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Grand Theft Auto has been wowing gamers and disturbing right-wing pundits since 1997. Some of these games are much more memorable than others, though.
These are the five best GTA games to date. We sincerely hope you've played them all by now.
5. GTA: Chinatown WarsMany console franchises simply don't work on handheld devices. The developers have to cut or reduce standard features to make the usual formula into a portable form. However, Chinatown Wars didn't fall into this trap. The top-down camera may lead you to believe this is a dumbed-down GTA game but it features all of the exploration, side missions and criminal mayhem of its console counterparts.
On top of all that, Chinatown Wars actually improved on the series formula in a few ways. It allowed players to finally replay missions - a desirable feature considering how well-designed many of the game's moments were. If they died halfway through it, they could restart at checkpoints. Players were also able to buy guns through a website instead of being forced to drive across town to Ammu-Nation. In addition to being a great game, Chinatown Wars ended up being a testbed for now-standard features in the series.
4. GTA 5GTA 4 was solid but felt like a step backward in some ways. It stripped away many features of GTA San Andreas, such as airplanes, skydiving and wilderness. To make matters worse, it abandoned the over-the-top goofiness of San Andreas in favor of a more serious, dark tone. GTA 5 felt like a do-over, introducing a world even larger than San Andreas and a plot just as ridiculous.
GTA 5 also set itself apart through a huge multiplayer mode. GTA Online, included with the game for free, gave players the ability to run amuck together in Los Santos and Blaine Counties. The heists aren't out yet but even without them, there's a huge amount to do: deathmatches, races, co-op missions and more. Players are even able to create their own missions, ensuring that their stay in Los Santos will be a long one.
3. GTA 3It's kind of hard not to include this one on the list. I mean, let's be honest, this was the first GTA title to lose its virginity to polygons. The series graduated from the top-down arcade series that put it on the map and elevated to a full, 3D playground that ushered in a whole new way of playing open-world action games in a virtual space. GTA III wasn't particularly well done on the technical front but it made up for it – at the time of its release – with lots of off-the-wall fun.
GTA III was also the first game to offer players the ability to steal a cop car and have sex with a hooker in it. The game marked the start of Rockstar's now renown satirical take of the gangster lifestyle , filled to the brim with violence, sex and debauchery. GTA III will more-so go down in history for being the stepping stone (and base game engine) for which GTA Vice City and, subsequently, GTA San Andreas were built. This spot is about paying reverence to the game that really put Rockstar on the map during the fifth generation of gaming.
2. GTA: Vice City The 1980s, Miami Vice and an orgy of neon-colored greatness. That's the best way to describe GTA: Vice City. I loved the look, feel and design of the game. It felt like an alternate-reality arcade title fused with an open-world action-adventure title. As bizarre Vice City was for having power-ups and items stashed in weird locations, it also had an engaging crime story starring Tommy Vercetti, along with some unforgettable characters referencing the era of excess.
It wasn't just the atmosphere, setting and story that made Vice City (although, let's face it, that all had a ton to do with the game's appeal). A lot of the game's draw came from the classic tunes from out of the 1980s. That's right, the music featured in Vice City helped make it just as memorable as any of the action scenes. It's just a real shame that the record companies had to step in and snip the soundtrack down a size.
1. GTA: San AndreasEasily the top Grand Theft Auto game of all time is GTA: San Andreas. Yes, the graphics are dated in comparison to the iCEnhanced GTA games of today, and yes the controls aren't quite as tight as other action and racing games this gen. However, San Andreas makes up for its lack of noteworthy technical performance with outstanding replayability and gameplay depth. The story wasn't anything too special, as it was just another rags to riches tale. However, it was everything else that made it special.
The open-world sandbox title lived up to the description, offering fleshed-out mini-games galore, from dating (which included the infamous “Hot Coffee”) and interstate trucking, to property management, dust cropping, pizza delivery, taxi-driving and everything else in between. There was so much content in San Andreas that Rockstar realized that they could fix the graphics, tweak the engine and re-release an HD version and still clean up nice and good on the game.