8.9

Grand Theft Auto makes its first 3D appearance to a more or less great presentation.

I'll admit, before the coming of Grand Theft Auto 3 and the hype that surrounded it, I'd never heard of the series. In the end, my friends who recommended it probably hadn't either. Still, the presentation and appeal of the game is hard to deny. First off, the gameplay for Grand Theft Auto 3 revolves around taking up missions for various shady individuals. Sometimes the missions are simple things such driving a person from point A to point B, but later in the game they get much more complex such as having to wipe out entire gangs. The real joy of the game isn't even in the story, but the free roaming world that you can choose to cause as much havoc as you'd like. Myself personally, used to spend hours just causing trouble attempting to outrun the police. The controls are pretty simple, but you might find yourself a bit frustrated here and there with the camera angles. Thankfully, they're adjustable. The auto-targeting is another complaint. It tends to target the closest person to you rather than the person that's attacking you, but you learn to get over that. Driving in the game is a joy. To get a car, simply run up next the door of a car, push a button and jack the owner. It couldn't be any easier. Graphics for the game are quite impressive. You're looking at a very large expansive world to cruise around in with many hidden areas and buildings to climb. There is some slowdown and frame rate problems on occasion, but you're unlikely to notice them. There's also a little clipping here and there, but it's nothing to seriously detract away from the game. Character models are nicely detailed, but environments look a little flat. The weather effects are limited, but help give the game a real world feel.

Sound for the game is quite impressive. You'll find that you can simply walk down the street to hear all sorts of things from the pedestrians and the radio for the cars are a nice touch. Most notable is the humor involved in the radio which includes various commercials being played and especially the public radio station for real laughs. The voice work for main characters is nice although your character has no speaking parts.

A lot of the value in the game comes from just roaming the large world. It's possible to take the game's storyline down in about 10 hours, but there are other minor things such as hidden package collecting to do that extend the lifespan of this game. There are also a lot of music stations to listen to and unique jumps to do with the cars you steal. In the end you can spend a good deal of time with the game.

Grand Theft Auto 3 makes an incredible amount of good decisions with only a few minor bad ones. For its first outing in the full 3D land, it is one of best conceived games around. Since its became a staple of the PS2, you can now purchase it with the other two 3D games in the series for $30, one of the best deals around.

The good: Impressive presentation and graphics, very large world to explore, very humorous at times.

The bad: Some control quirks that need to be ironed out, most of the radio stations are pretty generic music.

Discussion