“Ah shit, here we go again.”

Before I dive into each individual game, let’s discuss the high-resolution textured elephant in the room that makes up the visuals of this collection. If, by some miracle, you are not yet aware of it, the graphical fidelity is basically the Final edition for these three games everything is fine in terms of quality.

In the worst case scenario, developer Grove Street Games has either reused original textures or tried to recreate the asset from scratch, with very mixed results. We talk completely botched character models for certain characters (who now look worse than their original role models), bizarre spelling mistake in different signs and outright distracting rain effects across all three games.

Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition (PS5 [reviewed] PS4, Xbox Series X / S Xbox One, Switch, PC)
Developer: Grove Street Games, Rockstar North
Publisher: Rockstar Games
Published: November 11, 2021
MSRP: $ 59.99

At best, a lot of the updated environments look pretty solid (at least from what I’ve seen so far). The bright neon signs in Vice city look stunning in 4K HDR and they added some cool effects like too Parallax interiors for many windows and shop windows of all three games.

For the most part, the updated graphics make revisiting these iconic locations an absolute must. When I was actually knee-deep into each of these games, I realized that the overall gameplay improvements – other than the graphics – are, for the most part, fairly trivial. So, with the graphical conversation (mostly) out of the way, let me recap my experience so far with each of these games.

Grand Theft Auto III

I adore Grand Theft Auto III. I have so many fond memories of spawning a tank, going on a rampage, and firing the gun at it to go even faster (or even literally fly off ramps in the process). Aside from the rampages and cheat codes, however, if you follow the basic mission structure and story alongside the other games in this collection, it really becomes clear how basic Grand Theft Auto III feels in comparison.

I love Tommy Vercetti and CJ, but I’ve only ever seen Claude Speed ​​as a dumb guy who took Catalina out of CJ’s hands and ended up paying the price for it. Granted, even the supporting cast range from interesting characters (like Toni Cipriani and his mother, who constantly yell at him in the background during cutscenes) to downright tropes – like many other mission givers you encounter.

I would also consider Grand Theft Auto III the most challenging game in the collection in terms of missions because so many of them have timers and the controls – for the most part – are still very rigid and choppy. If you were expecting a crazy makeover of the fight, you will be disappointed. Still pretty much the same run-around-and-lock-on affair as the original, the fight can be incredibly rough and unforgiving at times.

In terms of improvements, the updated weapon wheel now slows down weapon swapping times, which is an absolute godsend, but you should still expect the triad to blow up your car as soon as you enter Chinatown. Fortunately, including a proper in-game map (waypoint markers and everything) can help you avoid this. Thanks to GPS routes as in Grand Theft Auto IV and V..

Grand Theft Auto Definitive Edition PC Rockstar Launcher

Grand Theft Auto: Vice City

Vice city is just my favorite GTA Game from the original PS2 trilogy. This game was pretty much my introduction to the ’80s growing up (a decade that I wasn’t even born). Even so, I still fell in love with the radio mix. Hall & Oates, Megadeth, A flock of seagulls, Vice city was my introduction to almost all of this music.

So, if you’re like me, the first question that went through your mind when announcing this collection was whether Rockstar had renewed its license to bring back the full soundtrack for these games. Unfortunately, they didn’t (and may not have been able to, no matter how much money they threw them). This is pure speculation, but I wouldn’t be surprised if some of these artists just don’t want their music to be associated with it Grand Theft Auto no longer. So that doesn’t mean a “Billie Jean” – that’s absolutely criminal (and not smooth).

Do you know what is right now? more but criminal? Tommy Vercetti (and I don’t even mean that literally). I’m specifically referring to how he looks now. It’s one thing to botch up random NPCs or supporting characters, but messing up the actual protagonist’s looks is quite another thing. Obviously this is a subjective setting and some people may not care at all, but I just can’t get over the updated model for Tommy. He looks strangely younger now and more like a bloated Ken doll.

