Note: iOS 9 + Facebook users w/ trouble scrolling: #super sorry# we hope to fix it asap. In the meantime Chrome Mobile is a reach around
hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Grand Theft Auto III

Review: Grand Theft Auto III: 10 Year Anniversary

2:00 PM on 12.27.2011 // Jim Sterling
  @JimSterling

We live in a privileged age indeed. Less than years ago, something like Grand Theft Auto III was amazing to behold on a home console. Its size, sense of freedom, and explosive production values were so amazing, one could scarcely believe it was running on a PlayStation 2.

Now, we can get that on our mobile phones. 

Gaming has come a ridiculously long way in the ten years since Grand Theft Auto III first released, and the fact that such a game is now available on iOS devices is nothing short of amazing.

Grand Theft Auto III 10 Year Anniversary (iOS, Android)
Developer: Rockstar North, War Drum Studios
Publisher: Rockstar Games
Released: December 15, 2011
MSRP: $4.99

Grand Theft Auto III effectively defined an entire genre of game, one so popular that many games today still desperately attempt to ape its success. The open-world "sandbox" style of game may seem like a dime a dozen today, but back in 2001, the idea of a living, breathing, 3D city was staggering. We're used to it now, but opening up such a game on an iPhone or iPad goes some way toward bringing that magic back. 

As the silent Claude, players are busted from a prison transport van and let loose into Liberty City. An increasing variety of missions unlock as players undertake jobs from a rogue's gallery of nefarious crooks, but they can always earn money by driving taxis, posing as paramedics, or just beating people to death and robbing them. Doing these things still carry that simple, often sadistic, satisfaction that it had a decade ago, with GTA III proving once again that being the bad guy is jolly good fun. 

The 10 Year Anniversary edition of GTA III is more than a simple port. The game has been enhanced with fresh graphics, improving the look of characters and vehicles. While the game is still obviously dated in the visual department, the higher definition and richer textures make for a far more visually appealing game than fans are used to. Nothing has been skimped in the shrinking process either -- radio stations are all present and correct and cutscenes are fully voiced. This is Grand Theft Auto III in its entirety, only better looking, and tweaked to work with touchscreen controls. 

The touchscreen controls, however, are something of an issue, providing by far the biggest barrier toward enjoying this updated release. Despite a range of control options that make use of both the screen and the iOS device's accelerometer, there's no comfortable way to play the game. Be it walking or driving, every control scheme has its own set of unique problems, contributing to a more difficult and frustrating experience. 

There's no fixed virtual movement pad while walking, the screen instead placing one where you put your thumb. While such input can work in certain titles, I feel this particular game would have benefited more from a definitively placed pad, as allowing it to appear anywhere in such a densely packed screen often leads to one's thumb dragging off the device while trying to walk. The camera is also unhelpful, wildly swinging to accommodating the player's awkward movements. Manipulating the camera means placing a finger on Claude and dragging in a desired direction. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to guess how much the interface can get confused between walking and camera controls. 

While driving, one can either use virtual direction buttons to steer, or physically tilt the device, but either choice will be problematic. The buttons are too sensitive, causing vehicles to swerve violently left or right, while the accelerometer isn't sensitive enough, requiring exaggerated tilts in order to turn a corner effectively. Coupled with the game's already hyperactive and unrefined physics, this can lead to some annoying driving indeed, especially when racing against the clock. 

Grand Theft Auto III requires a lot of patience and practice to play on an iOS device, because despite claims of optimized controls, there are similar games on the iPhone with far more effective interfaces than the one presented here. However, those games lack the one trump card Grand Theft Auto III has that cannot be beat -- it's Grand Theft Auto III. Despite the dodgy controls and the very real frustrations present, this is still one of the most outrageous and entertaining games ever developed, and the sheer novelty of carrying it around inside a phone is worth the price of admission alone. 

Once you get used to the annoyances, all the fun of GTA III is still in place. You have to work a little harder for it, but it's all there. All except for cheat codes, unfortunately, which means that you can't spawn a rocket launcher and go crazy like you used to. With a little luck, future updates may bring these back, because let's face it, one of the best things about GTA III is dropping a tank from out of the sky and crushing cop cars. 

For a mere three bucks (Edit: This is a current sale price, regular price is $4.99. Sorry!), Grand Theft Auto III 10 Year Anniversary is very much worth picking up, even if its controls could use an overhaul. Once you get used to its awkward input, the sheer joy of riding through Liberty City is nigh impossible to deny, and the improved visuals certainly help. At the end of the day, few games are as iconic and amusing as this one, and to carry it in your pocket is something truly quite special. 



THE VERDICT

7

Grand Theft Auto III - Reviewed by Jim Sterling
Likable - That's a seven, which is actually a different number than five. It's more than ok. We like this game. I don't want to play it every day forever and ever, but it's definitely worth the time I invested in it, and I'll be picking it up again to relive the fun sometime down the line.

