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Grand Theft Auto III (PlayStation 2) artwork

Grand Theft Auto III (PlayStation 2) review


"Stealing cars, killing innocent pedestrians for their money, pissing off cops... It's all just standard fare for your character in Grand Theft Auto III."



Introduction:

Stealing cars, killing innocent pedestrians for their money, pissing off cops... It's all just standard fare for your character in Grand Theft Auto III. After the first two 2D GTA's, Rocket takes this great idea for a game to full 3D, and adds a whole lot of depth. The game isn't just about stealing cars anymore--You'll be hired to assassinate game members, blow up assorted targets, and more. Anyone looking for a bit more freedom in a videogame is sure to love GTA3.

Graphics:

The graphics put the Playstation 2's texturing effects to a good example, with all types of weather conditions. Environments are large, detailed and expansive. The lighting effects fluctuate between night and day, which looks quite realistic. Most everything in the game looks very well-done. I would have liked a bit more detail in the cars and characters, though, but oh well. As a whole, GTA3's graphics are nothing to complain about.

Gameplay:

GTA3's gameplay really is little like any other game out there. With maybe the exception of the previous GTA games, and Driver, nothing even touches this concept. You're a criminal ''handyman'', looking for a few bucks. You'll be hired for over 100 jobs in a fictitiously named Liberty City. Pimps, Mafia mobsters, and other rich guys will hire you to do their dirty work, and you can use any means--and I mean any!--to fulfill these endeavors.

You'll be using an array of fun weapons including an AK-47, assault rifle, pistol, shotgun, rocket launcher, grenade, pipe bomb, baseball bat, and more. You can pretty much do just about anything with these weapons, too. If you want, you can just run around the streets beating people up with a baseball bat, stealing their money. If you catch a police officer off guard, feel free to steal his car, shoot him, or knock him flat on the ground! That's good stuff, if can see the kind of sick humor in it...

You'll also be able to steal a variety of different vehicles. Sportscars, trucks, station wagons, you name it! And each car model has it's own unique handling and speed. There are also a few special vehicles which you can get, and play sub-games with them. Like with the tank and police car, you can hunt criminals down, vigilante style, another fun way to get money. Or you can hijack and ambulance and take people to the hospital, or steal a firetruck and put out fires. Hell, you can even snatch a taxi cab and pick people up and drop them off, Crazy Taxi style! And if you don't feel like going somewhere by car, you can travel by plane, train, foot, or even steal a boat or helicopter! It's really all up to you.

Boy, there sure is a lot to do in this game. Not only can you carjack anyone, but anyone can carjack you! Other criminals are out there, and if you don't watch out, they may come after you. If you get caught between a gang war, you could end up dead. One time, I punched the wrong guy, and he ended up showing me what it was like to be beaten savagely with a baseball bat.

As you drive along in whatever vehicle you've chosen as your temporary form of transportation, you'll naturally be running into just about everything. What's cool is, your car, and other cars you hit, will take damage realistically and humorously. After a while, a car will eventually catch on fire, forcing you to jump out before it blows up, but you'd be quite surprised by how long some cars can hold up.

The game is just full of fun little things to do in Liberty City. Funny tricks include luring in an ambulance by killing a load of people, then stealing the car. Or getting arrested, purposely, and using that as an easy way to steal a car from the police station when you get out! Ahh, I just love the creativity of the developers. Let's face it, the game is huge. With three cities to explore, each with several suburbs and different areas, all in full 3D, you'll have a lot of exploring to do. There is a seemingly endless number of activities to participate in throughout the game. GTA3 has so much replay value, you wouldn't believe. Even after you've completed the 100-some odd missions, I'm sure you'll still have fun just running around the city wreaking havoc.

While the game is full of great aspects, it still has it's flaws. One is the often repetetive nature of the missions. It kinda feels like a constant steal X car, drive over to X, pick up X, kill X, bomb X site, etc... And while it is very fun, after a while, you may require a little break, because it does get boring. Other than that, the game is all thrills.

Control:

The control is surprisingly good. Vehicles all have different handling, but really all work the same--X to accelerate, Square to break, R1 to handbrake, etc... Driving is easy to get the hang of, but difficult to matter. Shooting weapons couldn't have been easier. Just hold down R1 to lock onto a target, and fire. It's almost too easy. You also have a choice between several camera angles, including the original overhead one from the first two GTA games--Nice wave of nostalgia there. Most functions are easy to use, but a few require a bit of button combination, like turning on the police siren--But it's no big deal. In the end GTA3 has nice, tight control, which is essential in a game so largely based on maneuvering.

Sound:

The sound in GTA3 is so unique, because the music comes in the form of car radios. You can change the channel while you're driving--there's a variety of different tunes including rap, techno, jazz, etc... There are also some truly hilarious ads on the radio which are parodies of everything we experience in everyday life. Voices are great--especially when obscenities are used! Sirens, car horns, screeching tires... Everything sounds very realistic and city-like. Definitely an aural experience.

Story:

There isn't much of a story in GTA3. you basically just go around the city, doing little jobs here and there (some bigger than others). Most jobs have a time limit, and they're always humorous. Like stealing the fat guy's car, placing a bomb in it, and getting it bag to where you left it, just in time for him to sit inside, and blow to pieces! Or picking up as many hookers as you can as fast as you can to take to the policemen's ball. While there is no real story, there are lots of little sub-stories which you should find intriguing and comical.

Conclusion:

Grand Theft Auto III is an experience. And while some gamers may find it offensive, childish, and just downright wrong, I happen to find it wildly entertaining. It's been a while since I've had such true freedom in a videogame, and it really is fun to be a criminal. GTA3 excels in every possible category, which makes for a game which should keep anyone occupied for a very long time, having a lot of fun along the way.

Breakdown:

Graphics: 8.5/10
Sound: 9.5/10
Gameplay: 9.9/10
Story: 8/10
Control: 8.5/10
Replay: 9.5/10

Rating: 9.0/10

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Staff review by James Gordon (Date unavailable)

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