Since 1997, Grand Theft Auto has established itself as one of the finest franchises in gaming. And although developer Rockstar have been rather aggressively milking GTA V since 2013 with various re-releases and ever-expanding online multiplayer, the series was at its best in the early 2000s when it unleashed Grand Theft Auto III, Vice City, and San Andreas – something that is certainly cemented with this new ‘Definitive’ remaster of the celebrated trilogy.
With updated controls and freshly remastered visuals that give the games a fresh polish while staying true to their original art style, this passionate release is full of nothing but love for the games. Rockstar have given the three included titles a beautifully-realised fresh coat of paint that will tickle the nostalgia bone of anyone who played these masterpieces back in the 00s. While some gamers have criticised Rockstar’s decision to not update the visuals to next-gen standards, it would feel sacrilegious to distance the trilogy from their distinctive aesthetics. Further criticism has come at the bugs and glitches that have plagued the rerelease since launch, but these are thankfully slowly being fixed.
Everything you remember and love about the games is present and correct. The cheats are all there, allowing you to fly cars over San Andreas or engage in all-out citywide brawls in Liberty City, while the celebrated soundtracks return allowing you to cruise around Vice City with the finest 1980s beats in your ears.
The first two games in this bundle are fantastic entries in the series but it is the sweeping and masterful crime epic Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas that remains the highlight – as well as one of the finest games ever created. The game still compels and engrosses with its deeply layered narrative and mission variety, cementing its legendary status – and this new coat of paint certainly breathes new life into the game, introducing it to a new audience while taking us older gamers back to the good old days with great aplomb.
Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition is a passionate and addictive set of games that feels like spending time with an old (violent) friend. True fans of the games will be delighted with the results here, as the iconic art style and unforgettable stories hypnotise you all over again. It feels like 2004 again.