There’s no denying that the Grand Theft Auto series will go down as one of the greatest franchises in entertainment history.
For the last two decades, the GTA series has captivated gamers across the globe. Reckless driving, wreaking havoc in the middle of town and engaging side missions are some of the many elements that have made the series so popular over the years.
Rockstar, the game’s publisher, have released 14 editions of the iconic series. With GTA 6 on the cards for a 2023 release, fans can begin to get excited for not only enhanced gameplay through the PS5 and Xbox Series One, but also for the first GTA release since 2013.
Each edition of the franchise has gotten more and more popular with regards to commercial success, but how do the games rank when placed in a classic ‘Tiermaker’?
Absolutely Not: Grand Theft Auto, Grand Theft Auto: London, Grand Theft Auto Advance
The three earliest editions of the game are ranked at the bottom simply because each future release has more compelling gameplay and storylines.
With very few levels, game modes and playable characters when compared to future releases, it’s evident why these three editions are ranked lower than the other 11. Credit must be shown where it’s due, though, because it’s the early editions of GTA that kickstarted one of the greatest gaming franchises in history.
Below Average: Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars, Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories, GTA 2
These three releases showed great improvements from earlier editions, but once again, everything that came out after them has been so much better.
GTA 2 used some 3D design which showed significant advancements in the game’s mechanics, but it’s not connected to any other GTA game and players have no idea what year it takes place.
Like GTA 2, GTA: Chinatown Wars came out in 1999, and while it is connected to the other game as it takes place a year after GTA IV, the storyline is quite underwhelming. The main objective of the game is to retrieve a sword.
The biggest issue with Liberty City Stories was that it was released right after the very successful San Andreas. In Liberty City Stories, users could not swim or fly helicopters, which was disappointing in the eyes of many. As well as that, the main character Tony Cipriani has an underdeveloped storyline and is not as enticing as other GTA protagonists.
Good: Grand Theft Auto IV: The Lost And Damned
The Lost And Damned is arguably one of the most bold GTA releases. Released following GTA IV, the biker gang concept was a fan favourite, as many enjoyed fighting rival gangs and cruising around the city in choppers.
The new story, new focus and the compelling storyline that concludes with an emotional ending are what make this release a memorable edition to the franchise.
Amazing: Grand Theft Auto III, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, Grand Theft Auto: The Ballad of Gay Tony, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories
Now we get into the nitty-gritty.
GTA III came out in 2001 and was the first GTA game set in completely 3D. The revenge mission was not the only exciting aspect of this game, as the over-the-shoulder perspective introduced a whole new way for users to experience the world of GTA.
For its sheer entertainment, San Andreas will always be a fan favourite. CJ is such an iconic character that even those who don’t play GTA know who he his simply because of today’s internet culture. Users were able to engage in a lot more as well, including owning a business, having multiple girlfriends and exploring two new cities.
The Ballad of Gay Tony was a fun and unique effort by Rockstar to put a different spin on the franchise. This edition was refreshing as it really lightened the mood of the GTA series, as well as allowed fans to use parachutes, sticky bombs, tanks and large military-grade weapons. We can’t forget to mention the groovy soundtrack too.
The characters in both Vice City and Vice City Stories are arguably the best in the franchise. Vice City Stories was an exclusive release for PSP with the goal of the game to take over the city and make a lot of money. What more could you want?
Untouchable: Grand Theft Auto IV, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, Grand Theft Auto V
It doesn’t get better than this.
Each of these releases is special in their own, unique way. GTA IV is special for its portrayal of the American Dream through an immigrant who wants to make something from nothing. The ethical implications the game provides, like choosing to kill someone or spare someone, is what makes it so engaging for users.
Vice City is special for so many reasons. Whether it be the soundtrack, the 80s landscape or the protagonist Tommy Vercetti, fans will always be engaged and excited when playing Vice City. The fast-paced nature of the game makes you never want to leave your console and instead continue making money and creating chaos in Miami.
And for the pièce de résistance GTA V. The franchise’s last release, which is the second-highest-selling video game of all time behind Minecraft, is exemplary for many reasons.
Firstly, the attention to detail in the gameplay makes it so eye-catching for users. It’s so well-made that users can even watch TV and browse a fictional internet. The game also offers more alternatives if you aren’t one for missions, as well as the usual tomfoolery in city and random gunfights. Users are also taken back to a fan favourite location San Andreas.
As fans eagerly await Rockstar’s next release, they seem to have quite the collection of previous editions to further fuel their excitement until then.