Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy, the review: was it really needed?
21 November 2021 14
GTA III and its two followers, Vice City and San Andreas, have changed the world of video games : not only were they the beginning of maturity for a developer, Rockstar Games, which over time has established itself as one of the most ambitious and capable on the world scene, but the mix of open world, storytelling and quality of experience have suddenly raised the bar to which all the others have had to aspire to reach. Among other things, very often, without success.
Among the peculiarities of Rockstar Games there is also that of putting an obsessive care in its projects, a painstaking attention that it allowed her to stand out even when she was involved in different contexts than usual – for example on the Nintendo DS with Chinatown Wars – and which mainly involved her queen series, Grand Theft Auto.
From this collection, what we would have expected is, in short, a point of reference for the restoration and enhancement of the first three 3D episodes of the series, or in any case a perfectly packaged product. Instead Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy not only arrived in stores with various problems, especially on PC where it was unusable for days, but also exceeded the initial limits what is left is a result below expectations . Is it still worth considering?
THE RESTORATION WORK
The first element that stands out when launched one of the three titles is how much, increased the resolution and removed the cinematic grain and effects that were included at the time due to hardware limitations in rendering distant elements, the game appears much more colorful but also a little less impressive . If this slightly more cartoonish look, combined with a revised light and shadow sector, goes all in all in an acceptable way with the neon nights of Vice City, in general the impression is that it does not suit the tones to which the series di got used to it.
The texture upscaling work is evident although there are some elements more successful than others , which creates an unpleasant contrast several times. Among other things, the definition of the images of this Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy highlights in a merciless way how the models have aged, both of the NPCs and of many of the polygonal elements of the setting, especially when it comes to buildings that are important to the ends of the story. And also the visual horizon, deeper than in the past, creates a somewhat bare effect instead of enriching what is shown on the screen.
GTA: The Trilogy in short, it fails to hide its origin, which dates back directly to the PlayStation 2 era, despite the transition from the old RenderWare to the much more modern Unreal Engine 4. A leap that would have required a deeper work and with more resources available, and which instead seems to have been done with a little superficiality, as demonstrated also by some very unacceptable elements, such as the weather effects . A beautification process that other similar products, such as Mafia Definitive Edition, but also different and previous ones, such as the recently revived Tony Hawk chapters, have managed to do with radically different (and better) results.
The paradox of this situation is that in our case, playing with AMD Ryzen 7 equipped laptop 5800 H, a GeForce RTX 3070 And 16 GB of Ram, we failed to keep us fixed at 60 images per second in Ultra mode in none of the three chapters , a situation that frankly, considering the yield, not only should have been within reach but was licit to take for granted.
While there is no doubt that Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy has an overall more modern look and technical characteristics than in the early years 2000 , God forbid, the somewhat messy result put together by Rockstar and Groove Street Games makes it less glamorous than the originals.
TOUCHES OF MODERNITY
If the look technical is disappointing, there is no doubt that some of the work done by the development team on the gameplay helps make the experience a little more accessible compared to modern standards .
For example, there is a system that allows you to set your destination (outside the missions) so as to have a customizable indicator and not having to open the map every time. It is not perfect and certainly could have been more advanced, for example with intermediate points, but it is already something and makes navigating within the city less frustrating, especially since there are a whole series of shops and landmarks that you will find yourself in. visit often.
Also the control system has undergone some tweaks that go from a new wheel interface for the selection of weapons, which can be recalled with the backbone and actually very convenient, up to a self-targeting system that, between ups and downs, still makes itself appreciated.
A certain approximation in the restoration work is however also manifested in the sectors, such as that relating to gameplay, in which all in all the work is been done with full knowledge of the facts. It is not clear, for example, why only San Andreas benefited from the improvements to the checkpoint system during the missions, while the previous two chapters did not. Once again, it seems that something has been lacking in terms of resources available to carry out a satisfactory job from all points of view .
THREE GAMES THAT MADE HISTORY
Groove Street Games has done a homework that in many ways it leaves a bitter taste in the mouth and that becomes even less acceptable if you think about the starting material. GTA III, Vice City and San Andreas are three very different games, which for different reasons would have benefited a lot more attention .
GTA III is, played today, a leap in the past rather violent. The elements that led the series to the success of GTA V, of its online and of what will come in the future for the series are there, but present in a prototype version that experimented today has perhaps little to say, if not in terms of testimony. of the history of video games.
Vice City has become beloved for the excellent mix of a city, Miami, full of charm especially when declined with sounds, colors and stories straight out of the years 80. Among the three, perhaps the one that least depends on the technical aspects and that comes out better.
Finally San Andreas was the chapter of maturity for the trilogy: the missions became more articulated, the quality of the narration marked a step further and the huge sand box built to represent Los Angeles and its surroundings laid the foundations for what would later come with the fourth and fifth chapters.
There is a lot to enjoy playing the three GTAs, some situations, characters and story lines are today as then, very funny, but it is difficult not to think that the good that can be experienced in Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy was already there, that nothing has been added. However, it remains impossible to argue that an enthusiast can call himself such without having ever challenged the police on the streets of Los Santos, so these three products still have a value.
Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy is an insufficient operation . It is for the clumsy technical realization but also because it does not respond to the legitimate expectations of those who, and there are many, would have gladly replayed three seminal titles for the history of video games in a version capable of expressing at least in part the steps forward made both at technology, both in terms of Rockstar’s mastery of the medium.
So it remains a product recommended only to those who are curious and has not had the opportunity to play them at the time – among other things the original versions have been removed from the stores, so even if they want they are no longer available – or to all those who are curious to return to visit a given location or replay a certain mission, beloved at the time of the original release.