The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Game Review: Rockstar ruins revolutionary gaming titles

Photo courtesy of Rockstar GamesMain character of “Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas,” CJ, drives away from an explosion on a motorcycle. The definitive edition released Nov. 11.

Three game remasters have had features stripped away from them

Juan Salinas II
campus editor

The original Grand Theft Auto trilogy has been praised by the gaming industry for decades. 

Each title has been described as a masterpiece, revolutionary or a monumental achievement in gaming. The trilogy revolutionized the industry, and the foundation of those games is still felt to this very day. GTA showed the world that video games weren’t just for children and are capable of telling mature stories. These games have inspired a generation of developers. 

Twenty years after the release of “Grand Theft Auto 3,” Rockstar Games decided these classics needed a facelift. Instead of doing it in-house, Rockstar decided Grove Street Games — a mobile developer — should be responsible for remastering these games that defined a console generation. 

This simple facelift has been butchered to all hell. Grove Street Games has done a terrible job of remastering these games. All three games have numerous problems that could be categorized as minor to game-breaking. Some of these bugs are from the 10th-anniversary edition of the games, which was made by the same studio, while others are brand new to this version. 

Even with the day one patch, issues associated with alpha or beta builds are still in the games. Bridges in “GTA San Andreas” won’t appear, but still have collision, so CJ, the main character, will just be driving over an invisible bridge. You fall out of the map in some areas in “GTA 3,” and missions are just straight-up broken in “GTA Vice City.”  

It still has the mobile interface, for crying out loud. These bugs from the mobile version break mechanics from the original games that worked just fine before. Little details from the original releases of the games are removed for whatever reason. For example, the different animations for the three body types CJ can get through overeating or working out. So, instead of having a waddling fat CJ, he uses the basic skinny animations. I could go on and on about these removed features and elements that made the originals so great.  

The games still feel how they did 20 years ago, but now, each title has improvements in the control department. Driving has been overhauled. Vehicles have some weight now. It isn’t realistic per se, just less arcade-like than the originals. 

The weapon wheel from “GTA 5” and the modern rotating camera for “GTA 3” and “Vice City” are welcome changes, making those games less frustrating to go back to. But, the implementation of them feels like a fan-made mod — which I had installed in my original pc version — and would be acceptable for a free download, but when you are charging $60, I would expect a little bit of effort on revamping the controls. 

One positive is the environment. The games use Unreal Engine to handle the graphics, while the old engine handles the rest, which would explain the numerous bugs. It probably looks like a mess in the source code. The environment has been fully revamped with new textures and added props to make the world more lived in. Driving the Sanchez around the countryside, catching the L train in the mean streets of Liberty City and the neon lights of Vice City has never looked better. However, some of these improvements ruined the aesthetic of these games. Maxing out the draw distance sounds like a good idea on paper, but when you can see the whole “state” from one building, it kills the immersion. Also, it seems like the majority of signs and billboards have been lazily upscaled by A.I. because they contain spelling errors or are just unpleasant to look at. The new lighting system and upgraded explosive effects really make you feel like you are experiencing these games for the first time with childlike wonder. 

But, it is too bad because once you get sucked into the world, a significant bug or broken mechanic will ruin it all and bring you back to face the awful reality that is this “definitive edition” 

This edition is a slap in the face to these beloved games. If this is how Rockstar treats the games that made them what they are today, I have major concerns for the future of this studio and its games. 

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