Grand Theft Auto: A Legacy of Innovation and Infamy – An In-Depth Review of the GTA Franchise

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The Grand Theft Auto (GTA) series, developed by Rockstar Games, is one of the most influential and controversial video game franchises in history. It is renowned for its open-world design, storytelling, and the freedom it offers players. Below is a brief overview of each major game in the series.
Grand Theft Auto (1997)
It is the first title of the Grand Theft Auto series and was released in November 1997 for MS-DOS and Microsoft Windows, in December 1997 for the PlayStation and in October 1999 for the Game Boy Color. The original Grand Theft Auto sets the stage for the series with a simple yet engaging premise. Players take on the role of a criminal working their way up the ranks by completing missions such as car thefts, assassinations, and robberies.
The game spans three cities—Liberty City, San Andreas, and Vice City—each with its own unique flavor. The storyline is minimal, focusing more on gameplay freedom and mayhem. The gameplay is presented from a top-down perspective and takes place within an open-world environment in which the player is required to gather a certain number of points (ranging in the millions) to progress through the game's chapters. Points are gathered by completing various missions throughout each city, although the player can gather the points through other means as well.
### Grand Theft Auto II (1999)
Grand Theft Auto 2 is an action-adventure game developed by DMA Design and published by Rockstar Games in October 1999 for Microsoft Windows and the PlayStation, and the Dreamcast and Game Boy Color in 2000. It is the sequel to 1997's Grand Theft Auto, and the second main instalment of the Grand Theft Auto series. In GTA II, players assume the role of Claude Speed in a dystopian future city divided into zones controlled by various gangs.
The storyline revolves around gaining respect from these gangs by completing missions, which often involve attacking rival factions. The player’s relationship with each gang affects the availability of missions and the hostility of the city. This sequel retains the top-down perspective but adds more depth with its faction system and improved graphics.
### Grand Theft Auto III (2001)
Grand Theft Auto III is a 2001 action-adventure game developed by DMA Design and published by Rockstar Games. It is the third main entry in the Grand Theft Auto series, following 1999's Grand Theft Auto 2, and the fifth instalment overall. GTA III is a landmark game that transitioned the series into a 3D open-world environment. Development was shared between DMA Design, based in Edinburgh, and Rockstar, based in New York City. Much of the development involved transforming popular elements from the Grand Theft Auto series into a fully 3D world for the first time.
The game was delayed following the September 11 attacks to allow the team to change references and gameplay deemed inappropriate. Grand Theft Auto III was released in October 2001 for the PlayStation 2, in May 2002 for Windows, and in November 2003 for the Xbox.
The story follows Claude, a silent protagonist betrayed by his girlfriend during a bank heist. After escaping from a prison convoy, Claude sets out to exact revenge and climb the criminal ladder in Liberty City. The game's narrative is rich with characters from various crime families and factions, offering a gritty, cinematic experience. This title introduced many features that became series staples, such as an immersive storyline, voice acting, and a detailed urban environment.
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (2002)
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City is a 2002 action-adventure game developed by Rockstar North and published by Rockstar Games. It is the fourth main game in the Grand Theft Auto series, following 2001's Grand Theft Auto III, and the sixth entry overall. The game is played from a third-person perspective and its world is navigated on foot or by vehicle. The open world design lets the player freely roam Vice City, consisting of two main islands.
The game's plot is based on multiple real-world people and events in Miami such as Cubans, Haitians, and biker gangs, the 1980s crack epidemic, the Mafioso drug lords of Miami, and the dominance of glam metal. The game was also influenced by the films and television of the era, most notably Scarface and Miami Vice. Much of the development work constituted creating the game world to fit the inspiration and time period; the development team conducted extensive field research in Miami while creating the world. Grand Theft Auto: Vice City was released in October 2002 for the PlayStation 2, in May 2003 for Windows, and in November 2003 for the Xbox.
