incendiary ammo” cheats, grab the attention of the authorities with the “raise wanted level” cheat (or by causing mayhem) and go on a rampage fuelled by the “max health and armor” cheat whenever you get yourself into a tough situation.

In fact, cheats have had some surprisingly practical uses in the history of the game. One of the longest standing easter egg mysteries, that of the fabled Bigfoot, was solved with the help of cheats. Eventually a team of dedicated easter egg hunters discovered that the developers of the game hid a secret peyote which only appears under specific conditions. It has to be Tuesday in-game, at a specific time of day, under specific weather conditions. The perfect combination appearing naturally is extremely rare, so the hunters used the “change weather” cheat to make things easier.

GTA 5 cheats offer new ways in which to enjoy the game, help you squeeze more hours of entertainment out of an already vast game, and are a great way to wind down after a hard day. They break the mold which gave video game cheats their unfair stigma in creative ways, and it’s really up to you how you make your own fun with them.

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One comment

  1. 1

    I agree – most people traditionally associate cheats and codes with just trying to advance or beat the game, but they can also be a great stress reliever (invincibility + weapons FTW) and way to extend the life of the game once you clock it.

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