How Does the GTA Trilogy Definitive Edition Hold Up?
The three games that kicked off the GTA franchise have returned and they have never looked better. GTA III, GTA Vice City and GTA San Andreas are all classic and excellent games and having them return to this modern level is a joy. I do mean that they look greater than ever, but that was always going to be the case when you upgrade from PlayStation 2 graphics to PS4, PS5 or any platform you choose to play.
I am sure most of us were really excited for the Definitive Edition to make its way to the next-generation, and I certainly was considering it has been such a long time since I had last played these games. I already covered a bit of the trilogy in my previous GTA trilogy blog, just discussing what to expect from these updated games (if you want to take a look through, then just press here!).
But this blog isn’t going to be a discussion of what changes they made. Today I am going to be taking a look into simply how well these games perform in the modern day, how good they are and if the changes made actually hold up. I have played a few hours so far and here are my takes.
Day One Problems
I am going to start straight away with one of the biggest problems with the trilogy off the bat, and that’s the bugs and glitches. There are some that can be quite irritating but most of the bugs and glitches you will see are more on the goofy side. You are likely to encounter some problems in terms of vehicle collisions, a few slow loading times and performance issues here and there, I would say that this expected for a game this size, but the number of issues is simply unbelievable. I haven’t run into any massive game breaking issues yet, but there is a huge number of bugs here that I feel could have been avoided.
And through these games you will see that some of the characters look, well, atrocious. I found this more amusing than problematic as in the end these aren’t game breaking, but just bring a huge laugh when you see it. So what I am saying is that some of the characters look so bad that they are laughable. Of course, this is probably going to be changed in the short term, like most of the bugs will be, but it’s something I thought should be brought up.
The biggest issue that has been floating around online though is the performance. I have been playing the trilogy on a PS4 Pro in performance mode and I have seen quite a few performance problems here and there, including FPS drops, as said before slow loading times and some graphical bugs around textures. And though the game can run at 60fps, it does feel a bit rusty. The performance issues have been an absolutely pain and I am sure that most other players out there can agree.
I’ve heard that it is at its worse on the Nintendo Switch and can be unplayable at some points, but I have not tested this for myself. The performance really drags the game down quite a bit as it adds a very unfinished feel to the game. Obviously, the performance issues will be resolved quite soon, it isn’t great to see the game ship off with such problems.
With the main negatives out of the way I want to get onto the best parts of this game, and the main positive is the upgrade to graphics and lighting. Consistently through all games, the graphics are a great improvement while sticking to the original design and feel. The game looks stunning and in comparison to the originals it looks a lot greater. Except for some characters of course. For a definitive edition this is something we all expected to be good due to the improvement in technology.
And the lighting also plays a huge role in the graphical improvements here, and you can see how good it looks from the moment you enter the game. The lighting upgrades really help to bring out the life in the game and makes everything look phenomenal. And this really works well in combination with the updated textures. The detail in different locations, buildings and environments are immense and really hold up well. And though there are a few issues with some textures, most of them look phenomenal.
My main complaint around the graphics though is that at some points, the game looks too dark. Even at max brightness there will be some occasions where you will struggle to see through different areas. And though this isn’t a huge and consistent problem for me, I can see it causing some issues for others.
Do the Changes Hold Up?
As with any definitive edition or upgraded game, there are bound to many changes. I did go over the changes in my previous blog, but I need to talk about how effective some of the changes are overall now that the game is out. I have already talked about the improvements to lighting, textures and graphics, but I just want to mention some of the gameplay changes and mainly these three:
- Targeting and aim assist improvements
- Updates to the weapon and radio wheels
- An updated mini map with greater navigation and waypoint setting
These changes are very noticeable immediately from starting. The best change for me out of these three is definitely the updated mini map. The guidance provided through the mini map in terms of navigation is incredibly helpful and a huge upgrade over the original. The other two changes are also extremely helpful, the targeting and aim assist improvements are noticeable and a huge help throughout the game and the weapon and radio wheels offer a simple and effective selection option. So, no complaints in this area.
I am going to make this point very quick because most of you have probably played through the story of GTA III, Vice City and San Andreas before. But if you enjoyed the story of the originals, then you will enjoy it here. The stories have not changed at all, you’ll still meet all of the same characters, engage in the same missions and much more. I loved the story modes in each game so I am happy on this half, and I am sure most of you will be as well.
For those who have not played the originals, the stories told in each game are all really entertaining and worth going through with the definitive edition.
Everything that was great about these games are still here, like weapons, vehicles, characters, and the vast majority of cheats. There are a few missing songs on the radio but this isn't a big deal for me.
I have discussed all of the important details now, and it is time to come to a decision. This game really takes me back to the original games that I played all of those years back, the story is just as great as it was then, the gameplay feels great and really up to date and the game looks visually excellent. I would love to give this game a high score but I can’t ignore the clear issues in terms of performance. The performance at many points is simply bad and you can tell. The FPS drops are a regular disturbance, the bugs are an annoyance and it makes the game feel quite unfinished.
So overall, I am going to give this game a 5.5 out of 10 off launch. Everything apart from the performance is exceptional, there are a lot of issues here and I do believe some can be resolved quite quickly. All three games have been really fun to play, but the issues in terms of performance are just way too prominent to give this game anything over a 6. So a 5.5 seems fair given the downsides, but could be higher if resolved.