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| Reviews | Grand Theft Auto 3
by: Andrei Alupului | October 31, 2001
Grand Theft Auto 3
Title: Grand Theft Auto 3
Developer: DMA Design
Release Date: 10/23/01
Country of Origin: UK
ESRB Rating: M
I remember when the original Grand Theft Auto came out, back in 1997. I spent hours and hours playing it. Until I finally got my own copy, I spent weeks playing the demo of the PC version. Ah, those were good times. The main thing that impressed about the game was the open-endedness of the gameplay. Sure there were missions, but you could just as easily lose an entire afternoon driving around the city, running over random people, escaping from the police, and just generally causing a ruckus. The novelty of playing such an obscene game was going for it too. It was the most blatantly offensive game released up until then. After a standard-fare sequel, DMA Designs has finally brought out the highly anticipated 3rd game in the GTA series. And this game marks such a huge step in the series’ evolution that it comes as a total surprise. This formerly 2D playing, top-down game has become one of the best 3D action games ever made.
First off, it needs to be made very clear that this game is not for young’uns. There’s no way that I could possibly recommend any parent out there to give this to their kid. Little 9 year-old Timmy shouldn’t be expecting this under the Christmas tree. The content is, simply put, insanely brutal. This is definitely what the M rating was created for. This is a dark, gritty game. You’re a common street thug, and you break just about every law that there is. Joe Lieberman will have a field day with this one. You’ll interact with all sorts of gangs, hookers, corrupt cops, the works. You’ll be sent to murder people, to destroy buildings, and to just generally ruin other people’s lives. It’s really pretty good stress relief.
The first thing you’ll notice when playing GTA3 is just how huge the city you’re in is. It’s one of the single largest gaming environments I’ve ever seen, and at the start of the game, you only have access to one third of it. After exploring your surroundings and, hopefully, getting a good feel for the city, you can decide on your first mission. All of the missions are started by going to some set place on the map. When there, an in-game cut scene will play that shows you getting sent on a different mission by one of the various factions that you end up working for in the game.
The voice acting in these cut scenes is really good -- in fact, DMA got all sorts of big name actors to do some of the voice work in their game. Michael Rappaport, Michael Madsen, and other actors known for their work in all sorts of movies play different roles in GTA3. The cut scenes further enhance the cinematic feel of the game, as well, since they don’t use any of those typical floaty game cameras and instead use various cinematic fixed shots.
The presence of a decent story at all is a first for a GTA game. And not only a decent story, but a well-paced, coherent story with the kind of twists and turns you’d expect from a gangster movie. Impressively, the story actually factors into the gameplay itself. For example, once you reach the second island of the city, you’ll have succeeded in pretty much pissing off every single gang that inhabits the first one, so if a mission ever requires you to visit the first island again, or if you simply feel like cruising the drag, you’d better bring an armored car, because you can expect to get shot at quite a bit by your former associates.