One of the most controversial games of all time, Grand Theft Auto III is back and now available to the mobile masses. Ten years have passed since the original release of this game back in 2001. Most gamers remember the controversy created by this game because of its inclusion of extreme violence and prostitution. Despite this game blazing new trails and pushing the envelope in terms of what is acceptable in video gaming culture, it survived. Grand Theft Auto III is now available for iOS and Android devices, although the title is not available for all Android devices, so be sure to check the marketplace to see if it is available on your device.
Grand Theft Auto III: 10 Year Anniversary is a complete overhaul of the original game that most people remember. There are a number of upgrades and additions that make this version of the game even better than the original. New textures and graphics have been implemented, updating the boxy look of the Playstation 2 / Xbox original. The draw distances have also been increased, giving the player a wider and more detailed look into the horizon, meaning less fog than in the original game. The game also runs much more smoothly than before – there is no input lag like you would expect from having all the controls on the screen itself. Whenever you are running or driving, the game doesn’t slow down, which makes playing Grand Theft Auto III: 10 Year Anniversary on the mobile platforms much more enjoyable. One of the biggest upgrades is the autosave feature. Most players remember having to find a garage to save the game, and that wasn’t always an easy undertaking. The game now saves automatically, making it easier to play than the original. Now you can play the game for 10 or 20 minutes and have the game saved where you left it, even in mid-mission. This is a great addition that really makes this game much more user-friendly. Sure, Rockstar did a lot of updating to this game, but they also kept everything that made it great intact. The open-world feeling is still there, and it allows the player to control every move of your character. You are not stuck playing the missions in any particular order, so feel free to a be a hero and take control of a police car, ambulance, or fire truck and save the citizens of Liberty City. If you want to play the game in a more sinister way, feel free to rob, beat, or murder the city’s citizens. The choice is yours, and having that choice is a powerful and satisfying feeling.
Grand Theft Auto III: 10 Year Anniversary is an open-world game but there is a storyline if you prefer to have a more linear experience. The story starts you off as an unnamed, recently escaped convict who gets a break when the police convoy he is travelling with is attacked. This unnamed prisoner (you never do find out his name) and his friend 8-ball escape and set out to find a safe house. After finding the safe house, you use 8-ball’s contacts to climb the ranks of Liberty City’s scum. You start working for drug dealers, the mob, and other deviant criminal organizations. The object of this game is to complete each mission, earn money and become the new king of sin. The plot is simple, but because it is an open-world game, there are lots of side-missions and general distractions awaiting you. The mission structure tends to be a little long, so even the simplest of missions tend to take more time than you would think. Don’t be surprised to have some missions last over thirty minutes. Thankfully, while driving you have the option to listen to 10 different radio stations with artists and songs you may have heard before such as Debby Harry, Black Rob, and Amy Holland. While some tracks were created specifically for the game, Rockstar was able to use licensed tracks from other well-known artists. The voice acting is excellent and includes great performances from Michael Madsen, Michael Rapaport, and rapper Guru. The gameplay elements outside of driving are wonderful, and we found no instances of lag or buffering on our device.
We do find it necessary to share the one complaint we have about the game, and that revolves around the driving controls. While driving, the lower-left side of your screen has a simple left and right arrow for steering the car. On the right side of the screen you have the gas, break, and hand break for quick turns. The controls make the car difficult to navigate at high speeds and make hair pin turns nearly impossible. What makes this impossible is the lack of tactile button control. Normally, gamers can feel buttons in their hands, so they can keep their concentration on the action in front of them. When you can’t feel the buttons anymore, you have to rely on seeing when they are being activated. It is extremely difficult to concentrate on the driving action and make sure that the right buttons are pushed at the right time. We think most people will experience the same issues we did, and that is really a shame considering how good a game this is.
Overall, we found this title to be excellent. The team at Rockstar did a great job adapting the game – it feels fresh while still keeping everything that made it a great game from the start. Quite frankly, this has been the best full-featured game we have played on a mobile device so far. But perhaps the biggest reason for paying the $4.99 is to relive the memories of yesteryear, which we have been doing since we acquired this game. We highly recommend this title to anyone with a mobile device.
[xrr rating=9/10, max_stars=10]
This review is based on a review copy of the iPad version of Grand Theft Auto III: 10 Year Anniversary by Rockstar Productions