Grand Theft Auto III

aka: GTA 3, GTA III, GTA3, GTA: Liberty City, Grand Theft Auto III: 10 Year Anniversary
Moby ID: 5189

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Critic Reviews add missing review

Average score: 94% (based on 63 ratings)

Player Reviews

Average score: 3.8 out of 5 (based on 191 ratings with 14 reviews)


The Good

The Bad

The Bottom Line

PlayStation 2 · by T DAW · 2023

Mindless Violence, Repetitive gameplay, but its fun

The Good
The graphics engine is a work of art, which you CAN confuse and end up in untextured areas, but this is just a minor problem when faced with the prospect of texturing an entire city like is done here. As a driving game the physics are good, and are aimed at making the game actually fun to play but keeping semi-realistic properties.

The Bad
I am not a big fan of the sheer mindlessness of the violence, there is no punishment for killing the innocents in the game (State of Emergency at least as this). The gameplay gets very repetitive very quickly, sure theres loads of different things to do, but they all boil down to kill this, blow up this etc etc. There are some very good missions which i enjoyed, but they are few and far between.

The Bottom Line
My one-line summary sums up the game pretty well i believe. It is a lot of fun, and you can do anything you desire in the game, but there are limits to the variety in the missions, and the graphic engine, while very beautiful and a technical masterpiece on the PS2, has flaws which enable you to end up looking down an untextured street and occasionally slows down quite a lot.

PlayStation 2 · by Jason Walker (1695) · 2002

An excellent game

The Good
Grand Theft Auto 3 simply is amazing. The freedom to do almost anything you want is what gives it it's edge. You're not held down by rules, you can basically do anything you want. Do a mission or just walk around. Steal a car or shoot a pimp. The choice is yours. The music's also amazing. Everything was created for the game and it sounds simply amazing. Opera, rap, rock and talk, you can listen to what you want, basically when you want. DMA Design has left little out and have done an amazing job.

The Bad
Not much. Actually, basically nothing. The game does go a little overboard with some mature stuff, but that's about it.

The Bottom Line
A very violent and mature game that features addictive gameplay, good graphics, and amazing sound. One of the best games made in a long time and should be played by all mature enough to own it. DO NOT RENT THIS GAME, JUST BUY IT

PlayStation 2 · by SamandMax (75) · 2002

Quite simply the finest game on PS2...a must-play!

The Good
Literally, everything. GTA3 places you in the shoes of a nameless thug, whose piddling criminal career is seemingly cut short after his girlfriend, Catalina, doublecrosses him. However, he escapes the clutches of the law, and subsequently farms himself out to every pimp, mob boss and gangster of Liberty City. You'll find yourself partaking in nearly every illegal activity under the sun, including car-bombing, hijacking, murdering selectively and wantonly and engaging in a little premarital intercourse with some choice ladies of the night. The sheer amount of things you can do in this game is immense, meaning that if you get tired of the linear missions, you can simply drive around the city, looking for secret passages, insane jumps and hidden rampage icons.

The Bad
Nothing, really. While some might complain about the difficulty level of some of the missions, I found the hard ones to be refreshing in this age of digital indulgence. So many games hold your hand and swaddle your butt that it's almost impossible to find a genuinely challenging experience. Kudos to DMA Design for kicking my ass several hundred times!

The Bottom Line
Two parts driving, two parts third-person action game, two parts felonious guilty pleasure, mix and bake. I should note that this is the kind of game that makes non-gamers sit up and take notice.

PlayStation 2 · by Lucas Schippers (57) · 2002

this is the greatest game ever accept no substitutes EVER !!!!!!!

