Grand Theft Auto III
by Take 2 Interactive
"Grand Theft Auto 3 is an unbelievable gaming experience that is reason enough to purchase a PS2" is what we said when we reviewed the PS2 version last year. PC gamers have had to wait an awful long time but finally the wait is over and you'll be pleased to know that it is a faithful conversion of the classic PS2 original.
Those of you familiar with the previous two versions of GTA will be gobsmacked with the series' move into 3D. The flat top down visuals have been replaced with a fantastic 3D world that oozes atmosphere and charm. You can go anywhere and do anything you want, it really is up to you. Should you decide to press on with your criminal career you will be impressed by the nature of the missions. Later in the game you can choose which missions to take and which to avoid but at the beginning of the game you have to take the early missions as they move the story along.
The game is set in the fictional Liberty City. The city is made up of three main areas. These areas are Portland (where you begin the game), Staunton Island and Shoreside Vale. Each of these areas look fantastic and feel like a living, breathing city. Within hours of playing the game you'll remember where all the important locations (such as your hideout and the Pay 'n' Spray) are by memory like you would in real life.
The gameplay is unchanged from the first two games. The best improvement to the game apart from the move to a full 3D world is the ability to save your game at any point you wish (providing you're not in a mission). You simply head to your HQ put your vehicle in the garage and walk in through the door. It doesn't cost you a penny (compared with about 50,000 in GTA2). You can steal any car you want and use all the foul means at your disposal to progress in the game. The missions have multiple solutions which further adds to the greatness of the gameplay. In one of the early missions I had to assassinate two pimps. I found it difficult so what I did was, to steal a van and smash into their car rendering it useless and forcing them to leave the car and walk the streets on foot. My van was in a bad way so I drove around the corner got out of the van and stole another van. I then drove back into the street where the pimps where and drove over them. I could have obtained some Molotov cocktails, by killing some tramps that were hanging about, by Eight Ball's garage, and just thrown them at the pimps car. There are about another five or six ways of doing this mission, such is the potential for you to do what you want in this game.
In order to take a mission you head to your employers HQ and walk over the coloured section on the floor. This triggers a subtitled cutscene (subtitles are on by default) which explains your mission objective. All objectives can be recalled at any time (using the start button on the gamepad). The cutscenes use the game engine and they look superb. If you don't want to do a mission, you can steal a taxi and play a version of Crazy Taxi whereby you have to pick up passengers and drop them off within a certain time in order to be paid. You could steal a police car and do police work or you could steal a fire engine or an ambulance and perform the relevant tasks associated with them. GTA 3 is incredible. As well as the above mini games you can also just walk about and admire the scenery. By walking about you could find one of the 100 packages that are scattered throughout the game. You may even like to steal a car, and try to find some of the locations that enable you to perform stunts as this will earn you some extra cash.
Liberty City, as I've mentioned before, is a living breathing city. The weather changes, day and night cycles occur and road works are carried out. A word of warning though don't hang about in your vehicle as doing so may lead to your car being stolen. The attention to detail in this game cannot be over stated. Jumping into a car and speeding away will leave the driver's door flapping in the wind. Sprinting down the road will leave your man gasping for breath. The best thing of all though is that the game is perfect for deaf gamers. So often does a great game come along only to be ignorant to the needs of the deaf gamer. GTA 3 is not one of these though and you will be delighted to see full subtitles/text feedback and visual clues, in exactly the same way as the PS2 version, such as your onscreen radar that shows you where your HQ is and where your mission goals are.
The only differences from the PS2 version is the quality of the graphics and the control system. The PC version exchanges the gamepad control for the much more refined keyboard and mouse combination. This actually makes the game much easier. Aiming a weapon is controlled with the mouse and affords you the same precision that you would get in a FPS game. Visually the game looks much better than the PS2 version. This is thanks to the far superior resolutions that are on offer. Be warned though any resolution above 800x600 is going to require a CPU and graphics card with some serious muscle.
Grand Theft Auto III has come to the PC in style. Ports from consoles usually arrive in a lacklustre fashion but thankfully this is not the case with GTA III. Just as the game was a benchmark on the PS2 so it is also on the PC and it surely must be one of the hot favourites for game of the year.
Overall Game Rating: 9.7/10. Superb open ended gameplay that's lets you enjoy the game as you see fit. A benchmark PC title.
Deaf Gamers comment: In short, Perfect.