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Review - GTA3, Vice City, San Andreas (PC)

Started by Nightcrawler, January 06, 2014, 07:51:25 PM

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Here was an iconic game that I had from years ago, but never got the time to really play through. I think I waited too long, because unfortunately this game didn't hold up that well to the test of time. While sandbox gaming like this was relative new and exciting back when it was released, later games allow you to do so much more and have advanced all-around. So, it doesn't take long in this early version to exhaust the sandbox fun in just a few hours.  The missions were relatively all too similar to each other and started to get repetitive. By the midway point, the fun started dying off. There was little new or exciting things to be had in the second half of the game in both gameplay and story. I used cheats at that point to avoid the more repetitive tasks and just get the meat and potatoes out of the second half. Even with cheats, I ended up quitting somewhere around the last 2 or 3 missions. They grew too long and frustrating to me and it just wasn't worth it anymore. A trip to Youtube for the last few missions, cut scenes, and ending finished it up for me. It's nice to have such options available in the modern age. Play this only for gaming history.

GTA: Vice City

Vice City was a much more enjoyable game than GTA3. The story and voice acting (Ray Liota) was standout over the last game and the gameplay was generally expanded in all directions. More weapons, more things to do, more objectives during the missions etc. Another noteworthy advancement was the ability to go inside various buildings. Although honestly, there wasn't a whole lot to do in these areas sandbox wise. They served more purpose for variation in the missions department. The addition of a few flying vehicles was nice too. Basically this game was like a giant expansion pack for GTA3 that completed it and made it worthy of playing. It did use the same engine after-all.

It did drag a bit toward the end when there were no more story missions and you could not play the last mission until you acquired a number of properties costing an enormous amount of money. The last mission was also very hard. Cheats to the rescue there to speed those things along. :)

GTA: San Andreas

San Andreas was a step forward and a step backwards. Once again, the gameplay was expanded in nearly all areas, which was very welcome. Even more vehicles, swimming, planes, parachuting, new terrains, countryside, mountains, communication with the NPCs, and more are now possible. Many of those additions were great. However, it was expanded too much in some areas. By making a larger, more realistic world, there was just way too much travel involved to get from place to place, similarly of course to the real world. I was annoyed at the ridiculous amounts of driving time between and during missions. It seemed very excessive and more so than either of the previous two games. Also, while the variety of missions was again expanded, many started to get too long with no ability to save during. So, when you fail, you have to do all that driving and all stages of the mission all over again. Naturally, I would typically make it 95% in before I died, so I had to waste a lot of time repeating up to that point. It reminded me of the NES days were you couldn't save in games. It wasn't quite that bad of course, but it was pretty bad for a modern game. Also, it seems many of the missions have gone in the direction of first person shooter type missions. I was originally attracted to GTA for driving and mixed type missions. San Adreas had plenty of those too, but so many were just shooters.

While the story and voice acting (Samuel L. Jackson) were of enhanced production quality, the whole urban gang culture disagrees with me, so I had a tough time enjoying that type of thing. I enjoyed the characters and story in Vice City more. I was excited for all of the new flying vehicles in this game, but became very disappointed. The controls were pretty terrible. I am an expert at Pilotwings, but no way could I fly that damn jet effectively (I had to repeat that jet mission tons of times) nor could I even fly the normal planes very well. The controls seemed so terrible to me, it was no fun at all to fly them. I ended up playing up to the last mission and once again quit because I had to play through 25 minutes only to cheaply die and I refused to keep playing through 25 minutes of mission each time I needed another chance. I don't know who designs things like that and thinks they are fun. I don't know why you just can't 'repeat the segment/area you died on.

I'm tempted to move on and try GTA4 or maybe try an alternate series such as Saint's Row. Each game gets ever expansive and there were plenty of fun things to do for awhile despite all my complaints. So, while the fun is a bit limited in these games after awhile, they are worth a look and at least a few hours of fun. Hell, the Catalina segments are worth playing if nothing else! She was the best character in the game. :) - The central hub of the ROM hacking community.


I'd recomend Red Dead Redemption. It obviously lacks cars, but there's so much more to do in the game that it's difficult to get bored. If you get sick of story missions you can do side missions, or play poker, dice, or try your hand at breaking horses like a real cowboy.

The combat's improved, but it's the story and setting that make it unique.

There's also L.A. Noire, which is like a mix of GTA, and classic puzzle games. It's a flawed in some its execution, and it's not as all out exciting as the GTA and Saint's Row series, but the puzzle elements in terms of solving cases is certainly unique in the sandbox genre.

Much like you I didn't finish Vice City or GTA3. I gave up in the same spot in VC, and much earlier in GTA3. I didn't get very far in SA at all, although I noticed the flaws with traveling taking forever.

All I can say is mechanically SA was better, but it didn't really resonate with me.

Red Dead Redemption added a fast travel option, which saves a lot of time, and is something I was quite thankful for.
Sleep is like cocaine, for the brain.


Yes, I've heard and read good things about Red Dead Redemption. It's certainly a consideration. I think I am going to take a break from these types of games for awhile though.

I think in all three of them I used a cheat to have weapons available to me because it was simply maddening to have to go to the store and buy new weapons (or collect even more money) just to get some weapons to try the mission again, especially for one you failed many times.

Yes, you could find some weapons scattered about, but that of course just makes even for even LONGER travel times. REgardless, you can't just restart the mission with your weapons. You constantly need to reacquire before you can retry. So really, cheats are necessary to extract the fun from the monotony. - The central hub of the ROM hacking community.