Basically, GTA III was an arc of five games*, that stretched from III, to Vice City Stories. Plus all of them showed up on the PS2, and I have them all.
* Not sure if GTA Advance is part of it, or just an extension of the 2D games.
So just for fun, I'm going to compare aspects of them, to see which is the best of them. Okay, it's San Andreas, but not in a sweep.
Plus all aspects will be rated by the PS2 versions, just to make it as fair as possible.
This is a tough one. We all know the games weren't known for their looks. Yet it's a matter of what they did with the resources that counts. In this case, I'm giving it to Vice City stories. The textures are the smoothest and the most detailed. San Andreas gets second place. Liberty City Stories loses points for muddy textures. They might have been nice on the PSP version, but converting them to the PS2 was slapdash compared to VCS.
San Andreas by a mile. It's the only one with all these at once: free camera, free aiming, movement while aiming, climbing fences, free swimming, and free radio control (which is odd, since the PSP versions of LCS and VCS allowed that).
Here, Vice City Stories has the advantage. It's the only one with convenience features, like continuing emergency missions, buying back your weapons lost, and marking all hidden packages found (in this case, balloons).
He's a close one. San Andreas has the most missions, but VCS also has quite a selection of goofy missions to have fun with. Yet I'll still give the edge to SA.
GTA III. It was the first. Duh. The others amount to just refinements, except for SA adding elements from The Sims.
This is a hard one, due to me looking at the stations individually, more than as a whole. So I'll rate them by how many of the stations I like. In this case, it's more of me liking the LCS radio the least. It just seemed to be phoning it in at points.
As for the best, I'll give the tie to SA and VCS, both for the music selections, and the funny talk sections and ads.
Vice City Stories. The artwork was the best, and the music stuck with me the most of all of them.
This one I'm giving to Vice City. I found San Andreas stretched parts too much, and rushed others.
Such as officer Tenpenny getting off for murder, and riots starting, all in the same mission intro. The Rodney King riot took a little longer than five seconds.
Vice City Stories would have the edge, but some story parts just fall flat. Vice City kept the quality high throughout.
As I stated, it was San Andreas, due to the tight controls, plus the epic scope. Yet VCS comes close with a few other great points.
Basically, the least was LCS. It isn't bad, just the least of a great series.