See more reviews or the Destructoid score guide.

Jim Sterling, Former Reviews Editor
 Follow Blog + disclosure JimSterling Tips
Destructoid reviews editor, responsible for running and maintaining the cutting edge videogame critique that people ignore because all they want to see are the scores at the end. Also a regular f... more   |   staff directory



 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our community fisters, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding *.disqus.com to your whitelists.

destructoid's previous coverage:
Grand Theft Auto III


  May 15

Grand Theft Auto Trilogy now on Amazon Fire TV and Kindle Fire

Buy GTA: San Andreas and receive 2000 Amazon Coins


View all:powered by:  MM.Elephant

Ads on destructoid may be purchased from:



Please contact Crave Online, thanks!


Cheat Codes Ep. 83: Shut Up

Comments of the Week - Love Love Love

Sonic Generations Mod Retrospective 2 - COLORS

Venture into the Borderlands - Epilogue

Pokémon X Review - Fairy Enough

Kitten Bowl x Puppy Bowl Stream Starts NOW!

Cool site never heard of before

Gravity Rush: The 6th generation game you didn't play

The Witness Review

Waifu Wars: Rei Ayanami (NGE)

 Add your impressions

 Quickposts
Status updates from C-bloggers

The Dyslexic Laywer avatarThe Dyslexic Laywer
So #TeamCap or #TeamIronMan ?
Gundy avatarGundy
*Neps Internally*
SeymourDuncan17 avatarSeymourDuncan17
Seeing as how SMT is nowhere near as massively popular as Pokemon, this probably won't become a thing. Still, I'm curious about whoever's favorite demon/persona. Mine's probably Trumpeter! Without 'em, I would've never aced P4G on Very Hard.
CoilWhine avatarCoilWhine
Playing Tearaway Unfolded without glasses on makes it looks even prettier, gives it a glossy papercraft or almost dreamlike feel to it.
Parismio avatarParismio
eating cold pizza RN. i would warm it up but eeeeeeeeeehhhhh.
Kieronpowell14 avatarKieronpowell14
Just some Marvel stuff
EAPidgeon avatarEAPidgeon
Have a good one everyone. May you enjoy bountiful carbs and fats this Super Bowl Day.
Heat avatarHeat
someone asked me what i am going to do on my vacations... "playing like 6 hours of XCOM 2 daily, then some Diablo 3. Later, Darkest Dungeon and some beers, and to end the night, i'll watch some anime and eat instant noodles" "Perfect"
The Dyslexic Laywer avatarThe Dyslexic Laywer
I've beaten the Gaping Dragon and finally got the key to Blight town, whats the first thing I immediately did when I got there? Fall right into a endless pit and died.
Bardley avatarBardley
I scanned some pages from issues of Nintendo Power from the early 90's and saw this back cover ad. I thought it would be appropriate to post today. Who's everyone rooting for tonight?
Amna Umen avatarAmna Umen
Came home pissed off for some reason, hopped on Rocket League and played the best games of my life. New tactic!
ScionVyse avatarScionVyse
10 hours into the Witness, I've solved 350 puzzles, and activated 8 lasers. So, that's about 35 puzzles an hour, I think that's a pretty good pace. I have no idea how many more puzzles there are, but I think I'll be getting towards the first ending soon.
Dreamweaver avatarDreamweaver
Shoot, I have made the awful mistake of watching 50 First Dates while doing Comments of the Week. The comedy in the beginning gave me energy, but all of the sad drama is making me cry and it's hard to see through all the tears. WHY YOU DO THIS TO ME!? 8^8
Zatsune avatarZatsune
I'm eating EDO's rn. Leftovers. Yum. 🍱🍣🍜🍲
ikiryou avatarikiryou
Kotobukiya's making a Xenoblade Chronicles X Formula skell model that looks great but I'd rather have a Lailah model. And I would name it Tharja just like my Lailah in the game.
ChrisHannard avatarChrisHannard
Damn you, TV Tropes. As if I wasn't already dead set against doing an Undertale genocide run, this has killed the possibility for me.
TheDefenestrator avatarTheDefenestrator
About to start streaming some This War Of Mine: The Little Ones on Twitch. Say hi! http://www.twitch.tv/thedefenestrator
FakePlasticTree avatarFakePlasticTree
Majima karaoke & the man train--Makes Dead Souls worth it <3
Roxas1359 avatarRoxas1359
Yep, Spyro: Enter the Dragonfly is still as bad and unpolished as I remember it. Still manages to give me a headache too due to the choppy framerate.
absolutfreak avatarabsolutfreak
When aliens have taken over the world, there's only one man you can depend on: Macho Man Randy Savage.
more quickposts


Contest!


Seriously

Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme


Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo



Back to Top


We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -