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Grand Theft Auto: The Top 10 in the Series

Grand Theft Auto: The Top 10 in the Series
Brenden Mernargh

Written by Brenden Mernagh - Staff Writer

Published on Wednesday, 18 September 2013 18:47




To get ready for this weeks launch of Grand Theft Auto V, I thought it would be important to reflect on the series and provide a list from worst to best!  This of course is sans expansion packs and GTA V!  Regardless... Let the countdown commence:  


10. Grand Theft Auto Advance (2004 - Gameboy Advance)




















Released in 2004, GTA:Advance was the first foray into mobile gaming for the series and left a lot to be desired.  It was a prequel of sorts to Grand Theft Auto III as it took place in a 2D version of Liberty City.  What held this title back, however, was it’s weak story, bland graphics (even by Gameboy Advance standards), terrible soundtrack, and the poor control.  Not terrible, but definitely not the highpoint of the series.

9.  GrandTheft Auto Liberty City Stories  (2005 - PSP)



Another effort into the realm of mobile gaming, Liberty City Stories was released on the PSP and later on the PS2.  It was very similar to Grand Theft Auto 3, taking place in the (New York inspired) Liberty City, but it lacked the strong narrative element of it’s console brethren and was held back by poor control and a bad frame rate.  Despite a better mobile effort than GTA: Advance, Liberty City Stories was mostly forgettable.

8. Grand Theft Auto 2  (1999 - PC)



Released on the PC in 1999, GTA 2 took place in the quasi-futuristic Anywhere, USA.  Cool fact: based on fictional journal entries on the GTA 2 website, the game actually takes place during 2013.  So, that’s cool, I guess.   GTA 2 introduced daylight time changes to the series. While not innovating nearly as much as it’s predecessor, it stands as one of the first and deserves recognition.  


7. Grand Theft Auto (1997 - PC)



The first of the series, and released on the PC way back in 1997.  It was played from a top-down 2D perspective and while not aging as well as other classic games, it helped usher in a new era of adult-related content and mature themes and satire that the series became known for.  Play it, learn from it, and reflect on it.  


6. Grand Theft Auto Vice City Stories (2006 - PSP)



The best version of GTA to appear on the PSP, Vice City Stories took place in the same world as Vice City (duh) and while not having as strong a story as it’s console big-brother, it pushed the boundaries and redefined the limits of portable story-telling and tech.  


5. Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (2002 - PS2)



Vice City was the first full-fledged GTA game that took a thematic ‘mise en scene’ and ran with it.  Taking place in a fictional 1980s Miami setting, Vice City was the first GTA title to provide some startling social satire and took the comedic elements of previous titles to a whole new level.  Vice City was ambitious and elevated ideas and elements introduced in GTA 3, but....  


4. Grand Theft Auto III (2001 - PS2)



Perhaps the first game of the PS2 generation that made me think that this was the “future of videogames.”  GTA  III was the game that changed everything.  A fully realized 3D world in which (at the time) anything seemed possible.  This set in stone the parameters and narrative of almost every Rockstar game to follow and while, perhaps, not as good as Vice City, GTA 3 deserves to played if only for the fact that it innovated as much as it did.   


3. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (2004 - PS2)



Taking the thematic, satirical, and narrative components of GTA: Vice City and GTA 3 and expanding upon them in so many ways, this was the quintessential GTA experience of the PS2 generation.  San Andreas spanned three cities and pushed the limits of what and what was not acceptable in this digital medium.  It didn’t feel like it could get any better.   

2. Grand Theft Auto Chinatown Wars (2009 - Nintendo DS)



What makes Chinatown Wars such an impressive title is it’s reliance on narrative and it’s reference to the original two GTA titles.  Taking place in a 3D world, but limiting the player to a 2D perspective, it relied on classic and touch controls and provided what is arguably the best story in the series.  I played it on my iPhone first, but the definitive Chinatown Wars is still the original Nintendo DS version.  

1. Grand Theft Auto IV (2008 - PS3 and Xbox 360)



I have yet to play GTA V, and I am afraid to do so.   GTA IV was arguably the definitive title of this current console generation; it was an open world unlike any other.  I remember reading articles about how this was the future of the video games and it made me think that it would be decades before it became anymore advanced.  If GTA V rises to these heights, I can only imagine what it will inspire;  I’m scared.  


Enjoy GTA V and if you disagree leave a comment! 


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