Grand Theft Auto 3
System: Playstation 2
Publisher: Rock Star Games
Developer: DMA Design
Released: 2001
Genre: Action
Capabilities: Dual Shock 2 Analog & Feedback Compatible, Memory Card Compatible

GTA 3 ended up being the best selling PS2 game of 2001, beating out much more hyped and earlier released games like Metal Gear Solid 2
and Final Fantasy X. The above pics show why us American's love to jack cars, kill the innocent....just kidding :)
Picture Credit(

Review Written: December 29, 2001

The Game

The first two Grand Theft Auto games were unique game that you played from an 2D, overhead view with very simple graphics where the objective of the games were to steal cars, and run down mobs. Now much like the Duke Nukem series, the third installment is brought into full 3D. Now you get the action from all the down on the ground with much more damage to do. Will this new game engine help out the game at all? Let’s get onto the review and find out.

The Story

You are on your way being transported to a jail, when some fellow gang members help bail you out and make you a free man again. You find your way into Liberty City and join the mafia and go about their ways doing there deeds by rivaling with there opposing gangs, so you can earn money and gain the respect you deserve.


This game takes a big leap in the graphics department from the last installment of GTA. If you skipped my intro, now you’ll find out the game adopted a full 3D engine instead of its old overhead 2D view used in the last two games. And everything looks great right off the bat. All the main characters and bosses you talk to have there own gangster type look, like they came right out of a Godfather movie, complete with the stripped suits and gel-backed hair. All the other civilians looks as good as you expect them to be, and you can easily tell civilians apart from police officers and other gangsters. The faces on characters are the only thing which lack detail, but the default camera (which you have several view points to see the action from, heck even the old GTA camera is still here) mostly views away from the faces. The buildings and strips of roadway look pretty darn real in here, and I can easily compare them to almost (but not quite as good) Crazy Taxi quality with everything looking like it should. Also, the environment is interactive where if you crash into a light post at high speed, you’ll knock it over! Also if you make a weird stunt and land upside down, you better make sure to get out of your vehicle right away, because it will explode within seconds.

Everything in this game runs at a fast rate with not much slowdown at all, but there is a bit of fog here and there, but not too much to get distracting. The animation of everything is top notch also, like running down a street, swinging a ball bat, and speeding in your car looks as good as it gets, and when your vehicle rams into another one, you’ll notice it on your car as well. There is not too many menus that get in your way of game play. You got a small map in the corner which shows you where you are, and comes in handy to navigate your way to job destinations indicated by certain colored dots and icons on the map. You also have an icon at the upper right hand corner of the screen which says what weapon you are using. Most of the other menus are hidden away in the pause menu. The cut scenes look great and uses the in game graphics to generate them.


The audio department is a surprisingly well done area in the game. All the sound effects in the game like the car revving up its engine, foot steps, and vehicle clashes sound exactly the way they should. The voice acting is done perfectly where all the gangsters have voices of all the ones you see of television shows, and the police officers sounding exactly the way they do when they shout out at you to arrest you. But the best part about the audio in this game is the radio station. Where you have several radio stations at your choosing to listen to while you drive a vehicle. We got most types of music covered here like classical, heavy metal, hip hop, and eighties music stations for example. What’s even great is the Chatterbox radio station which consists of mostly ads and talk shows where you can listen to callers talk to radio disc jockeys as you perform your daily crimes.

Game play

I just love the default control set up the developers at DMA gave us. I adapted to it rather fast. While you walk around on foot with the analog stick, you can turn your walk into a slow jog by slowly tapping X, or make it into a run by holding X. When you get tired of going around on foot go ahead and jack a car by pressing triangle next to it, but make sure to drive off right away or else the owner will put up a fight with you for it. Circle fires your weapon or throws punches if you’re unarmed, just make sure to watch where you do it or pedestrians will fight back or the cops will come in and punch you. If you’re not satisfied with the default controls you can go ahead and pick a different set up. And yes, this game engine is unique, but not original. Games like Driver 2 used this engine a couple of years before it, and this game borrows elements, like the radar map used to find jobs and destinations, from Sim Copter.

When you get done with the little tutorial at the beginning of the game you have to find work. Usually you go to Luigi’s to get your first job to transport one of his fellow gangsters. Later you move on to more serious jobs like taking out rival gangs equipment and gang members. The map on screen during game play shows you where to go to pick up transports or where certain jobs need to be done on your assigned objective. The rest of the computer controlled drivers and pedestrians are mostly law abiding so don’t go driving too crazy, because if you go speeding down a local street, a cop will most likely start to chase you down. The same rules go for you on foot, like I decided to beat up a random pedestrian, and a cop came down and started beating on me. When you run from the cops more cars join the chase so you have to speed away from them and change vehicles before they see you do it. When you successfully complete missions you get money to use to buy better weapons and accessories.

Tired of living the life of a gangster? You can decide to jack a Police Car and live the life of a police officer by arresting other criminals, or be an ambulance driver and rescue other injured citizens, or live the life of a taxi driver by jacking a cab and picking up passengers and taking them to there destination to earn fares much like in Crazy Taxi. There’s so many careers and paths you can play in this game so the life span for it increases for it by a lot.

Replay Value

There is just so much you can do in this game it is unbelievable. You have to explore the town by every single inch, not just to gaze at how great everything looks, but to find the 100 hidden packages in the game as well. The game also has loads of missions under many different careers to follow, which combined equals countless hours of game play. GTA3's missions are really challenging, and most you will be able to pull off, but some can get so hard that even veteran gamers will have much trouble completing them. The only thing I could have wished for in this game to make it perfect would be a two player game of some sort, but this game seemed designed for one player so I can easily go without it.

In Brief

+: Great in game graphics, many career paths to take, endless hours of game play, great radio station to listen to

-: Little bits of fog here and there, two player mode would’ve been nice, some missions are way too hard to pull off

The Final Ratings Rundown

Graphics: 8.8
Sound: 9.4
Game play: 9.5
Replay Value: 9.7

Overall: 9.3

Rounded to fit GameFAQs Score: 9


Grand Theft Auto 3 is a major improvement over the first two. Bringing the game into 3D was a great choice by the developers. This game is already selling really fast, and it is no surprise why it wouldn’t be. The game play is really addicting, and the life span for it is surprisingly long. And for those solo players looking for the perfect game, this might just be the one for them.

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