RETRO – In RockStar North’s 2002 masterpiece you can steal cars, kill bystanders, smash their head in with a baseball bat, commit robberies, and gain energy by picking up prostitutes – the crimes and amorality are fully embraced in this game. Once you are done with your evil urges, you can try and finish the main storyline that runs through multiple threads!
The massive hype was leading up to GTA 3; maybe such hype only occurred before the release of Black and White. GTA 3 was so successful on the PS2 that it became the game of the year on multiple sites and beat such mega hit as Halo.
Watch out, or the church will disavow you!
First of letting me be clear by saying that this game is really for the adult gaming community. I could copy paste South Park’s or Beavis and Butthead’s warning text: GTA 3 is extremely brutal – and not just in the usual Carmageddon way.
In this game, you can pretty much commit any crime you want, and some missions require to commit a few of them to succeed. Ally yourself with crime syndicates, and contact corrupt cops.
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You’ll have to complete such assassination that would make Hitman sick as you’ll not only kill mafia dons, but sometimes you’ll have to kill innocents that have angered the mobs for some reason.
Of course, in the beginning, you’ll only start off as a driver, as you end up as a nobody after a bank robbery gone wrong in Liberty City. During the robbery, your girlfriend betrayed you, and the cops arrested you, however, the transport vehicle was attacked, and you were freed.
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After the first mission (you have to pick up a prostitute, and take her to her pimp), you can do what you want, travel around the city, steal cars, and other trucks (the most awesome one is the garbage truck).
If you get a taxi, cop car, fire truck, or ambulance you can complete sidequests such as: transporting people, catching criminals, putting out fires, and picking up wounded to transport them to the nearest hospital.
The first thing you’ll notice is the huge city that is offered to the player as a virtual playground. This is the second biggest map in GTA history until GTA III and is only smaller when compared to Morrowind. You can travel around main, side roads, alleys, parks, and other places in GTA 3’s city that you’ll be bound to get lost. It can take a while to get to familiarize yourself, and you’ll be shocked to learn that, the part you were traveling in was only the smaller part of the city. The larger part is even more complex and maze-like.
Of course, size is not the only factor: it is great seeing the „good citizens” doing their daily routines: the pimps hitting the whores, the gang wars occurring in the middle of the street, the ambulances rushing to save some pitiful gangster’s life etc. I also noticed that some buses only were active at certain times, which made it even more fun to drag out the driver from behind the wheels.
Yep, the day and night cycles, just like in other RPGs such as Morrowind here the mechanic is also present, and different weather effects are also in the game ( thick fog, rain, rainbows, etc.). All of these look great, and the best of all is about buildings since they are not just paintings, but if you go to them they will be there!
Once you know where to go, and did „good” for Liberty City, it is time to complete the main missions. At first you’ll handle secondary objectives for small-time bandits, but later down the line you’ll earn a name for yourself, and the real heavy hitters will start providing you with jobs.
For every important mission, there is a cutscene, and these were written superbly, but they are also voiced by such names as Michael Madsen, Kyle McLachlan, Joe Pantoliano and Robert Loggia
The gameplay mostly is none linear so you can do what you want, and can even complete multiple missions from different crime bosses, yet all of these are linked very well to the main story. Introducing a storyline to the GTA franchise is a new thing, and here it is well done (especially considering how deep, and twisty it is).
After the many positives, we now reach one of GTA 3’s most debated part, the artificial intelligence. On the one hand the AI is great: If you are doing something atrocious, the cops will coordinate and try to take you down.
If you stop or slow down too much the cops will run to your car, and drag you out of your car then you can go to prison (again), the same thing happens with other enemy gang members or civilians, they’ll try to get their vehicle back.
The Indian taxi driver usually does not let you take the vehicle without a peep, and if you are not quick enough, he’ll drag you out of the car. Other drivers however at times will run away screaming.
On the other hand, the AI is not superb. The cops sometimes do not care, even if you steal a car in front of them, or that I break every law on the road and even damage a few vehicles along the way – not that realistic.
The „Driver” and Max Payne in one person
I liked however that the difference between all the vehicles could be felt: „the giant ass” trucks, buses, convoys, the fast Banshees, and other racing cars all handled very differently. (Once you reach the richer neighborhoods in the game you’ll be able to use a whole lot of new drives).
When our character gets out of the car, he can be controlled as any other TPS game, such as Max Payne – he even almost looks like him. If we wield any weapons, a reticle will appear. I must say that our character moves a bit choppier than Max Payne does, and the action scenes are not that superb, but since two genres mix in one game it is entirely acceptable in this case.
„Funny, brutal, cynical, loud mouth – and fun!”
We can find a few weird stuff in the game. For example, I did not understand the need for so amount of money. Okay, you can buy weapons, spend it in the hospital, vehicle repairs, etc but what am I supposed to do with so much money that would allow me to buy up the entire mafia?
Regardless of these smaller issues the game is impressive: the city is colossal, there are a lot of opportunities, and the story is great. The game will probably be considered a classic later down the line.
-Bad Sector- (2002)
+ Huge city
+ Varied gameplay
+ Lots of stuff to do
– Claude is muted
– MI problem
– No multiplayer
Developer: Rockstar North
Genres: open world, 3D, action