Developer – Rockstar Games
Publisher – Rockstar Games
Platform(s) – Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Nintendo Switch, PC
Release Date – November 11, 2021
Disclaimer: Review Copy was kindly provided by PR
If there’s any game developer that’s known to the mainstream more than anyone else it’s Rockstar Games. The main reason for this is mainly due to the franchise and the three games I’ll be discussing in these impressions. Grand Theft Auto along with franchises like Call of Duty is one of the most well-known in the gaming industry because of its appeal and history.
The Grand Theft Auto franchise has been an enormous success for Rockstar over the last 20+ years. While the three games in the definitive edition didn’t start the franchise they without a doubt defined it. Rockstar decided to give these games an upgrade to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the release of Grand Theft Auto III. I’ve had tons of time to delve in and my thoughts on this trilogy are a bit varied.
The three games in question that are in the collection are GTA III, GTA: Vice City, and GTA: San Andreas. There aren’t any story additions of any kind to this collection. The most notable changes are gameplay improvements and an updated look to the graphics. These improvements have caused a bit of a conversation to say the least.
I will say that I enjoy the gameplay improvements that have been made to the collection. They’ve added a weapon wheel in each game instead of a scroll weapon mechanic which feels a whole lot better. You know have checkpoints instead of having to restart a mission each time you die. Not to mention the well-needed modern controller scheme. Aiming could’ve definitely used an overhaul in some way because this aspect, in particular, feels similar to the old games and that’s not a good thing.
If you went back and played any of the older GTA games before this trilogy was released, you’ll know how clunky it could be to control due to the age of these titles. I don’t have a ton of complaints about the gameplay improvements. What was added in this department makes it much better and nicer to control overall.
Now let’s move on to the visuals, which is probably the most controversial aspect of these remasters. Initially, when I saw the updated graphics in the trailers leading up to launch, they didn’t bother me. Actually playing the game and seeing the visuals in each cutscene and gameplay is when I had a change in opinion.
Your protagonists in all three games in Claude, Tommy, CJ don’t look too bad. NPCs (Non-playable characters) on the other hand are a whole nother story. If you compare the NPCs in the definitive edition to the original games, the original NPCs look better in some instances.
Things like rain and fog have become things I despise in these remasters because of how hard it makes it to see. There’s a ton of inconsistency with the textures and lighting in so many places across buildings, cars, and bushes.
When you look at the result and overall reception to these remasters, it’s clear that there weren’t many resources given to the devs that made these ports. I can’t say I had a terrible time with this collection because it’s still fun to play through these games and reminisce about old memories. The problem that arises is the way that this port was seemingly treated by the higher-ups.
I think the devs over at Grove Street Games were given a deadline and had no choice but to meet it since this game wasn’t getting delayed. This definitive edition doesn’t feel like a true remaster mostly because of the look of the graphics. If this trilogy was given the time and resources they needed, I think we would be looking back real fondly on these collections.
Instead, this game is being compared to Battlefield 2042 in the way that it needed more time in the oven. It’s not like the game is broken but it feels underdeveloped. While there are a lot of negative feelings about this game from most, as I said earlier my opinions are more mixed. I can’t say I didn’t enjoy my time playing, I still had fun for the most part but I’d be lying if I didn’t say that GTA: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition (that’s a mouthful) didn’t have its issues. On the other hand, a new Grand Theft Auto is officially confirmed to be in development plus there’s the Expanded & Enhanced version of GTA 5 releasing soon, so we’ll see how that turns out.