Set in the vibrant, neon-soaked 1980s Vice City, players control Tommy Vercetti, a former mobster recently released from prison. The story begins with a drug deal gone wrong, leading Tommy to seek out those responsible and establish his own criminal empire. Inspired by Miami Vice and Scarface, the game offers a rich, colorful world filled with diverse missions, from real estate acquisition to helicopter attacks. The memorable characters and iconic 80s soundtrack further enhance its nostalgic charm.
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (2004)
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is a 2004 action-adventure game developed by Rockstar North and published by Rockstar Games. It is the seventh title in the Grand Theft Auto series, following 2002's Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. The game is played from a third-person perspective and its world is navigated on foot or by vehicle. The open world design lets the player freely roam San Andreas, consisting of three metropolitan cities: Los Santos, San Fierro, and Las Venturas, based on Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Las Vegas, respectively.
The narrative is based on multiple real-life events in Los Angeles, including the Bloods and Crips street gang rivalry, 1990s crack epidemic, 1992 Los Angeles riots, and the Rampart scandal. The game was released in October 2004 for the PlayStation 2, and in 2005 for Windows and the Xbox. Enhanced versions were released in the 2010s, followed by a remastered version in 2021.
The game received critical acclaim for its characters, narrative, open world design, and visual fidelity, but mixed responses towards its mission design, technical issues, and portrayal of race. It generated controversy when the discovery of the "Hot Coffee" minigame unlocked a hidden sexual scene. Several gaming publications awarded the game year-end accolades, and it is considered one of the sixth generation of console gaming's most significant titles and among the best video games ever made. San Andreas became the best-selling video game of 2004 and the best-selling PlayStation 2 game, with over 27.5 million copies sold. Its successor, Grand Theft Auto IV, was released in April 2008.
San Andreas features one of the series' most expansive worlds, spanning three cities: Los Santos, San Fierro, and Las Venturas. Players follow Carl "CJ" Johnson, who returns home after his mother's murder to rebuild his family's gang and discover the truth behind her death. The storyline delves into early 90s gang culture and themes of loyalty and betrayal. San Andreas introduced RPG elements, such as character customization and skills development, along with a vast array of activities, making it a landmark in the franchise.
Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories (2005)
Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories is a 2005 action-adventure game developed in a collaboration between Rockstar Leeds and Rockstar North, and published by Rockstar Games. The ninth installment in the Grand Theft Auto series, it was initially released as a PlayStation Portable exclusive in October 2005. A port for the PlayStation 2 was later released in June 2006. At the time of release, the recommended retail price of the PS2 port was around half the price of the PSP version, because the PS2 version does not feature the custom soundtrack ripping capability of the PSP version. Ports for iOS, Android and Fire OS devices were also released in December 2015, February 2016, and March 2016, respectively.
The game is the first 3D title in the series to be released for handheld devices, and acts as a prequel to 2001's Grand Theft Auto III, using the same setting of Liberty City (a fictional parody of New York City). A prequel to GTA III, Liberty City Stories follows Toni Cipriani's rise within the Leone crime family. Set in Liberty City, the storyline explores Toni's efforts to regain his standing after spending time in hiding for killing a made man. The game retains the open-world mechanics and mission structure of previous titles but is optimized for portable play, initially launching on the PlayStation Portable before being ported to other systems.
Liberty City Stories received generally positive reviews from critics, and was a commercial success, selling over 8 million copies as of March 2008 and becoming the best selling PSP game of all time. It was followed in October 2006 by Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories, a prequel to 2002's Grand Theft Auto: Vice City.
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories (2006)
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories is a 2006 action-adventure game developed by Rockstar Leeds and Rockstar North, and published by Rockstar Games. The tenth entry in the Grand Theft Auto series, the game was initially released as a PlayStation Portable exclusive in October 2006. A PlayStation 2 port was released in March 2007.
Vice City Stories serves as a prequel to Vice City, featuring Victor Vance, the brother of Lance Vance, as the protagonist. Set in 1984, the story follows Victor's efforts to build a criminal empire while dealing with family and military issues. The game expands on the features of Vice City, adding new activities and a business empire system that allows players to take over businesses and expand their influence across the city.
