Wednesday, June 11, 2014

My History with the GTA series. Part 2: Welcome to Liberty City!

On the back of one of my instruction booklets for either GTA or GTA 2 is an advertisement for GTA 3. At that time I didn't own a PS2 or Xbox to see what GTA 3 was all about. So when I saw the protagonist standing with a gun in the middle of a 3D environment, I simply assumed it was an amazing cutscene from yet another installment of the Grand Theft Auto series.

Later I witnessed the insanity of GTA 3 firsthand (watching a friend play) and I wasn't prepared for what I saw. Full-on 3D environments with living and breathing city atmosphere. Cars, weapons and so many other ways to cause mayhem in a completely new way, in a new setting, from a new point of view! It was simply amazing.

After acquiring an Xbox a few years later, some of the first games I set out to purchase were the GTA series. I remember sitting down and telling myself that I had to play through the missions and finish the game, because I had never finished any of the previous GTA games. The GTA series is essentially an RPG, and in GTA 3 that really drew me into the game and helped me stick it out and play through almost all of the missions. But sadly the last few missions caused me such frustration that the lust for mayhem took control and the final missions went unfinished for quite a few years.

GTA 3 really brought a lot to the table, in terms of game value. I remember stunt jumps from the original 2D games, but in the 3D world they were much more interesting, as were many of the other things such as finding the hidden "packages" and having safe houses, the ability to save your favorite type of car, etc.

GTA 3 packed in three different islands, each with it's own style and flair, meaning I could switch between each island and never get bored. From racing around the city and mowing people over in my car to blowing people up and learning that, for some stupid reason, I couldn't swim, I always found something to keep me busy, outside of the extensive list of things the game had given us to reach 100% completion.

Rife with secrets such as the hidden intro city, that required you to learn how to fly the almost inoperable Dodo, and many different styles of neighborhoods in which to cause chaos, I found GTA 3 to be worth far more than I paid for the game, used of course. Even so there came a time when the desire to find a new place and time overcame me, which is when I decided it was time to pack my bags and head to a new place. Somewhere warm, pastel, loaded with hot women, fast cars and tons of crazy people... Vice City!