The Good
the entire game was and is great i bought the game last november 2001. and i am still playing it to this day no other game has been as addictive to me like this one has the controls and game play are great simple and after about 5 or 10 minutes of cruising around town youll be at home with the controls. i was kind of put off before i played it because i thought the other 2 sequels were and are cr*p but the look it had made me buy it and im glad i did .

the size of the areas you can explore in each part of the city is amazing (area 1) portland (area 2) staunton island (area 3) shoreside vale. the best car to drive is the banshee (dodge viper) its fast and has great handling. it can be found in area 1 at the car show room and in area 2 at the car park of kenji`s casino and at the car park of the building where you work for the japanese chick next to the water and in area three at the car park on the way down the snake like road to your hide out in shoreside vale(after you cross the bridge in the third area)or if you see one in the street (tax it - steal it).

the missions are fun and some of them are a challenge but if you keep at it youll figure out a way to get past it. missions range from simple ones like picking someone up and droping them off to drive by shootings to assassinations basically everything all those mafia guys do and other criminals do its fun and addictive. i have been playing this game since nov 2001 when it was released and i am still playing it today you dont know the meaning of the word addiction till you play this game . the story has a kind of moovy feel to it it draws you in to it and makes you feel as if you are in a hollywood moovy which is partly to blame for it being so addictive. i could go on and on about this game but i will not this is the best game ever and its the best game on the ps2 better looking than it`s pc version. i hope the next one gta-vice city is as good as this little beauty.

The Bad
the radio stations were and are cr*p not one decent station. they should have included a metal/rock station after all that is what you call driving music it gets you all worked up and ready to kick rearend. and also makes you want to drive faster which in this game is exactly what you need.

the company are called - rockstar - so why did they not put a station on that was rock ?.

thank christ they gave you an option to turn the crp off if you did not like it . it`s because they gave you this option that the game is still great . if you never had this option then i would not have it in my collection.

The Bottom Line*
if you are looking for a decent game i.e not rpg or strategy or platform or sports then this is for you . if you like a game that involves cars then look no further because this is one hell of a good game the handling of the cars is good unless you tax a bus or a bucket lorry(trash collector) :). and you be kicking arse in no time at all controls are easy to get the hang of .

PlayStation 2 · by Iced Earth (9) · 2002

A great game, beaten only by Vice City

The Good
This game is fantastic, the possiblities are literally endless, you can walk, drive, and fly (a little) for hours on end. the whole mindless violence side of the game was very appealing. The fact that you can pick up a weapon, and just roam and kill was a right laugh. Doing the missions was great fun, organised mindless violence - muy bien!

The Bad
Although its not as big as Vice City, it is still a massive game, and I have gotten lost on several occassions, that was a bit time consuming when you've lost the map.

The Bottom Line
A fab game, topped only by its sequel.

PlayStation 2 · by David Lafferty (11) · 2003

Groundbreaking in 2001, dated in 2005

The Good
Okay kids, set the wayback machine for late 2001.

A somewhat nascent PS2 had been available in the United States for about a year, and while some major titles had been released already (Final Fantasy X, for example) the platform had yet to see a truly revolutionary title.

Enter Grand Theft Auto 3.

Your nameless character, wandered the tough streets of Liberty City, taking jobs from various underworld bosses, all the while trying to take out the partner who (metaphorically) stabs you in the back at the beginning of the game.

Those of us who had played the PS1 religiously saw this one coming from a mile away. Back in the summer of 1999 there were three games constantly spinning in the PSs of the world, Grand Theft Auto 2, Driver, and Syphon Filter. Grand Theft Auto 3 was a combination of the best features of all three of these, inside of a car, the game was basically an update of Driver; your action on foot was almost identical to that of Syphon Filter; finally, the whole thing was tied together by the open ended, kill-em-all, gangster/gangsta style of Grand Theft Auto 2.

It was a veritable wet dream for PS1 fanatics; and a defining moment for the PS2 platform.

Part of the success of this game is due to the fact that back in 2001, open ended (or “sandbox”) games were virtually unheard of; they just were not as popular or technologically feasible as more linear games. This game changed all that, not only was the mission structure non-linear, but the missions themselves almost without exception, totally non-linear. Instead of the player completing a mission by following pre-determined paths or utilizing a highly rare resource at the exact moment the programmer desired, the player could play through a mission HIS way.

This carried over to the rest of the game; you could play through the mission structure in the order you preferred, using whatever tools you happened to find.