In addition to the traditional gameplay elements and side missions of the series, the game features a unique empire building system, in which players must expand their criminal syndicate from the ground-up by taking over businesses from rival organizations, and completing missions specific for each of them to increase their income and unlock additional rewards. Like its predecessor, Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories, the PSP version of the game includes a multiplayer mode through a wireless ad hoc network, which allows up to six players to engage in several different game modes.
Vice City Stories received generally positive reviews from critics, and has sold over 4.5 million copies as of March 2008, making it the second best-selling PSP game of all time, after Liberty City Stories. The next game in the series was Grand Theft Auto IV, which was released in April 2008.
Grand Theft Auto IV (2008)
Grand Theft Auto IV is a 2008 action-adventure game developed by Rockstar North and published by Rockstar Games. It is the sixth main entry in the Grand Theft Auto series, following 2004's Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, and the eleventh instalment overall. Returning to Liberty City, GTA IV introduces players to Niko Bellic, an Eastern European immigrant seeking the American Dream.
The story follows Niko as he reunites with his cousin Roman and navigates the city's criminal underworld in search of a better life and revenge against those who betrayed him in the past. The narrative is darker and more mature, focusing on themes of loyalty, corruption, and the immigrant experience. Enhanced graphics, a realistic physics engine, and a detailed, living city set GTA IV apart.
An online multiplayer mode is also included with the game, allowing up to 32 players to engage in both cooperative and competitive gameplay in a recreation of the single-player setting.[b] Two expansion packs were later released for the game, The Lost and Damned and The Ballad of Gay Tony, which both feature new plots that are interconnected with the main Grand Theft Auto IV storyline, and follow new protagonists.
Development of Grand Theft Auto IV began soon after the release of San Andreas and was shared between many of Rockstar's studios worldwide. The game introduced a shift to a more realistic and detailed style and tone for the series. Unlike previous entries, Grand Theft Auto IV lacked a strong cinematic influence, as the team attempted an original approach to the story. As part of their research for the open world, the development team conducted extensive field research in New York, capturing over 100,000 photographs and several hours of video. The developers considered the world to be the most important element of the game; though not the largest map in the series, they considered it comparable in scope due to its verticality and level of detail. The budget climbed to over US$100 million, making it one of the most expensive video games to develop.
Grand Theft Auto IV was released for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 consoles in April 2008, and for Windows in December. Upon release, the game received critical acclaim, with praise particularly directed at the narrative and open-world design. Grand Theft Auto IV broke industry sales records and became the fastest-selling entertainment product in history at the time, earning US$310 million in its first day and US$500 million in its first week.
Grand Theft Auto: The Lost and Damned (2009)
A standalone expansion for GTA IV, The Lost and Damned centers on Johnny Klebitz, a member of the biker gang The Lost. The storyline explores Johnny's struggle to maintain the integrity of his gang amidst internal conflict and external threats. The game features new missions, weapons, and a biker gang theme that offers a different perspective on Liberty City's criminal underworld.
Grand Theft Auto: The Ballad of Gay Tony (2009)
Another expansion for GTA IV, The Ballad of Gay Tony focuses on Luis Fernando Lopez, the bodyguard and business partner of nightclub owner Tony Prince (Gay Tony). The story highlights the glitz and glamor of Liberty City's nightlife while diving into the criminal dealings behind the scenes. The game introduces more extravagant missions, new vehicles, and a lighter, more humorous tone compared to the main game.
Grand Theft Auto V (2013)
Grand Theft Auto V is a 2013 action-adventure game developed by Rockstar North and published by Rockstar Games. It is the seventh main entry in the Grand Theft Auto series, following 2008's Grand Theft Auto IV, and the fifteenth instalment overall. GTA V is the most ambitious entry in the series, featuring three playable protagonists: Michael, a retired bank robber; Trevor, a violent and unpredictable criminal; and Franklin, a young gang member looking for a way out of the hood. Their intertwined stories explore themes of ambition, betrayal, and the corrupting influence of money. Set in the sprawling state of San Andreas, the game offers an expansive open world with diverse environments and activities.
