Grand Theft Auto: Vice City

I loved my time with each title in Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto series, and the “trilogy” of Grand Theft Auto III, Vice City, and San Andreas is considered by many to be the pinnacle of that series. I look back at these games fondly, but I admit that’s mostly through the lens of nostalgia — I really had no desire to go back and play any of them in their original states. Too much time has passed, and video games have evolved too much. I’ve never been someone who can forgive the clumsiness of the past, especially when the medium has made so many strides in the intervening years. (I have, however, pined over the absence of Grand Theft Auto IV on modern consoles).

When Rockstar finally confirmed that this particular trilogy was getting remastered… well, I was optimistically skeptical that I might actually bother to pick them up. Maybe. Possibly.

But after having read more about the improvements Rockstar made to the control and player experience, as well as the graphical improvements (goofy-looking character models aside), I gotta say, I think I’m pumped to check out the newer renditions of these classic titles. If the claims hold true, having a new control scheme more closely resembling contemporary Rockstar titles is itself almost enough to justify replaying these older games. But the fact that Rockstar overhauled textures and lighting, improved the draw distance, and even touched up the amount of NPCs, both on foot and behind the wheel, makes this package a lot more tantalizing.

Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition

And look, I get it — the core elements will still remain as they were, and the basic mission structures stand out as perhaps the weakest link in these older games. But considering how they are, in some ways, still leaps and bounds beyond — if not at the very least on par with — what the genre delivers to this day, I don’t think those flaws will stand in the way of having a good time with Grand Theft Auto III… Although, I say this with the caveat that it’s been twenty years since I’ve played it.

Now, I’ve seen grumblings from the community about this oddly named release. Some are pointing out that blades of grass in a recently released screenshot are clipping through the sidewalk, so this remaster will therefore be a complete embarrassment. To which I respond, have you seen grass in even the latest AAA games? You’d think they were bandmates with Daveed Diggs, if you want to talk about clipping. Another post I saw complained that the subway visibly didn’t line up with the track it was running on. Son, this is still the core game that was developed twenty years ago; get your mind right.

For me, just seeing these games from my youth with a new coat of paint and a better control scheme will be enough to peel my wig back, to use popular parlance of the time.

I’m sure I will check out Grand Theft Auto III just to see the improvements and maybe play a few missions for nostalgia. I will most likely spend more time with Vice City than GTAIII since I loved that game when it came out and always felt that it blew GTAIII out of the water. I imagine I will spend most of my time with San Andreas, and I might even play the story to completion.

Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition

And for all of that, especially if I can experience playing this remaster with my brother (which is how I played them the first time around), my intended interactions with this remaster will be worth the $60 price tag. And if I end up getting sucked back in and spend more time with each game beyond that? Well, that’s just the icing on the cake, baby.

And hopefully this will lead to a remaster of Grand Theft Auto IV, which is what I really crave.

So when I ask myself if I’m actually kind of pumped to play this remaster when it releases on November 11, 2021, I just have to quote John Wick: “Yeah, I’m thinking I’m back.”

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