Ten years ago Rockstar Games took a major step forward with its Grand Theft Auto series. Being a smash hit 2D top down crime filled adventure, Rockstar Games finally made the jump into a 3D world. Gamers were able to finally experience Grand Theft Auto at the street level with Grand Theft Auto 3. Over the years the game has evolved and expanded beyond Liberty City and has become one of the most popular franchises created. GTA III rally brought the series into the spotlight and it seems quite fitting that Rockstar Games is heading back to that history making game and releasing Grand Theft Auto III: 10 Year Anniversary Edition for mobile devices.
Every time I hear a big name game coming to iOS and Android devices, I kind of shutter. Most times these mobile releases are stripped down lackluster versions of their console counter-parts. That is not the case with Grand Theft Auto III: 10 Year Anniversary Edition. iOS and Android users who purchase this game will get a full fledge port of the original GTA 3 that we all enjoyed for hours on our PS2. Everything you remember from that classic game is now in the palm of your hands.
I won’t waste your time rehashing the story aspects of the game. The mobile version is literally the same game you played on the console, same cut-scenes, same missions, same Liberty City, even the same amazing radio stations! This really allows fans of the series to now wreak havoc and re-enjoy one of gaming’s classic titles no matter where they are. You will really feel right at home as soon as you fire this game up, quickly you’ll start remembering locations and the best routes, plus where all the awesome cars are located. I can’t say this for many older titles, but there is just something about GTA that makes it a great older title to replay.
The biggest difference between the console versions and the new mobile version are the controls. Obviously you don’t have a controller. All the controls are virtual buttons on your touchscreen. Left corner is your direction pad, right corner ends up being the buttons for just about everything else. For the most part the controls aren’t to bad. You can customize the control layout and move the touch areas around to make them fit your style. On foot I didn’t have to many problems, but even after playing the game for quite a few hours controlling the cars was still a bit touchy. For car control you have two options, an analog control or a left/right button control. Both options have pluses and minuses. I felt like the analog controls were loose and never allowed me to make sharp turns, but the button controls were to sensitive and would cause me to constantly smash into things. While the wonky driving controls don’t hinder the game too much, some of the racing missions might take you a couple of attempts.
The other funky control issue is with the auto-aiming. Sometimes it was hit or miss if the auto-aiming locked on to the correct target, and it really gets frustrating when enemies are behind you, as you don’t have that quick right thumbstick to swing around. Yes you can swipe the middle of the screen to spin around but that means taking your finger off the trigger button. I found myself running around in circles a bunch of times during crazy gun fights. One thing that could help fix this issue is if the camera auto swings quicker. As it stands now if I move my direction backwards, Claude spins and will fire in that direction, but until the camera shifts I don’t know who is being targeted. Speaking of the camera you do have the option to play in a top down view which is cool, until you walk under a raised train track or other covered area.
As far as graphics go, the game looks exactly like what I remember the PS2 version of the game looking like. And while it’s not quite as sharp and crisp as lets say Real Racing HD or some other iOS and Android games, for a large open world title running on a mobile device it’s quite good. It’s quite amazing if you think about it, that a game that played on a rather bulky console can now play exactly the same on a thin portable iPad 2. One thing that has improved greatly from the PS2 version 10 years ago are the load times, there really aren’t any. Cutscenes start-up quickly and you can even skip them and get right back into the action if desired.
It’s pretty amazing to think that it’s been 10 years since we were first blown away by GTA III. Giving gamers this amazing game and series in the palm of their hands and allowing them to cause chaos everywhere is awesome. I really enjoyed taking a trip back in time with GTA III: 10 Year Anniversary Edition. The best part about the game is that nothing has been changed. What we all loved about the game 10 years ago is still there in all it’s glory. The only downside is the funky controls at times. I think some of the issues can be fixed, such as a more responsive camera. However fixing car control might be a bit tougher wince the technology relies on the virtual buttons. Overall though for $4.99 this game is worth for any iOS or Android fan of the Grand Theft Auto series. Now let’s all hope in a couple of years we get treated to GTA Vice City: 10th Anniversary Edition on mobile device!!
Grand Theft Auto III: 10 Year Anniversary Edition can be purchased today from both the Apple App store and Android Marketplace. As of now the game is only playable on the following devices:
Apple iOS Devices: iPad 1 & 2, iPhone 4 & 4S, iPod touch 4th Generation
Android Phones: HTC Rezound, LG Optimus 2x, Motorola Atrix 4G, Motorola Droid X2, Motorola Photon 4G, Samsung Galaxy R, T-Mobile G2x
Android Tablets: Acer Iconia, Asus Eee Pad Transformer, Dell Streak 7, LG Optimus Pad, Motorola Xoom, Samsung Galaxy Tab 8.9 and 10.1, Sony Tablet S, Toshiba Thrive
*A per-release version of Grand Theft Auto III: 10 Year Anniversary Edition for iOS/iPad was provided to us by Rockstar Games.