In an ironic twist, GTA Online's latest competitive mode puts heavy firepower in the hands of players, but reserves it purely for shooting at safe, inanimate targets. In the new Target Assault mode, players pair up to crew a heavily armed vehicle racing down a circuit, with the driver trying to provide the turret gunner as clear a shot as possible at the big floating targets surrounding the track. Not to say that the mode is non-violent, of course...
While the gunner may be playing a relatively benign role (by GTA standards), the driver is fully encouraged to ram, shove or otherwise demolish the other cars on the track. Each lap, you and your gunner switch places, meaning that you can't just rely on your pinpoint shooting. Players with a halfway decent analogue gamepad to hand will have an advantage in the driving sections at least, although everyone's in with a chance thanks to GTA Online's community being packed to the gills with comically rubbish drivers.
The Target Assault mode comes as part of the Southern San Andreas Super Sport Series (alliteration is fun!), a season full of high powered race-themed updates. The previous update included a stock car demolition derby race, along with some criss-crossing tracks specifically designed to put players at maximum risk of crashing headlong into each other. Later, a slew of new Transform Races are headed to the game, along with improvements to the user track editor, allowing for greater flexibility in creating these weird new cross-disciplinary events.
This update is also accompanied by in-game discounts on a variety of 'endgame' equipment, including 30% off the absurdly indulgent Mammoth Avenger flying base, plus upgrades for the hulking VTOL. There's also a new vehicle to buy from the Warstock store; a minigun-turret-equipped truck that's currently featured in some of the Target Assault tracks. While I'd like to see another major story-focused expansion for GTA Online on par with the Doomsday Heist, I've a feeling that relatively low-budget (albeit fun and messy) events like this will be the focus of the game from now until Rockstar officially put it on a back-burner. That said, I'd love to be wrong.