Outside of the visual and acoustic problems, Vice city remains an action-packed one GTA III in terms of the missions. It has bigger set pieces (and therefore more people shooting at you), and much of it is now set indoors, which – when combined with the still clunky lock-on shooting system – makes for some downright frustrating moments. Fortunately it is Final edition Iterations of these games also introduced the ability to restart failed missions without having to drive all the way back to the mission marker. I would argue that this new feature is probably the best quality of life update for the entire collection.

However, when this collection was originally announced, I had another question on my mind besides the soundtrack stuff …

Dan’s DEFINITIVE Bigfoot hunting antics in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

Aside from the possibility of a restored soundtrack, the only question I had in mind when announcing this collection was: what if they were added? Bigfoot !? Unfortunately, before I could even access the areas I needed for my exam, I almost forgot about them earlier GTA Games delineated the other parts of the game behind the progression of the story. So I had to spend an entire evening doing just story missions in Los Santos before I got access to all of the scenery needed for this investigation.

Damn, I followed the damn train with no problem even on my first try. I’m not sure if that was sheer luck, skill, or if Grove Street Games legitimately tweaked some missions in this collection to make them more manageable. Fortunately, I have also secured a small fortune with the help of savings abuse and horse betting. More than enough to buy as much firepower and body armor that I needed to get through most of the missions as best I could and see CJ’s face become a terrible pixel monstrosity during a cutscene.

There were three rumors that Bigfoot was supposed to appear in: Back O ‘Beyond, Mount Chiliad, or the Shady Cabin. So after getting dressed X-Files To get the mood just right, I started my search in the deep woods of the Back O’Beyond to really see if some bored developers decided to make one of the most iconic San Andreas Myths a reality (I’m not counting the one in GTA V because that was just a guy in a costume).

As the sun set in Back O’Beyond, I stumbled across the Shady Cabin. As in the original, it was abandoned. Not entirely surprising, but at least it was worth it. The Back O’Beyond had some interesting curiosities in the original game, aside from empty booths and Bigfoot myths; it also had Ghost cars!

That’s right, creepy abandoned cars that happened to roll down hills in the middle of nowhere. People theorize that this was intentionally implemented by the developers to freak out people researching around here. Unfortunately in Final edition, these horrors spawn, but they don’t actually move or do much of anything.

Shortly after checking the cars, I noticed something strange in the form of a nearby bridge that just folded in and out. I found this strange given the now enormous train distance in this collection, so I headed there immediately just to discover something supernatural … A Ghost Bridge!

Right, the moment I drove onto the bridge, it disappeared under me! (Luckily I was still able to ride it). I’ve come back here several times now and that happens every time. I doubt it’s intentional and probably just another bizarre graphical bug, but I found it very amusing. From there, I have only one last place to check out: Mount Chiliad.

When I arrived I took out my camera and panned around for a few minutes, but similar to my attempts to find Bigfoot in the original game, there was nothing out of the ordinary. Once at the top of the mountain, I took a look at the beautiful sights … and the indecision of San Andreas.

It’s pretty harrowing (especially when flying around on a plane or jet), and I wonder if Grove Street Games might be addressing this in future patches with some kind of fog implementation like the original.

So far, my all-round experience with the Final edition Trilogy is very mixed. On the one hand, I still enjoy revisiting these games. On the flip side, I can’t help but feel like this collection is taking more time in the oven. I have a full review (and video review) planned for the future, and I’m morbidly curious about what other graphical oddities I will encounter as I start playing and exploring the later plots of these games. I also fear the RC vehicle missions, but maybe they tweaked them, or at least improved the controls on the tiny vehicles themselves.

Stay tuned for my full review to find out!

[This review in progress is based on a retail build of the game provided by the publisher.]

Dan Römer

Local video person. I’ve been enjoying and trying Destructoid since 2014, became an employee in 2017, was a co-host of Podtoid and my power animal is that of the wild garbage. Disclosure: I supported Shenmue 3 on Kickstarter and am a current Patreon supporter of Nextlander, NoClip, and Mega64.

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