It was new, it was fresh, and everyone ate it up. The success of GTA 3 made “sandbox” games an industry standard, and a slew of them followed, for every type of platform and every type of situation; but it all started with GTA 3.

The Bad
Okay, back in 2001, when this game was first released, the only real complaints that one could have about this game were because of the 1) shoddy camera system and 2) the shoddy targeting system. Even 4 years ago these systems were hard to use/control and glitchy.

Circa 2005, however, there are a whole host of complaints one could make about this game.

Graphics: This game looks pretty ugly by modern standards, the graphics are only slightly better than what one could expect from a PS1. Textures, resolution, etc. all bite the big one, and just can not compete up with anything released in the last 2 years.

Sounds/Music: Unlike modern games or any of the later GTA games, the music in this game is generally pretty awful. Most of the tunes in this game were created in-house at Rockstar/DMA and do reach the standards set by the soundtracks of Vice City or San Andreas.

Control: As mentioned above, the camera and targeting control in this game was bad back in 2001, it is HORRIBLE by today’s standards. You will constantly fight against these systems during this game.

Story: This game has a very thin storyline, nowhere near as developed as later GTA games. I believe that DMA purposely created the game this way to accentuate the open-endedness of the gameplay, but it is lacking nonetheless.

Gameplay: This is the one category where GTA 3 matches up with later games. You can do basically whatever you want, to whomever you want, wherever you want. As long as you don’t want to fly a helicopter, the gameplay is almost identical to Vice City.

The Bottom Line
This game was an instant classic when released. It has become a bit dated in the following years as newer games have refined and revamped it's basic formula.

PlayStation 2 · by Edward Beezy (27) · 2005

GTA3 is the game that GTA1 and 2 wanted to be

The Good
I'm not that much in modern action or driving games but I always kept a watching eye for the GTA series. The first was good, the second a bit crappy, and well, the third was a revolution in the series, let's see why:

Fun and original missions.

Being in 3D really adds to the experience, it's very realistic, maybe after playing that game, taking a walk through the city at sunset in real life, you will think to yourself: "Damn, those are good graphics".

The plot itself gets more serious, the first GTA games were too humoristic and ridiculous, also there is an objective for your main character, not only going and doing missions for the sake of it.

The music also is very well chosen, you can run through the city listening to some trance tunes, the soundtrack to the classic 80s film 'Scarface', or even some Opera!

The Bad
Some missions are a bit hard or stupid (why shall i kill X number of gang members shooting them from a car? Can't I go there and make them eat some grenades?)

The car fisics sometimes feel a bit odd, but just sometimes.

I have also found some bugs too (which don't happen very often), when driving too fast some graphics don't have enough time to load and just appear in front of you, "ghost cars" that got trapped trying to walk through a wall, and a few more.

The Bottom Line
That's maybe the only action/driving game I have really enjoyed in my life.

PlayStation 2 · by Depth Lord (934) · 2005

A realistic, revolutionary title that gets passed off a mindless violence

The Good
As a teenager, this was one of my favorite games. The idea that there was an entire 3D city open to me to do anything I wanted to was a completely new thing to me at the time. No game ever offered me a chance to do this, and as a result, I spent a huge amount of time playing it.

I am, however, disappointed at the fan base the GTA series has created. Most casual gamers see this as the game to shoot a bunch of people while stealing cars and having sex with hookers. As a result, most serious gamers see the game as mindless, repetitive, and boring with nothing to offer but mindless violence and thrills. I am tired of the title this game carries as nothing but a violent, overrated game from 2001. It is way more than that and it deserves more.

The game has one of the best storylines I have seen from a sandbox game. The player is presented with a typical situation of rising up into the crime ladder to get revenge on your girlfriend who shot you during a bank heist and left you for dead. As the story progresses, you will notice things like how gang members will respect you and help you throughout the game. You will be backstabbed by multiple groups of people, and as a result, the groups you have betrayed or have been betrayed by will take it upon themselves to shoot you on sight. The game has some of the most memorable characters and lines of dialogue in any game.

