A trio of vintage crimeworlds returned rebuilt today with the launch of the Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition, bundling GTA 3, Vice City, and San Andreas into one collection with an long overly name. They look fancier and more modern (the originals being from 2001, 2002, and 2004, respectively), and have control schemes which are less damn old. Unfortunately, they have also cut some of my favourite songs from the radio, boooo.
Grove Street Games (formerly War Drum Studios) have rebuilt the three games in Unreal Engine with graphical fanciness like new lighting, high-res textures, a longer draw distance, fancier models, as well as GTA5-style controls.
It's a curious look. I think the originals look a bit cartoony partially from technical limitations and partially from style. The remasters are heavily cartoony, expanding on what they actually looked like without consideration for what they tried to look like. I think? It's jarring, espcially combining cartoon characters with shiny-shiny lighting. Big "HD" mod vibes. I don't dig it.
Unfortunately, a number of songs on radio stations in the original are not present here. Rockstar have removed songs with new versions before, and it's generally assumed to be for rights issues, but it sucks. Thankfully, the list of missing songs is shorter than originally seemed, with Rockstar confirming that the first songlist they sent out was incorrect.
Rockstar's initial, incomplete songlist was missing bangers including Gary Numan's Cars and Sigue Sigue Sputnik's Love Missile F1-11 (yes, I keep it locked on to Wave 103), and I was dead narked. Thankfully, those are safe. However, songs actually absent do include choons like Herbie Hancock's Rockit, Michael Jackson's Wanna Be Startin' Somethin', and Rage Against The Machine's Killing In The Name.
Yeah yeah, they're just songs, but I have stronger memories of pootling around with these songs on the radio than I do any mission in any of the three games. GTA games are far more about being in a place than they are any plot. Music is a big part of that.
I realise I've griped a lot but as someone who has tried to play GTA3 within the past few years and found it intolerably obsolete, I'm certainly up for playing a do-over. Maybe when this is discounted in sales.
Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition is available for PC exclusively from the Rockstar Store, priced at £55. It's also on Xboxes, PlayStations, and Nintendo Switch. I'll not buy at £55 because I already own the originals but sure, I'd get 'em on sale. Game Pass subscribers on Xbox now have access to San Andreas Def Ed, and PlayStation Now peeps will get GTA 3 Def Ed on December 7, but Game Pass For PC subscribers will get no taste.Disclosure: I'm pals with some folks who work at Rockstar. Edinburgh is a tiny city, y'know, and Rockstar are a large company.