DAR Games: The Top 5 Grand Theft Auto Games

By @Peagle05

Rockstar Games first introduced us to the Grand Theft Auto series in 1997, with its 2D, top-down brand of mayhem hitting the PS1. The series would go on to jump into the 3D space in 2001 with GTA 3 and would forever change the gaming landscape for the better. This list will not focus on the entire series, but my favorite 5 games in the series, accounting also for the “Stories” games as well as the handheld versions.

Honorable Mention

*Grand Theft Auto 4/Ballad of Gay Tony/Lost and the Damned

-I'm lumping all 3 of these together due to the fact that despite them being able to be played without 4, the other two are still expansion packs to 4. Now GTA 4 is not at all my favorite game, but it is important because it forced Rockstar to take a look at itself and what it was doing with the franchise. It had a great story, but the gameplay and driving mechanics were off and its protagonist, Niko Bellic was nothing more than a glorified errand boy. Of course you tend to be that in most video games, but this was the first time it was noticable in the GTA series. For the first time, it didn't feel like what you were doing was happening because of you but it was happening to you. Not a bad game by any stretch, just not a good GTA game.

5. Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars

-Yes, this is the DS version I'm speaking of. The highest reviewed game on the original Nintendo DS system and it was for a good reason. The GTA formula on the dual screened handle worked perfectly for the controversial drug dealing mini game found within. More than anything though, it had one of the best stories the series had seen. The game was also released on Sony's fledgling PSP system but did not sell nearly as well as it did on the DS. This often overlooked version of the GTA world makes my list, but just barely.

4. Grand Theft Auto 3

-The game that truly started it all and the one that brought the series into 3D. I touched on this game slightly in the article where I ranked gaming franchises, but it makes number 4 on my list because when it comes to the OG PS2 games, this one has probably aged the worst. Not saying that's a bad thing, because technical limitations and being the first of the polygonal games will do that, but you can really see that this was truly the foundation for what Rockstar had coming. The story, as usual though, was top notch. But being honest, this makes my list solely based on impact.

3. Grand Theft Auto: Vice City

-The 2002 GTA version of Miami was BIG. An improvement in every way on what GTA 3 brought to the table, we got what quite honestly a lot of people expected GTA to be after 3 was released. To me, this game is GTA in its purest form, as the 1980's Miami vibe was a perfect fit for what Rockstar was doing with the franchise, focusing on the crack epidemic and the multiple gangs and ethnic groups that inhabited that time period. The gameplay was of course, classic GTA, but what set this game apart was the perfect meshing of timeline and gameplay.

2. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

-Yes, there is a personal bias that many gamers including myself have towards this game for obvious reasons, but the impact this made on not just the gaming community, but the African-American community cannot be understated. HOWEVER, as a gamer I can still remain impartial and the era's floaty controls still hurt in a few cases (including that fucking train mission) and of course some of the dialogue was a little cheesy, but not nearly as much as you would expect. Story wise, it continued Rockstar's stellar track record and gameplay wise, it was the most varied of the games to that point, allowing you to physically perfect your character and have an effect on CJ's look body wise by working out. This game was at the time the largest of the GTA games and it truly felt like traveling around an entire state. Rockstar was getting close to perfecting their formula.

1. Grand Theft Auto 5

-Was there really any doubt? Yes, it's the most recent of the games, but one look at it and it's easy to see that 5 is the culmination of EVERYTHING Rockstar has done with this franchise since 1999. The 3 character gameplay was a HUGE change for the series and not only that, but the overall feel of the gameplay and driving was such an improvement over 4 that it felt like a completely different game. What sets 5 apart from the other is the massive multiplayer GTA Online that was offered with the base game. While it had a very rocky start with servers and failed promises (WE DIDN'T GET HEISTS FOR DAMN NEAR A YEAR), when Rockstar finally got it right, they nailed it. Even now, after having been released on the both the previous and current generation of consoles, GTA Online is STILL raking in money for Rockstar and I'd be surprised if we even see anything about a new installment in the series before 2019.

So there you have it. My top 5 GTA games. I'm sure some lists will be different, so let us know what you have.



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