Grand Theft Auto III /
Rockstar Studios (2002)
|1986 Alternate Timeline Joseph Ybarra's
|Yeah, the first Bard's Tale didn't
have save-anywhere, but we fixed that up for the second one alright.
It's still 1986, right? I mean, that's the only way Take Two allows
GTA3 to otherwise make it onto the UPS trucks, know what I mean? A
-- say -- decade and a half hasn't transpired or anything, right?
Okay. Just making
|Average Reviewer of The Sims'
Verdict:||Ooh, I can
tell stories as opposed to relate the hard, unfortunate facts about a game
|This would be the greatest PC
game of all time if just about anyone else published it, and just
about anyone else designed it.
|Driving Game / Third
Person Shooter |
|Rockstar Studios. Which, according to GTA3.com,
used to be DMA Design.
|P3-800, Geforce4 4400, 384MB RAM|
|There's GTA and GTA II, also available for the PC of
course, but otherwise it's rather unique.
91% on IceGameWare.com.
96% on Gaming Illustrated.
92% on Miss Match. 9/10 on
Hell." Are these people on the same internet as the rest of us? Did
they get the same copy of the game? What the hell's going on here? Goddamn
Grand Theft Auto III could have
been the greatest computer game ever made. It's not -- not by a longshot --
purely due to laziness. It can be debated whether it's laziness on the part of
the publisher (get it in, ship it out, ASAP, lol lol lol) or the devs (PC gamers
stuck with us through two previous games, allowing this "franchise," such as it
is, to even exist -- let's repay them by not removing the console aspects of the
product). What cannot be debated is that the specific designers of this thing --
the pure "idea men" on it (none of the game's designers show up as either
coders, animators, or 3D artists in the credits) let this game down and down badly.
Without question, it's the four guys listed under "design" that stop it from achieving any kind of
Overall, the thing is not a total waste of time
nor a complete piece of shit. I feel that's the fairest thing I can say about
it, due to the fact that it is responsible for a personal decision I made
through playing it: I will no longer be purchasing games that do not allow me to
save anywhere. I just don't have this kind of time or patience any longer. There are many apologists who show
up on sites like Planetcrap from time-to-time who are more than willing to
detail exactly why saving should not be in the player's hands. These people (and
all persons who subscribe to this mindset) are classically-trained fucking idiots who
should be the subject of a wave of hurried genocide and who are unable to form their
arguments without total pretension, and little real-world revelance -- for
the simple fact that those who wish to save their progress at arbitrary
points can always
impose those restrictions upon themselves. The rest of us with a goddamn
clue, who lead goddamn lives, cannot function under such miserable
design decisions. In Grand Theft Auto III, you can only save when you
return to your "home base." More, you cannot save while on a mission.
Furthermore, you lose all your weapons when you die and the gun store is not
always present on your radar, especially in the first city. So the entire time I
played this game, it was along the lines of "solve one mission, return home,
save, keep playing." Not being able to save wherever I wanted artificially
increased the length of this game. I doubt there is much more content within
than in Max Payne (a game criticized for being far too short). But
because Max Payne was developed by people who had actually played
computer games before attempting to make one themselves, I didn't have to keep
re-loading the same scene over and over again.
The lack of a save detracts in the following
- Falling into water will kill you. Fair enough.
I mean, it's not, but whatever, right? This, alone, is not unique for video games. Anyway, at
one point in the game you need to swap boats. These are not any kind of magical,
land-faring hover... boats, no, they are in fact boats that fully reside in
water. Dangerous, evil, life-slaying water. The designers of this game decided
that it would be great fun to work in a small "jumping puzzle" and make you have
to really, really work at getting out of a frigging boat. While attempting to
jump from the boat to the dock I fell into some water. AND DIED. I had already
completed a mission previous and decided to get bold and keep playing without a
save, so now I have to do two of them over again.
- You'll eventually get, seemingly, just about
one in every two citizens pissed at you, and shooting at you as you attempt to
drive around the city. If you need to swap cars for a particular mission (not
all cars can carry four people -- while there's no enforcement of hit-and-run,
speeding, failure to yield, abuse towards the badge, going the correct way on a
one-way road, and shooting people in the back with uzis when a cop isn't around
to see it, having people and/or whores go three to a backseat is much to
"unrealistic," I guess) you can get involved with what at first seems to be a
kind of gang war. Shooting back is what the cops will react to, so it's insane
to not save after every mission due to the random fact that at any time you can
have the police force after you for simply "defending" yourself. More, should
you get far enough in the game you'll eventually find that wandering around
the first city will make you a target of rocket attacks. These attacks
instantly kill you. A mission will send you BACK to the first city and
square into where the rockets are. Not being able to save... I mean, fuck.
- You'll spend a lot of times just driving from
location to location on a mission... oftentimes in a slow vehicle. Luckily, anyone who says
"take the limo" to you in an attempt to comport themselves with some class can
eventually be repeatedily run over with a much speedier automobile. So justice
is served, I guess. But being able to save before the "fun" of some of these
missions begins is crucial.
