2021 marks the 20th anniversary of the release of Grand Theft Auto 3, a landmark video game release that created the blueprint for countless open-world games that followed. Grand Theft Auto 3 is undoubtedly one of the most important video games of all time, so Rockstar Games invited Grove Street Games to bring it and its PS2-era sequel to modern consoles in the form of Grand Theft Auto : Trilogy – Definitive Edition . Rockstar has been surprisingly tight-lipped following the release of Grand Theft Auto Trilogy, but now that the series is out, it’s clear why.
The GTA trilogy includes Grand Theft Auto III, Grand Theft Auto : Vice City, and Grand Theft Auto : San Andreas, critically acclaimed, trendsetting PS2-era GTA games that are still hailed to this day as some of the greatest games ever made. One of the great games. Given how well the game was initially released, one would think GTA Trilogy would be an easy win for Rockstar and Grove Street Games, but unfortunately, it was botched.
Before diving into GTA Trilogy’s many problems, it’s worth pointing out what it gets right. The Grand Theft Auto Trilogy used a GTA 5-style control scheme, and it fits it even better. Handling characters, shooting, and general gameplay are definitely improved with these modernized controls, though driving does feel a bit off. A lot of vehicles are bumpy and there is no feedback from the controller triggers while driving, which is hard to get used to.
Other attempts to improve quality of life were implemented in a more elegant manner, such as the improved mini-map and the introduction of mid-mission checkpoints in GTA San Andreas, and the ability to restart the mission after losing all three games. This makes failing quests less frustrating in older games, as it removes the need for players to travel all the way to the quest marker to start over, although checkpoints are oddly not added across the board and only in San Andreas .
Aside from improving quality of life, one of the main selling points of the Grand Theft Auto trilogy was its graphics, with the series giving GTA 3, Vice City, and San Andreas remastered visuals. GTA Trilogy’s graphics are mixed, and the environments have been significantly upgraded, but the character models leave a lot to be desired.
A lot has been said about the character models for Grand Theft Auto Trilogy, and they’re definitely a mixed bag. The main characters generally look good, but sometimes CJ’s character model from San Andreas looks wacky because his weight fluctuates so much, and there are a lot of NPCs in the game that don’t even look human. As far as graphics go, however, the GTA trilogy character models are really the least of the series’ worries.
The biggest graphical bug in GTA Trilogy is its rain effect. Whenever it rains in Grand Theft Auto Trilogy, the bold white line fills the screen, making it hard to see, especially in Grand Theft Auto III. Modders have already begun work on “fixing” the rain effect in Grand Theft Auto Trilogy, suggesting that many players find rain annoying. Given how overbearing Rain was in the GTA trilogy, it’s odd it wasn’t caught and changed before release.
As far as GTA trilogy graphics go, GTA 3 seems to have taken a hit, and it goes beyond the rain effects. GTA III is noticeably darker than the other two games in the series, likely to mimic the gray skies and overcast weather of the original games. However, GTA 3 was a bit too dark in the Grand Theft Auto Trilogy, even with the brightness turned all the way up. This problem will be alleviated when players will be able to visit more GTA 3 islands than the first, but will still slow down the game’s opening time.
The Grand Theft Auto trilogy generally lacked polish. Players will find endless technical glitches, glitches, and graphical glitches in all three games. They’ll witness everything from disappearing large textures to cars floating in mid-air to game crashes and more. There are many, many problems with the GTA trilogy, making it a far less reliable experience than the original games of 20 years ago. Playing it would dash all hopes for a future Rockstar Games remake.
To make matters worse for the entire GTA trilogy, Rockstar removed other versions of the game from its digital storefront. This includes a GTA PS4 re-release with increased resolution, improved performance, and added trophy support. These offer truly definitive versions of classic PS2-era Grand Theft Auto games, and it seems like simply bringing them to more consoles is a better move.
After all, the PS4 enhanced version of the game is actually more complete than the new “final” version. For example, GTA : San Andreas lacks co-op in the final edition, which is pretty restrictive but still fun.
Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition suffers from numerous technical flaws, some of them quite serious. Despite these problems, the series still has some redeeming qualities. All three games are powerful, and there’s a lot they can do if players want to fully complete them. There are also GTA Trilogy cheat codes available for those who don’t care about completing the game and want to have some fun on their own. Players can completely ignore the main story missions in the game, do nothing but use cheat codes and explore, and still get their money’s worth, in terms of game time.
There’s a great story, memorable characters, fun quests, and the tools players need to create countless hours of entertainment. The foundation of the GTA trilogy consists of three of the best games of all time, so there is inherent value, especially for newcomers. But while the core gameplay of the GTA trilogy is certainly incredible, the overall design feels rushed and haphazard. Those longing for an old-school GTA on a modern console should check the series out, especially if the promised Grand Theft Auto trilogy fix comes through, but everyone else can safely skip it.
Grand Theft Auto : Trilogy – Definitive Edition is out now on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X. Game Rant reviewed the game on Xbox Series X.