There are only a few other games in the history of gaming that have enjoyed the same amount of success as that of the GTA franchise. Each game has successfully built on the foundations of the previous release to make for one of the most consistent game franchises of all-time.
What started out as a somewhat relatively indie game from the UK has gone on to become a symbol of AAA games today. The GTA franchise is not only a major brand in gaming, but also a fixture of modern media, and one of the highest valued entertainment products in history.
Here, we look at all the GTA games available on the PC and rank the major entries in the franchise.
Ranking all the main entries in the GTA franchise on PC
Grand Theft Auto and Grand Theft Auto II
There is not much that separates the two games. Except a few tweaks in controls and slightly updated textures, the games are virtually identical.
Although by no means bad games, GTA and GTA II are both enjoyable to a certain degree. At the time of their release, games like Tomb Raider were already experimenting with 3D models, therefore, the game was dated upon release.
The core idea of the GTA games was the added tension of being chased down by cops. It is that idea that led to the giant franchise GTA has become now.
Grand Theft Auto III
The first game in the 3D era of the GTA franchise, and the third game in the franchise had a lot of bold, new ideas. At the time of its release, the game was revolutionary.
Applying the open-world formula to great success, GTA III is still a fun game, but its tone can get rather repetitive and weighs on you unintentionally.
The game had great ideas that would later be polished in later games, thus, it serves as a great foundation for the rest of the franchise to build upon.
Grand Theft Auto IV
GTA IV perhaps was the most ambitious title in the GTA franchise in terms of the brave approach it took towards narrative and tone. Ditching the over-the-top lighthearted nature of GTA San Andreas, the 4th entry in the franchise took a much more grounded approach.
The game made for a much more serious and grim affair than any other game in the franchise. The driving mechanics were also revamped significantly and handled more like a racing sim than the arcade feel of the previous games.
It is perhaps the 'least fun' entry in the franchise, but is still one heck of a game, and deserves a play-through, even in 2020.
Grand Theft Auto IV: Episodes from Liberty City
(The Ballad of Gay Tony and The Lost and Damnned)
The Episodes from Liberty City expansion pack is perhaps one of the most value-for-money DLC in the history of gaming. Both the games are capable of being standalone titles in the GTA franchise.
What the games lack in length and play time, they make up for in characters, setting. While The Lost and Damnned is arguably the lesser fun game in the two, it is still a great story.
The Ballad of Gay Tony is simply one of the most fun narratives in a GTA game, and rectified a lot of missteps from GTA IV.
Grand Theft Auto V
While GTA V should be somewhere near the very top of the list, it still has a lot of issues that Rockstar need to rectify in its next release. While the game is,tech-wise, far more advanced than any other game in the franchise, it still lacks in a lot of areas.
A great game by every sense of the word, GTA V, however, does not do enough in the way of innovating in the open-world genre it helped establish.
The main story mission structure is in stark contrast with the game's open-world nature, and is an issue Rockstar is yet to address in any of their releases.
GTA V is an excellent game that is worth every cent of its $60 price tag.
Grand Theft Auto San Andreas
The 2004 entry in the GTA franchise is still, to this date, one of the most talked-about games in 2020. Be it because of internet memes or iconic characters, GTA San Andreas has stayed with fans of the game for quite a long time.
Fans of the game will hold it up to be the best in the franchise, and rightfully so. There are only a few games that did the open-world as great as GTA San Andreas did back in 2004.
Leaning into some RPG elements, Rockstar benefited from giving players more control over the character. As to why a lot of those RPG elements have been dropped from later releases is still a mystery.
Grand Theft Auto Vice City
Despite being one of the older games on the list, GTA Vice City has made quite the impression on the videogame community.
The recent Retrowave obsession in media post 2015 only goes to show that GTA Vice City was way ahead of its time. Fans now go back to this absolute classic from 2002 to revel in its neon-drenched Miami-inspired playground.
From the soundtrack to the characters, GTA Vice City rarely misses a step and is perhaps the best game in the GTA franchise.