It’s been heavily rumored that Rockstar is currently working on a remastered trilogy for the classic Grand Theft Auto games, which include Grand Theft Auto 3, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Reports surrounding the remasters have been backed by credible sources and industry insiders alike, giving some amount of legitimacy to the entire affair.
Naturally, fans are beyond excited to jump back into these genre-defining games of a generation gone by. The games present in the trilogy are all more than a decade old, and haven’t particularly aged well in a number of aspects. According to rumors, Rockstar seems to be putting a lot of work into making these titles appeal to a modern audience – such as switching the games over to Unreal Engine. Here are 14 of the biggest issues that Rockstar needs to iron out in this rumored trilogy of remasters.
Mid Mission Checkpoints
One of the biggest issues with the earlier games in the series is the lack of checkpoints in between missions. Some missions in GTA: San Andreas had checkpoints, but none are present in the remaining games in the trilogy. Coupling that with the fact that enemies can be damage sponges and healing supplies are pretty scarce, it becomes quite cumbersome to tackle many of the late-game missions without resorting to cheat codes. If Rockstar wants to make this rumored trilogy a way for newer fans of Grand Theft Auto to revisit classics, it’s absolutely important that mid-mission checkpoints make the cut in terms of improvements to the core experience.
The gunplay of the earlier GTA games hasn’t aged well. The enemies are damage sponges and don’t react to any hits, and weapons don’t feel satisfying to wield. The aiming can also be a bit clunky at times – although GTA: San Andreas does include a target lock-on feature which alleviates this issue to an extent. In comparison to Rockstar’s work on GTA 5, the gunplay of these earlier games feels ancient. Details on the scope of the remaster remain scant for now , and thus it seems unreasonable to expect a major overhaul to the core systems of the experience. However, a bit of clever design work and tweaking of stats could definitely bump the gunplay of earlier games to serviceable levels nevertheless.
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City and Grand Theft Auto 3 have very janky jump animations, which obviously enough can make the character cumbersome to control. Getting to higher ground can be quite difficult, even more so when you consider the fact that the protagonists in GTA: Vice City and GTA 3 can’t hold and climb up ledges. Much like the gunplay, a series of tweaks might be all that’s needed to get it to acceptable standards.
Wanted Level Systems
The Wanted Level system in the Grand Theft Auto games is one of the most recognizable mechanics in the franchise, however, getting to grips with it in the earlier games can be a painful ordeal. Getting rid of a couple of stars is manageable, but the system becomes quite cumbersome to deal with if the stars go any higher. Armored police vehicles and tanks continually chase you in extraneous numbers, and getting rid of them without Pay n’ Spray or knowledge of stars that reduce these levels is near impossible. The newer Grand Theft Auto games do a great job at displaying all relevant information on the map such as nearby cop cars and their view zones, and the remaster could definitely take a few cues in order to get the system back in shape.
Revamped GTA 3 Controls
GTA 3 surprisingly enough, got a lot of things right for the first truly 3D GTA but the control scheme isn’t one of them. In addition to the character feeling clunky due to dated animations, getting to grips with the control scheme is also a tough ordeal. The PS2 control scheme in particular feels odd, with baffling design decisions such as putting the shoot button to square instead of triggers. Of course, it’s understandable given the age – but modernizing it to a standardized third-person scheme should definitely be a top priority for Rockstar.
Can’t Swim In GTA 3 and GTA: Vice City
Fans of Grand Theft Auto 3 and Grand Theft Auto: Vice City might remember that you can’t swim in those games. While it’s possible to traverse through water using boats, players can’t swim and entering the water will obviously cause imminent death. It’s not so bad on its own, but the fact that boats can sometimes topple and tumble due to Rockstar’s signature physics and get players killed by coming in contact with the water can feel really cheap. Furthermore, getting out of a boat and jumping back to bridges is similarly wanky – and it isn’t uncommon to accidentally get into the water and die instantly.
Map Size In GTA: Vice City
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City is well, quite small when compared to future entries in the series. To its credit, it makes great use of its limited space and has a lot of variety in its relatively small open-world map – which again, has to run smoothly within the constraints of the PS2 hardware. That being said, it’s still hard to shake the feeling that it’s puny when compared to the gargantuan maps in San Andreas. GTA: Vice City had a fair bit of areas that didn’t make it to the final release – including portions of the Washington Beach and a Lighthouse among others, and including those to increase the square footage of the map will definitely incentivize players to seek out new secrets and re-explore the fictionalized recreation of Miami.
No Motorcycles In GTA 3
As mentioned already multiple times, Grand Theft Auto 3 is missing a number of key features due to its age – some of which make the experience quite jarring to go back to after playing future entries in the series. One such feature is motorcycles, which are absent in Grand Theft Auto 3. This makes traversal options severely limited when compared to other games of the rumored trilogy. Adding it would be a time-consuming affair, but it could be monumental in enticing returning players to buy into the remaster.
Lack of Flyable Vehicles In GTA 3
In a similar vein, there are no flyable vehicles in the game too. Coupling that with the previous issue, traversal becomes sorely lacking in variety. Unlike the case with bikes, it’s possible to take to the skies in the original release with the use of cheat codes. This calls for dedicated vehicles for the job – which wouldn’t be too hard to implement if Rockstar decides to give love to this facet of gameplay.
The Mission Wrong Side of the Track – GTA: San Andreas
The earlier GTAs have a handful of missions that can still bring back memories of pain, and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas‘ Wrong Side of the Track is definitely one such mission. The mission sees protagonist CJ gunning down a band of thugs aboard a train alongside Big Smoke. The enemies aboard the train are damage sponges, which combined with Big Smoke’s inaccurate shooting and the short track becomes an exercise in pain. Over the years, players have formulated a plethora of strategies to conquer this challenge – and it’s only fair that the remastered trilogy irons out this issue for newer players.
Zero’s RC Mission – GTA: San Andreas
Zero’s RC Mission is yet another mission in GTA: San Andreas that is difficult to complete using legitimate strategies. The mission sees players take control of an RC plane and hunt down five targets in the neighborhood using the plane’s guns. Flight controls aren’t the strongest suit of any of the three games, so any mission-based around this can be cumbersome to deal with. Furthermore, there’s always the fear of fuel running out – which makes it an annoying tribulation to pass.
You Can’t Climb Ladders In GTA: San Andreas
It’s quite possible that during your travels in San Andreas‘ gargantuan map, you may come across a number of ladders. However, they can’t be scaled which gets all the more annoying since scaling up buildings is greatly improved from the predecessors, thanks to a ledge grab functionality. It’s believed that ladders were an omission from the main release due to space constraints, which calls for adding this pretty basic functionality into the remaster.
Considering the fact that the titles in the rumored trilogy are more than a decade old at this point, it isn’t surprising that the visuals don’t hold up well today. Rockstar’s usage of a realistic art style does these games no favor, as each and every one of the three games looks extremely muddy due to lower resolution textures. Even Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas features blocky hands which can be very off-putting for newer players. Of course, it’s to be considered that this trilogy wouldn’t feature Red Dead Redemption 2 levels of visual fidelity – but some significant efforts need to be put into the textures department to make these games palatable for a modern audience.
There are a plethora of technical problems that make playing many of these classics a grueling ordeal today. Running GTA 3 and GTA: Vice City at framerates above 60fps are known to cause many bugs and unwanted behavior. Rendering distance is painfully low which becomes more apparent at high resolutions. PC versions of GTA 3 and Vice City, in particular, don’t have many options for tweaking the experience. It’s the stuff that’s kind of obvious for remasters but remains a point worth noting nevertheless.