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Grand Theft Auto 3
By: Matt C. on November 4, 2001

I don't believe it. They finally did it. Someone finally created my dream game. Ever since Driver was released on the PS One a couple years back, I have always been obsessed with the idea of a game where you can just go around and do whatever you want in a realistic and detailed city. Grand Theft Auto 3 is that game.

The first thing you'll notice as you boot up Grand Theft Auto 3 is that there aren't any conventional main menus. As soon as the intro movie is over, you are immediately thrown right into the game. Each game mode is ingeniously woven together. Want to try out the "crazy taxi" mode? Simply steal a taxi car, hit the R3 button, and follow your radar to the closest passenger. The same is done to enter the ambulance, police, and firetruck mode.

Performing missions is also very simple. Just follow your radar to the nearest boss and follow the given instructions. The missions themselves are far from repetitive. One of them has you sniping bad guys from rooftops to give your friend coverfire so he can plant bombs on a ship, while another has you gunning down a photographer on speed boats.

Other missions include street racing a local gang of mofos, assassinating various gang leaders, and planting a car bomb outside of a restaurant. The best part is that most missions don't have a time limit. This allows you to plan out what you're going to do beforehand. This also keeps the game from getting overly frustrating since you're rarely in a rush to accomplish tasks.

When you're not doing missions, Grand Theft Auto 3 gives you freedom to do pretty much whatever you want. You can explore the city, snipe random people from rooftops, have sex with hookers, run around and steal cars, mug people using your fist or a baseball bat, drive your car over various jumps to earn extra cash, push people off of bridges into the ocean - and the list continues. The replay value is astonishing.

Naturally, doing most of the things listed above will result in the police coming after you. Fortunately, cops aren't as strict as they are in Driver. If you run red lights or go over the speed limit, they'll leave you alone. However, killing people is a totally different story. Luckily, you're allowed to fight back using your fists if they get out of their cars, or if they're patrolling the streets on foot. Shooting them is only a last resort since that will only bring more cops to your location.

Graphically, GTA 3 looks amazing (obviously, assuming you have a good TV). Buildings are extremely detailed and rarely look the same as other structures in the city. The draw distance varies from area to area. At some locations, objects seem to appear out of nowhere, while in other areas, you can see for miles!! In fact, if you go to the highest elevation in the game, you can actually see all three islands on screen at once! I was really blown away by this. (Note: I recommend that you turn off the "trails" effect in the options menu. The game tends to be too blurry and dark with it turned on.)

Granted, you can't see peds or cars from far away, since they are constantly being generated by the PS2 - but seeing a building from miles away and actually being able to go there is incredible. The framerate even keeps up despite all of the objects onscreen at once. I only wish that you could enter more buildings.

Overall, Grand Theft Auto 3 is one unique, untraditional, and humorous game. It's a little on the easy side, but makes up for it with its unrestricted and open ended gameplay (not to mention the countless number of missions). The storyline may not be that original, but who cares? I rarely give out perfect scores in my reviews, but GTA 3 is so friggin' amazing, I'd be a fool not to. Do yourself a favor and buy this game, ASAP.

Graphics: 9 Sound: 9 Music: 9 Replay Value: 10
Overall Score: 10

Best Features (+) (+) Worst Features (-)
Massive Environments Minor Camera Problems
Detailed Cities Minor Slowdown in some spots
Open-Ended and additive
Minor Pop-up
Non-repetitive Missions Can't swim out of water
Plenty of Vehicles to steal '
Humorous dialogue '

© Copyright 2001 PlayStation Pro 2

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