The main character, named Claude Speed (revealed to us in GTA: San Andreas) is the “silent protagonist”. The game developers felt that a personality and voice for the character would get in the way of your own personality. As a result, you can picture that main character any way you want, whether he’s a ruthless killer, or a loyal servant, or just a guy looking out for himself. It doesn’t matter which way you look at him because there is nothing in the way of telling you what to think of him.

The openness of the game is perfect for anything. If you want to do missions, then you are fine to do so. But you can also do a number of sub-missions like firefighter missions, ambulance missions, collecting hidden packages, driving people around in the taxi, and finding cars to deliver to the garage. You can entertain yourself with all of these things (and plenty more ways!). Or just do the simple thing and go on a rampage. The possibilities are endless when it comes to game play and the replay value is through the rough!

The controls are smooth and easy to learn after a few seconds of playing. Driving feels natural and is easy to get a hang of even after a few minutes of driving.

The missions in the game are NEVER the same. One mission you may be partaking in a gang war, another time you are shooting cops off of high-rises, and another time you’re just collecting the protection money that you need. To list every type of mission would take forever because nearly every mission is new, which makes sure the game play never gets stale.

The gangster atmosphere is very realistic in the game. The good parts are that enemy gangsters will recognize you either as an enemy or a friend in the game. When you are a friend, they will sometimes help you out by shooting a pursuing cop, or maybe an enemy gang member. As enemies, though, they shoot at you or your car on sight. This gives you diplomacy towards other gangs, and gives a nice gangster atmosphere with themes of loyalty and betrayal.

The greatest attention is pad to the tiniest of details to make the world seem as real and immersive as possible. Attention is paid to small details like billboards, cars, road signs, and traffic cones to make the city seem like a living, breathing world that you could destroy. Graphics on cars are relatively good for their time. People say things like “watch it!” or “Are you blind!?” when you hit them or are driving poorly. They yell and scream when you begin to shoot in the streets. The fact that the radio not played in certain vehicles like the police car or plane because they don’t have them in real life adds more immersion to the game and the illusion that this is all a real place with real people. Randomly it will rain or be foggy to make it seem like the city has weather. Day and night cycle around (with a real 24 hour clock to aid you) combined with the weather makes the city seem alive and moving and not just a city put on repeat mode every time you turn on the game. It is a great detail that, unlike the previous titles, every car is different in their own way. Sports cars, while fast and sleek, break easily and blow up quickly, while trucks and vans, which are slow and have poor turning, can take quite a beating from cars. All of this adds up to one cool experience in a realistic sandbox world.

Music, though taken directly from real life, is played cleverly through the system of the radio. Instead of making the game seem shoddy by taking songs from real life artists, it makes it seem MORE realistic by putting them on the radio and only played when you’re in a car or vehicle. The songs on the radio are taken directly from the time period, with the exception of the 80’s and classical music stations, both of which have songs taken directly from that era. This, again, adds to the immersion of the game.

Finally, the fact that these types of games were nearly unheard of at the time of this game’s release makes this game a great must-have for any fan of the series. Not only did it make sandbox games a standard industry practice, but it set in motion a new genre of gaming which no one had ever heard of before.

The Bad
A lot of this game’s problems come with AI and graphics. The AI, while it is smart at some parts, is very stupid at other parts. If you stand atop a high rise and fire at the crowd below, police will ram into the wall where you are standing and fire at it. They make no attempt to even aim upwards, which really makes things like rise sniping a very boring and easy task. Also, the people in the city, while seeming extremely life-like an animated, go nowhere in the city. They mindlessly wander streets, and if you follow one person, you will notice that they circle the city for hours with nowhere to go. This really takes away from some of the realism that the game has to offer.

The graphics aren’t perfect for the time. In a time where games like Final Fantasy X were coming out, this game has some lack-luster graphics. It is understandable though that the graphics were stripped down a bit to make sure the game runs without any lag at all. However, the graphics when compared to other games are satisfactory enough to deliver a realistic sandbox game while not completely concentrating on the eye candy. However a lot of good can come out of this. From the lowered graphics I have never ever experienced slowdown or lag, even when the screen is flooded with bodies, FBI cars, and people running and shooting everywhere.

