Grand Theft Auto 3 iPhone, iPad Review: A Strong Contender For Game of the Year

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It’s been 10 years since this first game appeared on the PS2. Rockstar Games revisits the game that put this franchise on the map on the ever rising iOS ecosystem!

Grand Theft Auto III (Universal: ON SALE – $2.99) 

“The critically acclaimed blockbuster Grand Theft Auto III comes to mobile devices, bringing to life the dark and seedy underworld of Liberty City. With a massive and diverse open world, a wild cast of characters from every walk of life and the freedom to explore at will, Grand Theft Auto III puts the dark, intriguing and ruthless world of crime at your fingertips.”

Presentation

The game shows its age when it comes to the graphics. You won’t be getting cutting edge graphics, but they’ll do. Of course, there’s the occasional pop-in while you drive around, and some blurry textures on the iPad 1, but on the other devices it seemed to perform like a champ.

If what you want are the best graphics and performance, make sure to play it on an iPhone 4S, where the game even has better lighting effects (such as card and street lamps, lens flare, etc.). What all this means is that even though GTA 3 is a 10 year old game, it can look and perform like a much newer game on your iOS devices.

One thing that stands out for the game is also the professional voice acting and the soundtrack, something that may seem minor, but you’ll notice how great it is having these well done on iOS once you start playing.

Controls

The controls are a mixed bag. When the game was originally released for the PS2, you had a physical controller to work all the functions for the game. And seeing as you’ll be playing the game on a touchscreen device, the only way to get these on there is with virtual buttons, and that means one thing: lots of buttons.

And it’s not really Rockstar’s fault, there’s not much you can do. In fact, throughout most of the game the controls work surprisingly well even on a small screen. You have a floating d-pad to walk, buttons to run, jump, attack, switch weapons, and steal cars. Driving is similar, with buttons to steer, brake, accelerate, shoot, honk, and exit the vehicle.

When the controls begin to get out of hand is during combat. GTA3 uses an auto-targeting system, which paired with the camera system, is a headache. You’ll end up spending more time fighting the camera and the lock on system, rather than your actual enemy.

In the beginning I had a lot of deaths due to the controls, but after a while it got easier as I got used to them. My advice would be to take it easy at first, and get used to them rather than rage quitting.

Gameplay

It’s GTA, and this particular port is of GTA3, that should say it all in itself. Open world crime games are nothing new to the platform, we’ve already seen Rockstar bring an official GTA game (GTA: Chinatown Wars), and we’ve seen lots of Gameloft’s GTA clones (Gangstar series).

The difference between GTA3 and these games is that you have to remember, this game is a console game, not meant for a mobile platform. What that means is that everything is much bigger and deeper, as you go around exploring Liberty City.

You can go ahead and focus in on the main storyline, do side missions, or if you want to just mess around, drive around Liberty City flying off ramps. And just as in those games, you’ll spend your time among gangster, drug lords, eventually even reaching the mafia. The plot just flows through, which makes sense since Rockstar pretty much created the genre.

Conclusion

While GTA3 has a few shortcomings on it’s way to iOS, Rockstar did a brilliant job on porting the PS2 classic onto the iOS devices. You shouldn’t even ask if you should get it, it’s available as a ridiculous price. If this is your first time playing the game, enjoy. And if you’re coming back, driving through Liberty City on your iPhone or iPad will certainly bring back memories.

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  • stefmedialevel

    I’ve recently, 2 months ago bought the iPad2 trough a link on your websites blog. Thank you for all your information about the iPad. I thnk there could be more websites like yours.

  • Vlad George Sabau

    Hy guys  1 week ago I won a free iphone 4s from here http://getappleproductsforfree.com/ and I dont know how to install apps…please help

  • pandre

    Nice review. You know max payne is already out? You can check my review
    at http://www.goedkopeipad.com . I have it for my ipad 3.

  • pandre

    Nice blog. I’m lookin for a ipad 3 hoes you know. where i can find them cheap?

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