So I picked this game up on PSN when it was on sale for $2.50 and finally got around to playing it this last week and let me just say a few things. When this game first came out in 2001, it must have been revolutionary, it was one of the first open world games of its kind, you had a huge map to explore, you could do whatever you wanted, kill anyone, fight off police officers, or just screw around. There are tons of missions and multiple missions that can be accessed at the same time. If this were 2001 this game would be the best thing since Half Life, but now that we have games like San Andreas or even GTA V, this is just a tad bit restricted. For one the handling of the cars in this game is just awful, cars spin out so easily in this compared to the sequels, not to mention cars take way more damage and blow faster. Another thing with this one is shooting is just awful, the sniper rifle is inverted and can't be fixed, the rifles and lock on are just near impossible to get right, sure in San Andreas or Vice City it was still pretty hard to aim, but it wasn't frustrating. Also the lack of a map on the pause screen is a huge flaw, many times you don't know what streets to take to get to the objective. For the most part missions are designed pretty straight forward, most are just driving around and killing or escaping rival gangs. There are a few annoying missions that require you to do something like drive far in short time. The story is pretty minimal and in fact of all the GTA's I've played this has the least amount of story, your character is mute for some reason and I didn't find this game to be funny, it actually felt a bit serious for the most part.
Graphics are good in terms of when the game was released, in 2001 decent 3d graphics were just in its early stages. The soundtrack is also a tad poor, at least compared to how awesome the radio in Vice City and San Andreas is. Replay is alright, there are a couple of side races and tasks but nothing big like in San Andreas. To be honest with games like San Andreas this is really only worth playing once to see how the series evolved from this and it made major improvements. GTA III is a good game for its time, but the problems in this were fixed and the gameplay was much smoother in the sequels and the story in this just isn't anything special so I don't see this essential anymore, it's really only good for nostalgia to those who grew up or those who are GTA fans and want to see how the series evolved from this.
Big Open World
Missions Are Pretty Fun
Cars Slide Too Much And Blow Up Way Too Easily
Story Is A Bit Too Simple And Minimal
Radio Music Is Forgettable
Not Too Much Interesting Side Content
No Pause Screen Map
Aiming Is Difficult