Best GTA Games: Ranked From Worst To Best

Daria Paterek

The GTA franchise is one of my favourite gaming series. With many versatile, creative, and ground-breaking entries, it is no surprise that it is Rockstar Games’ most profitable franchise (accumulating over $6 billion in revenue)With the release of the GTA Trilogy: Definite Edition tomorrow, Daria reflects on the most memorable instalments of the series. 

5) Grand Theft Auto IV- The Worst

‘Let’s go bowling.’

GTA IV is dark. Not only story-wise but also aesthetically. While this style fits into the overall theme of the game (the idea that the American Dream is fake) the colour scheme is boring and depressing. 

Fans of GTA IV praise it for being realistic. The unsuccessful pursuit of the ‘American Dream’ by a disillusioned Eastern European immigrant, the dark feel of Liberty City, and the ‘realistic’ car mechanics bring an element of realism to GTA. Yet the shift to realism simply did not work for me. 

The mechanics are a big let-down. Cars feel heavy, and there is no ability to drift, making driving missions much harder than they should be. The friendship aspect of the game is ridiculous, with characters calling Niko every five minutes and constantly disrupting him. However, I have to give credit to the DLCs. The DLCs, The Lost and The Damned and The Ballad of Gay Tony are directly interconnected to the main game and have memorable characters which appear in GTA V.

Overall, GTA IV lacks what is essential in a GTA game: fun.

4) Grand Theft Auto: Vice City

‘Dumb. Florida. Moron.’

The best thing about GTA: VC is the style. Its colour, music, and setting transports the player back to the blissful ’80s. GTA: VC oozes with style, and it is the most distinctive addition to the series. Set in Vice City, modelled after Miami, the game has led many players hoping for Rockstar Games to set GTA: VI in Vice City. Additionally, the music in GTA: VC is the best amongst all of the GTA games (sorry Non-Stop-Pop FM!). 

The reason why GTA: VC is low on this list is because it doesn’t hold up well in 2021. The graphics are simple, the mechanics are outdated, and what Tommy can do is very limiting (no swimming or climbing).

But the atmosphere is unforgettable. 

3) Grand Theft Auto III

‘I see nothing but good things for you my boy.’

Now, ranking GTA III this high is controversial since many people consider it the worst GTA game. And I understand that- it’s the oldest title on this list, it has a mute protagonist, and it feels outdated. 

GTA III was the first GTA game that I owned, on the first console that I owned (the PS2). Not only is the game very nostalgic to me, but GTA III was also game-changing. It set the direction for its successors and was a phenomenon when released. A game with an open world, dynamic weather, in-game radio, a day/night cycle; the masterful elements of the game just keep coming.

2) Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

‘Ah s***, here we go again.’

GTA: SA was the first GTA game that I played. I was about 12, and I played it with my younger cousins on their PS2, writing down cheat codes on a piece of paper. GTA: SA was a ground-breaking experience and the game that made me fall in love with the franchise. Released in 2004, GTA: SA was ahead of itself, containing more content and depth than many AAA titles in the 2020s. The possibilities in GTA: SA are endless. You can go to the gym, learn martial arts, get a girlfriend, gamble and rob houses.  GTA: SA contains three distinct cities, endless side activities, and pioneering vehicles.

What makes GTA: SA still so relevant in 2021 is its writing. GTA: SA is still talked about due to its comedic appeal, the depth of its characters, and the iconic quotes.

1) Grand Theft Auto V – The Best

‘You forget a thousand things every day. You make sure this is one of ’em.’

In my opinion, GTA V is perfect. It possesses the qualities that I find integral for a great video game: re-playability, attention to detail, memorable characters, and strong storytelling. I have replayed GTA V multiple times, and I can never get bored of it. Even driving around, exploring the massive map and all its secrets, is satisfying and entertaining. 

A weakness of GTA V is that there is a lot of missed potential. Empty casinos, no DLCs, and the focus on online means there is still potential for improvement.

Daria Paterek

Featured Image courtesy of steamXO via Flickr. Image license found here. No changes were made to this image.

In-article video courtesy of Rockstar Games and IGN via @youtube.com. No changes were made to this video.

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