A huge gaping detail they left out is the fact that you can’t interact at all with people or buildings in the city. The only building you can go into is the ammunition and guns store. People won’t talk to you if you go up to them, and nothing can be picked up except guns and other icons lying around that give you missions or hidden packages. Had this been included in the game, it would have made this game even more revolutionary for its time.

The game unfortunately has a limited amount of guns. The two sequels to this game came with three sets of guns, all of them equally interesting and fun to play with. This game had a relatively small amount of guns in its arsenal compared to some other shooters on the console which limits some of the replay value of going around just shooting anything that moves.

Another tiny annoyance that the game has is the fact that it has no easy way of returning to a contact point when you die or get busted. Unlike Vice City, where the game made a taxi show up to bring you to your last mission spot, you have to travel all the way back to the mission spot to get to try the mission again. Sometimes this an get so annoying that you will end up dying on the way there trying to find shortcuts through all of the traffic.

Another problem does not lie with the developers, but with the parents and people who play them. This game, because it displays such a realistic portrayal of violence and crime in the big city, is unsuitable for children. As a result this game carries a bad name with Christian and parenting groups. The truth is that this game is completely acceptable to play if you are not able to handle the type of violence depicted in this game. I do not think violent video games belong in the hands of children, and in order to enjoy this game you need to be mature enough to know the difference between real and fantasy. It is strongly recommended that children do not play this game.

Finally, a huge problem with the game is again not the developer’s fault, but the gamers’. The fact is that this game NEVER gets taken seriously enough to be considered a deep game where in fact that it is one of the most realistic and deep sandbox games of its time. The fact that this game allows players to do nothing but shoot up pedestrians and ride of curbs does not mean that that is the entire game. In fact, it is very far from it.

The Bottom Line
Not only did GTA 3 have a profound effect on the gaming industry, it had an effect on the gamers as well. GTA 3 is just as entertaining as it was 4 years ago. Its influences on modern games are hard to ignore in today’s video games. Too many times this game has not been taken seriously as a revolutionary title because it is known for its mindless violence and its controversy. GTA 3 is undoubtedly a revolutionary title that is worth a try, as long as you can truly appreciate it.

PlayStation 2 · by Matt Neuteboom (975) · 2005

Quite possibly the best game ever

The Good
This game is just great, from just messing around killing cops to the actual missions that are quite fun. The game was improved in every aspect over GTA2, especially in graphics. Now there's about 6 views which are all in 3D. The music is great to, even though the songs might get a little old after a while it's still enjoyable. There's 8 radio stations each has 30 minutes to 2 hours in soundtrack time. The best is Chatterbox 109, it will keep you laughing over and over again. There's a pretty good selection of weapons, baseball bat, pistol, Uzi, AK-47, Shotgun, M-16, Rocket Launcher, Grenade, Molotov Coctail, and probably the most entertaining, the flame thrower. Another part that adds a little more to the game is the ability to do a drive by with the Uzi.

The Bad
There's not much bad with this game, some missions are a little hard but never impossible. There's very little slowdown even with FBI cars flooding the screen.

The Bottom Line
This game is the best the PS2 has to offer, if you don't mind a little senseless killing then you must buy this game!!!

PlayStation 2 · by Matt Ogles (14) · 2002

Kudos to Rockstar and DMA

The Good
Everything about this game is amazing, the 3d graphics (A first for the series), the sound and music, the missions (A real storyline this time around), great AI, a real sense of a living cause havoc in, addictive gameplay, the list goes on and on. Rockstar and DMA have put a lot of work into this one, and it shows.

The Bad
Well, nothing much really, just that some of the missions are difficult, very difficult.

The Bottom Line
An amazing next generation game. This is one game you HAVE to play.

PlayStation 2 · by JL3001 (17) · 2002

You can have my controller when you pry it from my cold, dead fingers, mom.

