5 ways it changed the game for the better (& 5 for the worse)


There are few games that can boast of the industry-shattering and defining effects that Grand Theft Auto III fits under his sleeves. Rock star games Grand Theft Auto III was the series’ leap into the world of 3D graphics and, with it, set the benchmark for all games to follow.

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However, this reference Grand Theft Auto III set up for the industry has some drawbacks. Every good (and bad) thing about 3-D Sandbox games is mainly due to Grand Theft Auto III. Thinking back to the influence Grand Theft Auto III eu, players can chart a clear progression towards everything we love (and hate) about the game today.


ten BETTER: Throw the 3-D sandbox


Grand Theft Auto III is considered one of the first real 3D sandboxes. While the graphics might not show it by today’s standards, the game was incredibly forward thinking back then. The fact that players could move around a fully rendered world with minimal loading screens was a revolution.

In addition, the complete removal of “levels” gave players the freedom to explore and admire the sights of Liberty City. Whether you wanted to become a criminal mastermind or just drive a cool car over old ladies crossing the street, the choice was yours.

9 WORST: it leads to endless clones


Saints Row 2 Carlos Mendoza

Every player knows the term “GTA Clone”. It is as prevalent in the industry as any other kind of cut and paste. We know how it goes: mission, driving, mission, driving, mission, driving, crushing pedestrians. Even Snoop Dog almost had his own GTA clone.

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What these games lack, however, is the charm, the graphics, the humor, the writing, and frankly … the quality that the Grand Theft Auto the games have. Very few clones get this (Saints Row being one of the few to do so, but even that took a couple of entries). But as they say: copying is the greatest form of flattery.

8 BETTER: He has mastered open world missions


luigi gives a mission to gta 3 player

On the note of an open world in 3D, the missions were also a sweet breath of fresh air. The fact that you could drive from one mission to the next completing them however you want was revolutionary. In addition, they took place in the city you are driving in. No separate pre-rendered level.

Ultimately, that brings the agency to the game and its location. Liberty City is a place where every corner could be an exciting new event. This road that you have taken countless times could be the center of a big shootout in the next mission. The possibilities were endless.

7 WORST: It also led to some terrible open world missions


main character next to Portland docks

On that note, open world missions can be quite overwhelming. Following Grand Theft Auto III, many clones introduced mission-to-mission driving as a way to lengthen playtime. Many of these games would have benefited from being just linear levels, but because Grand Theft Auto III was so popular that they were encouraged to make their games as “open” as possible.

This led to the inevitable effect of games feeling bloated and wasting players’ time. If the city isn’t as bustling as Liberty City was and still is, it makes the game hollow and empty.

6 BETTER: Pushed game content to new levels


main character with gta 3 gun

Grand Theft Auto and Rockstar Games as a whole is no stranger to controversy and Grand Theft Auto III has its fair share of controversy. Everything from its graphic violence to the representation of prostitution, Grand Theft Auto III pushed all possible buttons. It wasn’t a “hot coffee” scandal, but there was still plenty to do.

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And thank God, because without Grand Theft Auto III and games like this, we certainly wouldn’t have the majority of the games we see today. Even by modern standards, Grand Theft Auto III always packs the controversial punch with a good sense of class and humor. Something the clones seemed to forget.

5 WORST: the games got more nervous … but not better


Unfortunately, many developers have seen the nervousness of Grand Theft Auto III and thought, “We can do it, but like even more daring.” And unfortunately for the players, they had to face the consequences. The games tried as much as possible to be “bolder than GTA”, but they didn’t really understand what made GTA what it is.

No quality writing or deep thoughts on the criminal system. No. No more violence. No more swearing. Content more explicit than ever. And while some games like Post 2 do it with the intention of parodying games like Grand Theft Auto, many games attempt brutal violence and fail so horribly.

4 BETTER: Rags to Riches written at its best


main character on the bridge at sunset

Grand Theft Auto III was a huge milestone in game writing. It was a well thought out and expansive tale now unobtainable in a 3D world. It was undeniably a major stepping stone. And the story was familiar to everyone, a poor man commits crimes to become a pivot.

It’s a story we’ve seen in endless movies like Godfather II but remixed in our time and our modern sensibilities. It was avant-garde and full of witty humor and dialogue that Rockstar Games would continue through the rest of the series.

3 WORST: The story has been reused so much that it has become a cliché


main character on the collapsed bridge

Unfortunately, seeing that this story has been a success and how easy it is to turn into a working formula of play, many developers have tried to copy it. It quickly turned what was a refreshing take of the detective genre into a tired cliché. And that’s incredibly unfortunate because that in turn ruins the original experience with plenty of plot points and once-cool, now stale, and boring scenes.

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It’s like watching movies like Chainsaw Massacre Where The Exorcist in modern times. The slashers and exorcisms are so over the top now that it all feels tired and contrived. And the same goes for rag-to-the-rich crime stories. Fortunately, Rockstar realized this and in more recent entries has managed to change the character formula for the better, like Trevor and Michael in Grand Theft Auto V.

2 BETTER: New benchmark for the scope of the game


main character in front of a sign reading food without orgy

Grand Theft Auto III set the new benchmark for a game’s scope. Games were no longer going to be a simple point-and-click adventure. No, games were now big budget 3D adventures. Games with a large number of missions, locations and an ever increasing sense of hyper-realism.

We could argue Grand Theft Auto III really marked the beginning of AAA as we know it. Video games were now a profitable investment that could bring in billions of dollars.

1 WORST: all games would exist only in comparison


Unfortunately, a game as good as Grand Theft Auto III meant one thing: all games would be equally in comparison. Just like all medieval-style challenging games are known as “Dark souls of … “, every open world game is now known as”Grand Theft Auto de … “This inevitably left many developers feeling the need to copy Grand Theft Auto, even to this day, abandoning otherwise creative ideas for a more cost-effective mainstream approach.

Players just have to hope the devs come back to something different … or Grand Theft Auto VI is really as good as they claim.

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