Grand Theft Auto III / Rockstar Studios (2002)

1986 Alternate Timeline Joseph Ybarra's Verdict:
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 sure.
Average Reviewer of The Sims' Verdict:
Ooh, I can tell stories as opposed to relate the hard, unfortunate facts about a game again!
My Verdict:
This would be the greatest PC game of all time if just about anyone else published it, and just about anyone else designed it.

Game Information

Game Type:
Driving Game / Third Person Shooter 
Author Info:
Rockstar Studios. Which, according to, used to be DMA Design. 
Test System Specs:
P3-800, Geforce4 4400, 384MB RAM
Similar Games:
There's GTA and GTA II, also available for the PC of course, but otherwise it's rather unique. 

91% on 96% on Gaming Illustrated. 92% on Miss Match. 9/10 on "Gamer's 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 sheep. 

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 greatness.

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 ways:

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: 

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. 

Simple Rating

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. 

Story / Plot Quality

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 feature.


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.

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