The game world is navigated on foot and by vehicle, from either a third-person or first-person perspective. Players control the protagonists throughout single-player and switch among them, both during and outside missions. The story is centred on the heist sequences, and many missions involve shooting and driving gameplay. A "wanted" system governs the aggression of law enforcement response to players who commit crimes. In Grand Theft Auto Online, the game's online multiplayer mode, up to 30 players engage in a variety of different cooperative and competitive game modes.
Shared between many of Rockstar's studios worldwide, the game's development began around the time of Grand Theft Auto IV's release. The developers drew influence from many of their previous projects (such as Red Dead Redemption and Max Payne 3) and designed the game around three lead protagonists to innovate on the core structure of its predecessors. Much of the development work constituted the open world's creation, and several team members conducted field research around California to capture footage for the design team. The game's soundtrack features an original score composed by a team of producers who collaborated over several years. Grand Theft Auto V was released in September 2013 for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, in November 2014 for the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, in April 2015 for Windows, and in March 2022 for the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S.
Extensively marketed and widely anticipated, the game broke industry sales records and became the fastest-selling entertainment product in history, earning $800 million in its first day and $1 billion in its first three days. It received critical acclaim, with praise directed at its multiple-protagonist design, open world, presentation and gameplay. However, its depiction of violence and women caused controversies.
Several gaming publications awarded the game year-end accolades including Game of the Year awards. In retrospect, it is considered one of seventh and eighth generation console gaming's most significant titles and among the best video games ever made. It is the second-best-selling video game of all time with around 200 million copies shipped, and one of the most financially successful entertainment products of all time, with over $8.5 billion in worldwide revenue. Its successor, Grand Theft Auto VI, is scheduled to be released in 2025.
Grand Theft Auto Online (2013 - Present)
Grand Theft Auto Online is an online multiplayer action-adventure game developed by Rockstar North and published by Rockstar Games. It was released on October 1, 2013 for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, November 18, 2014 for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, April 14, 2015 for Windows, and March 15, 2022 for PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X/S. The game is the online component of Grand Theft Auto V. Set within the fictional state of San Andreas (based on Southern California), Grand Theft Auto Online allows up to 30 players to explore its open world environment and engage in cooperative or competitive game modes.
Developed in tandem with the single-player mode, Grand Theft Auto Online was conceived as a separate experience to be played in a continually evolving world. At launch, it suffered widespread technical issues resulting in the inability to play missions and loss of character data. It initially polarised reviewers, being criticised for its lack of direction and repetitive missions, with praise particularly directed at the scope and open-ended gameplay. It won divided year-end accolades, ranging from Biggest Disappointment to Best Multiplayer, from several gaming publications. The game receives frequent free updates that further expand on the game modes and content, which has improved critical reception. The 2015 Heists update was especially well received by the critics.
GTA Online has evolved into a massive multiplayer experience, continuously updated with new content such as heists, businesses, vehicles, and more. Players can create their characters, buy properties, and participate in a variety of activities with others. The game’s ongoing success and player engagement have made it a cornerstone of Rockstar’s offerings, ensuring the GTA brand remains relevant and popular years after its initial release.
Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition
Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy - The Definitive Edition is a 2021 compilation of three action-adventure games in the Grand Theft Auto series: Grand Theft Auto III (2001), Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (2002), and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (2004). Developed by Grove Street Games and published by Rockstar Games, all three games are remastered, with visual enhancements and gameplay upgrades. The games feature different protagonists and locations within the same continuity. Grand Theft Auto III follows silent protagonist Claude in Liberty City; Vice City, set in 1986, features ex-mobster Tommy Vercetti in the fictional Vice City; and San Andreas, set in 1992, follows gangster Carl "CJ" Johnson within the state of San Andreas.
