Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition
Great set of three remastered titles marred by tech issues.
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Based on 11 reviews
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Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition
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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this game.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy -- The Definitive Edition is a collection of three open world adventure games for the PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S, Nintendo Switch, and Windows PCs. These three games let you play as criminals who can wreak havoc in a city by taking lives, including killing innocent pedestrians and police officers. You can use all kinds of weapons to murder others, often resulting in large blood splatters and cries of pain. There are scenes of gore, dismemberment, and decapitation. These games often show sexual imagery, including implied sex scenes, some nudity (in one of the three games), strippers, and sex workers. The titles include heavy drug and alcohol use, and many missions involve selling drugs. People can be seen consuming drugs, too, and you can drink and drive. There's very strong profanity in the dialog and often in the lyrics of the songs you listen to (examples of both include "f--k," "motherf----er," "c--t," and "the N-word."
This game isn’t nearly at all as bad as the last
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What’s It About?
One of the most successful -- and controversial -- video game series is back in the form of GRAND THEFT AUTO: THE TRILOGY - THE DEFINITIVE EDITION, available on multiple platforms and featuring remastered versions of three previously released games: Grand Theft Auto III, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Celebrating the 20th anniversary of the launch of 2001's breakthrough hit Grand Theft Auto III, these games have been updated with modern controls (inspired by Grand Theft Auto V), graphical and environmental upgrades (now using the Unreal engine), including high-resolution textures, enhanced lighting and weather, and other visual, audio and performance tweaks. For all three of these single-player games, you take on the role of a young male character -- Claude in Grand Theft Auto III, an ex-convict named Tommy Vercetti in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, and former gang member Carl "C.J." Johnson in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas -- who takes on various missions performing jobs for those in the criminal underworld in large and interactive fictional cities (namely, Liberty City, Vice City, and San Andreas, respectively, which are based on contemporary New York, Miami in the '80s, and San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas, in the '90s). Played from a third-person perspective while on foot or while behind the wheel of vehicles you can carjack, these are open-ended and mostly non-linear "sandbox" games that let you freely move about to achieve your goals, avoid the police, and work your way up as a criminal force to be reckoned with. Players will learn to use all kinds of weapons. You can choose to hear various radio stations while driving, featuring popular songs from the era they're based on, with humorous radio banter with DJs, as well as commercials. Players will meet -- and often work with or for -- seedy characters, many of whom have a backstory and connection with other characters and events in these individual games.
Is It Any Good?
While these are some of the best examples of interactive entertainment the medium has ever seen, this collection has also been marred with technical issues and other problems. Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy - The Definitive Edition titles provide exceptional storytelling, open worlds that makes you feel like you can do what you want, in any order, and live vicariously in these fictional, bustling cities. You can hop into vehicles (120 in total in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City alone, such as ‘80s sports cars, motorcycles, boats, planes and choppers), and hear great music, have a laugh with silly commercials and disc jockey chatter, meet memorable characters in many locations, and engage in hundreds of primary missions and side quests for a thrilling taste of "underground" adventure. The controls are tight and responsive, the graphics are impressive, and there's a ton of content to keep you entertained for several months on end. The acting is also great, which is often rare for video games. In Grand Theft Auto III, for example, the many cinematic cut-scene sequences are very well done, with more than 30 recurring characters, and voice talent is provided by Hollywood celebs such as Joe Pantoliano, Kyle MacLachlan, and Michael Rapaport. In Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, there are also familiar celebrities, Samuel L. Jackson, Peter Fonda, James Woods and George Clinton, to name a few.
But because of the mature content, it's strongly recommended parents don't allow young kids, tweens or young teens to play these raunchy, gory titles -- and not dismiss them as just "games." There's a lot of adult themes here, including sex, along with murder, drugs, and very strong language in the dialog and lyrics. These remastered versions do in fact look better, but there have been many issues with this remastered collection. On Windows PC, players who paid for the set were unable to play due to Rockstar Launcher issues, and for all versions, these three games have been filled with bugs, visual glitches, freezes and crashes, problems with frame rates, weather effects, and more. To make matters worse, the PC version was said to still contain code from the Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas "Hot Coffee" Easter egg controversy, with a deleted (but still accessible interactive sex scene), along with some developer comments, and other issues, such as some songs that were presumably cut over licensing restrictions -- perhaps these reasons were tied to the game being temporarily pulled from that platform. This is all too bad, as Rockstar Games had a chance to re-release three of arguably the most significant games in a generation, for a whole new generation to enjoy, as well as enable fans of these instant classics to enjoy them all over again with better visuals and revamped controls on modern systems. Hopefully, these issues will be eradicated quickly, so that they don't mar the exceptional work on the originals and give these games a well-deserved new life on today's tech.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about whether Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy -- The Definitive Edition would be as fun without all the controversial content. Isn't it exciting enough to race around a busy city, hop on foot to complete missions, and travel back to your home base? Is the inclusion of the violence, sex, drugs and profanity what makes Grand Theft Auto games so special?
What are the redeeming qualities of the games in the Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy -- The Definitive Edition? Some Grand Theft Auto games let you run your own businesses to make money, so isn't that positive? What about the fact that they're like an interactive movie, with well thought-out dialog and storylines? Shouldn't this be looked at as a form "art" similar to, say, a Quentin Tarantino film that wins awards? Is it a double-standard for games and films of similar content?
- Platforms: Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/S
- Pricing structure: Paid
- Available online?: Available online
- Publisher: Rockstar Games
- Release date: November 12, 2021
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Cars and Trucks, Adventures, Friendship, Music and Sing-Along
- ESRB rating: M for Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Sexual Content, Nudity, Mature Humor, Strong Lyrics, Use of Drugs and Alcohol
- Last updated: November 16, 2021
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