Grand Theft Auto V is soon to come. What is easily the most anticipated game of 2013 is less than a week away at the time of this writing. The hype surrounding this game rivals (surpassing in some circles) even that of the upcoming next generation consoles: PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. To help the excruciating wait, it is time to countdown the greatest Grand Theft Auto games ever released.
Honorable Mention: L.A Noire (2011)
You have to respect Rockstar Games for such a creation. While not exactly GTA, it’s still semi-open world. Going against what the company is known for, L.A Noire casts you as the good guy. You’re a cop rising through the ranks of the police force, solving crimes along the way. The game’s innovative motion-capture technology made interviewing suspects and witnesses more dynamic. Unfortunately, the game became repetitious after the first 9 cases or so. Crime scene, find evidence, question witness, find suspicious person, they run, catch and interview, etc. rinse and repeat. Driving and shooting was pretty cool, but I still ever finished it…
3) Grand Theft Auto IV (2008)
The first GTA entry into the HD era of gaming returned us to Liberty City, Rockstar Games’ satirical re-imagining of New York City (the real star of the game in my book). The “Statue of Happiness” replaces the Statue of Liberty. The iconic “MetLife” building in our skyline instead reads “GetaLife.” The story, having a more serious and realistic tone than previous GTAs, is about a twisted notion of the American Dream seen through the eyes of immigrant, Niko Bellic. Though the story was great, dialogue and characters included, the gameplay suffered a bit. Gunplay was sloppy at times, controlling Niko was a battle, and gamers felt like they were driving hovercrafts rather than cars. There also wasn’t much to do or spend money on after completing the main story compared to previous GTA games. However, at the time, the game was better than anything else on the market and still holds up to this day fairly well. This game deserves to be on this list because of “Three Leaf Clover” alone.
2) Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (2004)
Boyz N the Hood: The Game. All GTA titles are inspired by movies and San Andreas is no exception. The setting is 90s California. You play as Carl Johnson (who goes by CJ throughout the game), a gangbanger who returns to San Andreas to bury his mother. The narrative is fraught with twists and turns, betrayals, grudging alliances, heists, and the list goes on. The sheer amount of worthwhile content packed into this game was astounding. The tone was tongue-in-cheek very often in the story, but never corny. This game is an all-around worthwhile package that has aged better than GTA IV in many ways.
1) Red Dead Redemption (2010)
When you combine the tone of GTA IV’s narrative with the scope and side activities of San Andreas, you get Red Dead Redemption. Ignore the fact that you may not be into Westerns, or that there are no cars. This game is amazing and every bit a Grand Theft Auto game for other reasons. A great, yet flawed, protagonist in John Marston, social commentary, is extremely open for travel, and features a myriad of characters. There are so many side-activities: missions, outfits, animals to hunt, and of course, Zombie Downloadable Content. The gameplay is perfect. Controlling John Marston is seamless. The cover system and gunplay flow beautifully. Riding a horse (while shooting many times) is perfect. When I think about everything I look for in a Grand Theft Auto, Red Dead Redemption is the one to satisfy the most (until next week of course).
Grand Theft Auto V will be released on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 on September 17th.
Fun Fact: Grand Theft Auto V made back its $265 million budget already. IN JUST PRE-ORDERS.