The two-year development focused on maintaining the look and feel of the original games; the physics code was copied from the originals, and artificial intelligence was used to automatically upscale textures. The development team studied the distinctive qualities of the original games. They added several colouring, weathering, and lighting effects, as well as new assets from Grand Theft Auto V (2013). The team consulted with the original developers at Rockstar North when upgrading the character designs. Prior to release, existing versions of the three games were removed from sale from digital retailers, which led to criticism from audiences and journalists; in response, Rockstar restored the original versions on the Rockstar Store.
The Definitive Edition was released for the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S on November 11, 2021, and for Android and iOS devices on December 14, 2023. The Windows launch was marred by problems with the Rockstar Games Launcher, rendering it unplayable for three days. The game received negative reviews; critics generally praised the enhanced visuals, upgraded lighting, improved controls, and added gameplay mechanics, but criticised its technical problems, art direction, and character models. It was one of the lowest-scoring games of 2021, and was the subject of review bombing on Metacritic. Rockstar apologised for the technical problems and announced its intentions to improve the game through updates.
Upon the game's release, Rockstar confirmed the music matched the trilogy's most recent 2014 re-releases, with over 30 songs missing from Vice City and San Andreas collectively. Some cheats were removed as they "didn't play well" in Unreal Engine. On November 19, Rockstar announced the original versions would be released as a bundle on the Rockstar Store; they were delivered for free to owners of The Definitive Edition on December 3, and remained available with all purchases of the game until June 30 2022. Customers who bought The Definitive Edition through the Rockstar Games Launcher were eligible to receive one free Rockstar game between December 20, 2021 and January 5, 2022.
Preorders for The Definitive Edition began on October 22, 2021, alongside the release of the first full trailer and screenshots demonstrating the graphical enhancements. The game was released for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Windows, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S on November 11, 2021. Physical versions were initially scheduled to release on December 7 but were delayed to December 17 for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X, and to February 11, 2022 for Switch. The Windows version supports Nvidia DLSS, while the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X versions display at 4K resolution with up to 60 frames per second. The game was made available on Steam on January 19, 2023, allowing Steam Deck support, and on the Epic Games Store on February 15.
The game was expected to launch on 11 November at 10 a.m. Eastern Standard Time (UTC−05:00), but an error on the PlayStation Store caused pre-orders to unlock at midnight locally, granting players in Australia and New Zealand access more than 24 hours before planned on PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5. The digital listing was removed from the PlayStation Store in the interim. Upon release, the Rockstar Games Launcher went offline for a period of roughly 28 hours for "maintenance", rendering the game unplayable and unpurchaseable on Windows; the game remained unavailable after the launcher was restored, while Rockstar "remove[d] files unintentionally included" in the game. Based on information discovered by data miners, journalists suggested those files included the removed radio station songs, hidden notes from developers, and San Andreas's controversial Hot Coffee minigame. Following three days of unavailability, the Windows version was restored on November 14. On November 19, Rockstar announced it would work to fix and improve the game through updates, the first of which was released the following day. On November 30, an option was added to San Andreas to view ground fog following criticism of its absence. An update in February 2022 resolved more than 100 bugs.
Android and iOS versions of The Definitive Edition  were originally scheduled to be released in the first half of 2022. Rockstar's parent company Take-Two Interactive updated the release window for the mobile versions in May 2022 to its 2023 fiscal year, ending March 31, 2023, and in November replaced the release date with "TBA". In November 2023, Netflix announced The Definitive Edition would be released for Android and iOS on December 14 via the App Store and Google Play, available for Netflix subscribers and individual purchase. The mobile ports, developed by Video Games Deluxe, addressed additional bugs and added a lighting option to match the original games.
Each game in the Grand Theft Auto series has pushed the boundaries of open-world gaming, offering players increasingly immersive, detailed, and expansive experiences. The franchise's blend of freedom, storytelling, and satire has left a lasting impact on the gaming industry and pop culture.
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ADA LILIA OROZCO CAMPOS
ADA LILIA OROZCO CAMPOS
es un juego maravilloso
07/01/2024
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