Grand Theft Auto The Trilogy – Definitive Edition review (PC) – A disappointing cash grab

Grand Theft Auto The Trilogy Definitive Edition Key Art GTA

Last Updated on: 13th November 2021, 04:05 am

Grand Theft Auto The Trilogy – Definitive Edition takes three of the most beloved games from the PS2 and original Xbox, GTA 3, Vice City, and San Andreas, and brings them into the modern age with improved visuals and gameplay.

Well, on paper that is what they did, in reality though…it is a different story.

I really hate the fact that I’m writing this review because these three games hold a special place in my heart, as do most of the GTA games, but here we are.

On paper, Rockstar Games has just made all of our dreams come true

Collectively, GTA 3, Vice City, and San Andreas have sold approximately 60 million copies since they were released back in the early 2000s across all platforms, with San Andreas being the best selling PS2 game of all time, with Vice City coming in fourth, and GTA 3 coming in sixth, these games were juggernauts back in the day and Rockstar Games rode the hype all the way to the bank and they deserved to.

GTA The Trilogy San Andreas CJ
Credit: Rockstar Games/The Click

Rockstar Games continued on with the hugely successful GTA IV, followed by GTA V which has become the second best-selling video game of all time with over 155 million copies sold, and the series is the sixth best-selling franchise of all time.

It can’t be denied that GTA is a titan in the gaming industry and millions of fans are eagerly awaiting any snippet of news regarding GTA 6, and that game will likely break all sales records and Guinness World Records, many of them set by GTA V.

With all of that being said, how could Rockstar Games do any wrong at this point? Surely giving us three of the best games of the last 20 years and bringing them into 2021’s standards is a dream come true for millions of gamers. It would be if Rockstar actually delivered that, but they didn’t and they completely missed the mark in almost every way.

It goes without saying, these games are/were fantastic and GTA is legendary

It goes without saying, the original GTA 3, Vice City, and San Andreas are among some of the greatest games of all time and will forever be remembered fondly by fans.

The games were responsible for bringing the series into the 3D era as the series had been 2D from a top-down perspective in the years prior to the PS2.

READ MORE: GTA The Trilogy – Definitive Edition system requirements revealed

While the games haven’t aged fantastically compared to modern titles, especially when compared to later entries such as GTA V, they are still great examples of 3D gaming at the time, introducing a lot of mechanics and gameplay elements that would carry over into later entries in the series.

However, this isn’t 2001 anymore, it is 2021 and Rockstar Games seemed to not get that memo.

Slap a fresh coat of paint on it and call it a day

Grand Theft Auto The Trilogy – Definitive Edition is marketed as a remaster, but Rockstar did very little to the game to bring it in line with modern standards.

Rockstar Games’ own website details the enhancements that have been made to the games, and while yes they are technically correct, they are about as loosely true as they can get.

GTA The Trilogy Vice City Tommy Vercetti
Credit: Rockstar Games

Apart from a few quality of life improvements such as being able to restart missions when you fail, and a GTA V style weapon wheel, they are essentially the exact same games as the classic versions.

The combat is the same, the driving is the same, everything about the games are identical to the originals, in fact, Rockstar somehow made them worse.

1 step forward, 2 steps back

I don’t know how, but Rockstar somehow made 20-year-old games play worse than they used to (by today’s standards). The character movement feels very loose like you’re being sped up which can make things really awkward.

The driving shares a very similar fate too, with every vehicle feeling loose and awkward to drive, which results in a lot of crashes.

One weird thing I noticed too, is that the AI has gotten a lot dumber, with the AI often acting like you’re not there when it comes to driving, with them willing to turn into you without hesitation, I even had one instance where a bike crossed into my lane and crashed into me, almost as if it a homed in on me.

Rockstar was already lazy enough to do minimal changes to the game, and the ones they did do largely made the experience worse.

The visual improvements aren’t even that good

The visual improvements are certainly the highlight of the games, with them being overhauled and modernized, but they don’t even look that good.

Everything looks far too bright and clean. Cars still look blocky and clearly use the same models that the original did. And, the character’s clothing and hair have an almost plastic look to them.

Honestly, fans have been producing higher-quality mods for many years. Take a look at this image I found that compared the original game, the Definitive Edition, and a fan mod, Rockstar…we all know you can do better than this.

GTA vs Definitive Edition vs Mod

If you are the original creator of this image, I apologize that I have no way of knowing how to credit you.

The term remaster should be used loosely

When developers do very little to a remaster except spruce up the visuals, it is typically when a game is being ported to the next generation, as was the case when GTA V made its way to the PS4 and Xbox in 2014 following its release on the PS3 and Xbox 360 the previous year.

However, when it comes to 20-year-old games, you can’t just add “improved” visuals and call it a day.

GTA The Trilogy GTA 3 Cops
Credit: Rockstar Games

Despite being technically being remasters, the Crash N’Sane Trilogy and Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 Remastered were both rebuilt from the ground up to bring them in line with modern standards both from a visual and gameplay standpoint.

Crash N’Sane Trilogy brought very little to the table in terms of new content, but the visuals were modernized and the gameplay was overall improved, resulting in a great remaster/remake depending on who you ask.

When it comes to Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 1+2 Remastered, the developers knew they couldn’t put enhanced visuals on the old titles and call it a day because a lot had changed in the series since those games.

This meant that they had to rebuild the game to make sure it fit the modern standards that fans expected, and it paid off for them.

With the GTA series changing so much since the PS2 era, fans expected that the game would play a lot more like GTA V, which would have drastically improved the overall quality.

If Rockstar Games had taken the GTA V engine, and built the three games inside of it then this may have been the greatest remaster/remake in video gaming history.

A disappointing cash grab

With GTA V: Expanded and Enhanced edition being pushed back from November 2021 to February 2022, this is the reason that we got this release.

The classic GTA Trilogy remasters have been rumored to be coming throughout 2021, and it seems like Rockstar Games had a new release penciled in for the holidays, and now that hole needed to be filled after the next-gen GTA V port was delayed.

GTA The Trilogy San Andreas Grove Street Gang
Credit: Rockstar Games/The Click

It would also explain why the game went from being announced to released in just a few weeks.

What we ended up getting was a very lazy cash grab that will no doubt sour public perception when it comes to the company that up until now could do no wrong.

But, it’s not all bad, at least Rockstar Games will likely make an easy billion dollars from unsuspecting players who purchased the game in good faith that it would feature the same high quality we’ve come to expect from the company.

Don’t bother with this unless it is your only option to play these titles

If Grand Theft Auto The Trilogy – Definitive Edition was $30 and on Steam I could perhaps justify buying into the hype and being excited about these games. But, $60 on Rockstar’s own launcher that you will forget even exists and never turn this game on? No, I can’t recommend this game with good conscience.

My recommendation, buy the original games on Steam and mod them, oh wait you can’t, Rockstar Games delisted them to force you to buy this if you want to play the classic games, I hope you bought the games on Steam prior to them being delisted otherwise you’re SOL. I would even go as far as recommending you buy a used PS2 or Xbox and purchase the original games and just play them instead.

READ MORE: Grand Theft Auto The Trilogy – Definitive Edition achievement/trophy guide

Grand Theft Auto The Trilogy – Definitive Edition is available now on PC via Rockstar Games Launcher, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, and Nintendo Switch.








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