GTA: The trilogy is a three-in-one remastered of the PS2-era GTA games: GTA 3, San Andreas, and Vice City. These are often considered three of the best games of all time and pretty much launched the Grand Theft Auto series into becoming the gaming juggernaut it is today.
The remaster features graphical updates, and some quality-of-life improvements to help bring the games to modern audiences. It also however has numerous issues in the form of bugs, awkward character models, and cut content. Despite the new coats of paint, the downsides make it a difficult remaster to recommend for newcomers and veterans alike.
The Character Models
First, let’s talk about the new models for the characters inhabiting the cities of The GTA Trilogy. The redesigns look fairly awkward and a few of them are downright disappointing. Some of them barely resemble the characters of the original game and can come across as pretty uncanny. You’ve probably seen the comparisons and rants on social media but it really was like I was watching a bunch of humanoid lego figures running around at some points.
But I do appreciate the texture details on the models though. The wrinkles and patterns on their clothes look great and each character’s skin color looks more natural. You can look at Smoke’s shirt comparison side by side and notice the stripe pattern on his shirt instead of the plain green shirt.
The Lights and The City
All three games in the GTA Trilogy have been remade with the Unreal Engine and the environments honestly look good. The grass, the water, the textures of each building, all look more defined and the colors really pop. Just driving down the roads of Vice City without a care in the world feels nostalgic but also fresh. There are more people on screen as well which makes the open worlds feel more lively than the originals. The vehicles in all the remasters are also great. They’re less “boxy” like the originals but the reflections of the cars do make them look a little too plastic-like.
Then there are the problems of the glitches. Strange assets pop-ins and models spazzing out were notable although admittedly not as common as they seem to be on social media. None the less it’s still noticeable enough for it to be unacceptable and very much in need of a patch.
The two most notable problems in the game are the lighting and the rain. A lot of areas are just too dark. There are frequent moments where you can barely make out the character as they’re not lit properly. There is a similar problem with the rain effects. The lines of raindrops are so thick that they actually prevent you from seeing anything. It’s very poorly done and feels incredibly janky whenever you have to deal with it.
Finally, the games lack some of the vocal tracks due to copyright issues with 29 songs in total removed. It’s understandable not to include them for this reason but it is still a shame and does make the game feel like it is lacking compared to the PS2 originals, which isn’t a good look for something that’s supposed to be the ‘Definitive Edition’.
While the original GTA 3 pioneered the use of a third-person camera in the series, you still had the option to use a bird’s eye view camera, similar to the previous titles. In the definitive edition, however, that feature is removed and you can only use the standard camera while roaming in the city. While I do prefer it this way, it still feels unnecessary to remove additional ways of playing that game.
The controls are now modernized and may take some time to get used to. Controlling vehicles can be a pain at first but it starts to feel natural as you play. On the other hand, I really liked that they added an additional aiming system for guns. This allows you to use a more modernized GTAV style of aiming where you can lock on to targets in an over-the-shoulder style of shooting. It feels far more precise and easy to use which in turn makes the shootouts more fun to play.
All three games also now give players the ability to restart missions after failing them. This is a nice update, meaning you don’t have to waste time getting back to where you were after a slipup.
And what is GTA without the cheat codes? A lot of the old ones return for you to cause chaos in the game. Driving a tank, flying with a jetpack, getting chased by all the police, and getting busted. It reminded me that often the most fun aspect of GTA is not doing the missions but screwing around in the city and exploring what you can do. Also, the KONAMI code gives you a big head mode that turns everyone into a bobblehead. It is fun, now if only some character’s regular heads looked less like boddle heads.
There are however a select number of cheats that have not returned for seemingly any reason. This isn’t a complete deal breaker but for something that is touted as the ‘Definitive Edition’, missing content from the original release does make the game feel a lot less definitive.
The GTA trilogy is made up of three classic games and overall it was fun revisiting them after all this time but this remaster doesn’t feel like the best way to experience them. There are some good ideas here like the improved aiming system and the overall world map of each game looks pretty good.
The game is let down by the glitches and bad models. Rockstar says they’re working to patch these and it’s good of them to do so but that doesn’t change how the game is released. For such legacy titles, they should have been treated with more care so that newcomers or newer fans can see what made them so great to begin with.
GTA: The Trilogy Definitive Edition is available for PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X, Switch, PC, and Mobile Devices.
GTA: The Trilogy - The Definitive Edition
- Some Improved Environments
- Aim system when using guns is good
- The ability to restart mission on the spot
- The lighting of some places are too dark
- Some models are even worse than the older version
- Full of bugs and glitches
- The heavy rain line strokes are too annoying