The Good
This is the classic game paradigm. Not in any pedestrian sense of pushing back boundaries or anything like that, but by refining what exists, throwing in lots of extras, and creating a damn convincing illusion of a living, breathing world. You can forget the straightforward goal for hours and hours and find dozens of other things to do, both on foot and in vehicles. You can pick up fares in taxis, rescue injury victims in an ambulance, chase down felons in a cop car, attempt to fly a wingless plane, and even gain money performing stupid aerial stunts, complete with the old Dukes of Hazzard slow-mo pan shot. It's hard to do this game justice in a simple review, and it's impossible to justify enjoying the extremely antisocial and politically incorrect goals. So I won't try. I'll just say I like it and you can deal with that. What I'm saying is that this game is a subtle return to the ideal that YOU affect the game, a freedom that's been severely cramped ever since 3D became the new standard and made games smaller. This one feels like it's bursting at the seams, with a city, weather, day cycle, pedestrians, traffic, operating shops, and trashable environments. Just walk out and pick a fight. Cops around? You'll be chased. Use lethal resistance and they'll step up their efforts likewise. Do a few more bad deeds and in come the choppers, then the FBI, then the tanks. Steal a boat and find another island. Watch as you abuse your car and the section that gets hit or scraped takes the abuse, windows smashing out and trunks and hoods flying off. Just TRY it. And the biggest accomplishment is possibly that even with this foray into 3D, the gameplay remains largely unchanged, but greatly enhanced.

The Bad
Well, like any other game, if you look hard enough cracks start to show in the virtual world presented. Cars and pedestrians will sometimes appear in the distance by magic, and a lot of the time the ones out of your line of sight vanish by the time you look back over at them. On foot, it can be really hard to target the particular target you want in a crowd of pedestrians, and in a hectic situation this can be fatal. I could gripe about the later missions being REALLY HARD, but maybe I'm just a whiner.

The Bottom Line
Lock the kids in the basement and indulge. If you describe "The Godfather" as "one of the great comedies of our times," you're not only really warped, but perfectly suited for this game.

PlayStation 2 · by Vance (94) · 2002

Endless possibilities await with this game.

The Good
Endless violence and gore await with this game. The gang violence is awesome in this game along with the original features like stealing cars and weapons. Shootomg innocent bystanders is an added bonus.

The Bad
Only being outdone by Vice City is the diwn side.

The Bottom Line
Anyone except for little children and adults would love this game so buy it unless you have a weak stomach.

PlayStation 2 · by Exodia85 (2147) · 2003

This is not a game

The Good
I played this one a few times at a friend of mine. I don't own a playstation. But I was impressed by the graphics and the way it sounds. I hope the PC-version will be so good. If I decide to buy it.

When I played it for the first time, I thought it was funny. Kill innocent pedestrians, destroy everything what moves or stands still. I was surprised that the gameplay of the other GTA-games was intact and now in 3d. No more bad graphics, like in the first GTA, but now very smooth graphics.

The Bad
The bad side of the game, is not directly done by the programmers. They have done a great job. But it is the fact, it is to realistic. The other GTA-games have a more comicstyle. So It feels ok to do bad stuff, but now it look likes you are doing things in real.

Don't understand me wrong on this, the most people now the different between fiction and non-fiction. But there are also people outside who don't know the difference. What will happened then, will they play the game. But now in real life, will they walk through New York and shoot every cop they see on the street, will they run to a driving car and kill the driver, so that he or she can sell that car or use it to run over people.

I hope these people do not exist, but when you hear the news, you must know how crazy and sick this world can be. This game only gives it a perfect reflection of that sickness.

The Bottom Line
Only buy it, when you are not mentally ill. And only play it with a lot of sarcasm and irony of how this world can be.

PlayStation 2 · by Buuks (197) · 2002

Contributors to this Entry

Critic reviews added by Flu, nyccrg, Big John WV, Geoffrey Perez, Wizo, lights out party, Cavalary, Zaibatsu, Mobygamesisreanimated, Patrick Bregger, shphhd, Alsy, Evilhead, ryanbus84, Yearman, Mike G, kurama, Parf, Lain Crowley, Jivé GameTrip, mikewwm8, Jeanne, yenruoj_tsegnol_eht (!!ihsoy), jumpropeman.