So this will do it for me. There comes a time in
a man's life where he realizes that he's spending way too much time playing
computer games in his free time. I'm almost thirty for the love of Black Christ. After taking a long
look in the mirror I realize that this is a great hobby, but all-too addicting.
The frustration levels given due to the fact that out of outright, damnable
fucking sloth this game doesn't adhere to 20 years of previous PC gaming
expectations aren't worth it. Publishers can either pay to overtime to have
their games function correctly on the medium or else they can go straight to
hell. There are far too many games that are put together with a clue where this
shit isn't going to fly any longer.
All that being said, the game almost... almost
makes up for its flaws due to the 'wow' and 'get a load of this' factors. Crazy
Taxi, Carmageddon, Spy Hunter and Driver are essentially
included as mini-games. The physics engine we're playing with is enough like
real-life to perform as expected and enough like video games to be fun. The
graphics are very nice (although there could stand to be a few more "states" for
the different cars, in terms of relative damage) and the audio team did a great
job as well (there are around ten different radio stations, and you can create
your own that plays your MP3s by copying shortcuts to them in one of the game's
directories). And the recognition of "insane stunts" provides many a
laugh and good time.
Does any of that matter? No, not a bit. In
addition to some bugs (I need to go into the Control Panel and re-calibrate my
gamepad before playing after rebooting my system-- way to go, guys... oh, and I
count the "place save games in C:\My Documents" as a bug, because it's
retarded that this kind of thing is going to be the norm, apparently) that have
to do with the interface, there are bugs in whatever twisted logic was used to
develop the average mission and interface. Here's the list:
- The Pay and Spray shop gets the cops off your
back. This HAS to be an option on the radar at all times. Yeah, they gave me
a nice, full color map with the game. Word-fucking-up. Maybe it's acceptable
to consult a map during an role-playing game, or text adventure or
something, but not when I am in a white-knuckle chase scene. But modifying
the radar would mean adding a level of complexity to getting the game out
the door! Oh noes!!
- The second city is way too "three
dimensional" for the rest of the game. As gamers, we're always going to
be the lazy ones and always take the path of least resistance. The devs
need to be the better man. Trying to navigate the mess of the second city on
a flat, two-color, 2D radar DOES NOT WORK. It fails on missions, it fails on
finding the Pay and Spray shop there, and it fails when trying to get to the
first batch of missions. If Prima was putting three dimensional depictions
of some of the static dungeons in their crappy Daggerfall hint books
six years ago, then a game in 2002 trying to have a map feature in a 3D
world needs to at least implement the same.
- Way too many timed missions, and the times
are impossible to nail on the first try. Oh, this creates replayability,
does it? No, no, no! You stupid sons of bitches, that is NOT replayability!
Replayability is "Hm, I got Leonardo's Workshop first on a big
continent, I wonder if I could do it on an island?" or "I lost
three guys using these tactics last time, I'll mix things up next time the
aliens attack" and so forth. It's not just playing the same frigging
scene over and over again.
- It constantly uses player death to
"teach" you how to play through missions. This is Video Game
Design 101 here, but it's apparently lost on Rockstar.
- You officially need three hands to play this.
As the game does not move the camera when you are on foot, and as the
controls suck when attempting to move around a car on something other than a
gamepad, you need to have the mouse and keyboard available when on foot and
go back to a gamepad while in a car. How there's not an option for the
camera to assume THE SAME FREAKING VIEW ON FOOT AS IT DOES IN A CAR is just
beyond me. They went out of their way to fuck this up. It's the only
And, the horrible truth is... does any of the above matter, either?
No. No... it really doesn't. Rockstar and Take Two made a mint on this game. If
you have a Playstation II you have been practically issued a copy of it. The
next one, exclusive-deals aside, will eventually come out for all the consoles
and onto the PC. And because it has been so brazenly cock-polished by just about
every "independent" game review site out there, the PC version will be
just as bad a console port as this one is. It's sad commentary on the state of
PC game reviews that GTA3 -- as incredibly frustrating as it is, and how
indefensible the decision to ship without a multiplayer component and without
save-anywhere support is -- has been getting nothing but one accolade after
another. There are some fun parts here, definitely, which no doubt appeal to the
clapping, feces-hurling monkey part of all of our brains, but the negatives do
not nearly outweigh the positives. Not nearly. This game, aside from the beauty
of its graphical engine and how it did at the retail level, should be considered
a failure of modern gaming. The fact that it won't is pretty goddamn sad.
|This could have been the best of them all. I mean,
Morrowind, Freedom Force, Duke Nukem: Manhattan Project--
these games were all released recently, and all succeed in various
ways I guess, but none of them have the kind of moments that GTA3
does. But none of them extend a middle finger to the people who
bought them, either. |
|I mean... come on. The guy becomes "the man" for the
first mafia family and then because some bitch has a crush on him he
needs to start at the ground floor for the Asian gang? Get real. |
|The great moments warrant a 100. The lack of a
save-anywhere feature warrants a 0. I'd split the difference, but
it's not 1985.|
|The radio stations are really a treat, and the fact
that you can place your own shortcuts in the game is a killer
|The thing really needs a patch due to the hoops you have to
jump through in order to get it to play after a re-boot.|
a comment in the BBS.