GTA 3 players know better than anyone - this is one of the most difficult games in the entire series.
It goes beyond hard-to-beat missions. While GTA 3 was a revolutionary leader among open-world games, certain aspects do age rather poorly. Sometimes it's an unresponsive camera or a user interface that's unintiutive. For some GTA 3 players, it can feel like pulling teeth.
Note that these frustrations only apply to the original PlayStation 2 version of GTA 3. Mobile renditions of the game add features like mission checkpoints, which makes it easier to complete. For newer GTA 3 players, it can be a real challenge trying to fully beat the original game.
Five reasons why GTA 3 is one of the hardest games in the entire series
5) Dying is rather inconvenient
While GTA 3 did introduce unlimited continues to the series, it has a price. Namely, players will lose all their weapons. At this point, a player is better off reloading their last save file. Given how many difficult missions there are, it's rather inconvenient having to track down powerful weapons.
One example is Grand Theft Aero, where a player must gun down cartel members in an airport. Late-game missions require the strongest weapons to survive. If a player dies and loses their assault rifles and RPGs, it's tough luck. They have to find it again or hit the reset button.
Unlike most games of the 3D era, dying in GTA 3 loses the player $1,000. By comparison, hospital bills in GTA San Andreas only cost $100. However, GTA 3 missions offer huge amounts of money, so it shouldn't be an issue.
4) The missions are unforgiving
GTA 3 is without mercy. Rockstar Games can almost be forgiven, since this was their first attempt at a 3D game for the series. However, it doesn't excuse the relentless difficulty of the missions.
Due to a lack of checkpoints, many GTA 3 players will likely restart their missions when they fail an objective. One prominent example is the mission S.A.M. Players not only have to chase an airplane full of cargo, they only get one chance to shoot it down. It's very easy to miss a shot.
The hardest missions in the series can be found in this game, including Kingdom Come, Bomb da Base II, and The Exchange.
3) Players cannot access the map in-game
For some reason, GTA 3 does not show a map whenever players pause the game. Instead, they have to rely on the mini-map. Unfortunately, it only shows what is within the vicinity of the players (in addition to the map icons).
It's rather inexplicable why players cannot access the map on the pause menu. At the very least, most GTA 3 cases have a foldable map. Players will have to use it from time to time, especially if they don't know where to go.
The worst offender in this category is the mission Espresso-2-Go! Under a strict time limit, GTA 3 players must crash a bunch of cartel stalls. It's a notoriously difficult mission for several reasons, one of which is the game never tells the player where to go. It will take multiple attempts to get it down.
2) The camera is restricted while driving
Inconveniently, GTA 3 players cannot rotate the camera when they drive. For newer players, it takes some time to get used to. Like a horse with blinders, players can only see what is in front of them.
Since the players will spend most of their timing driving around Liberty City, a lack of camera movement is a problem. For instance, take the vehicle-based mission Dead Skunk in a Trunk. If the players try to outrun the Forelli mafia, they will be unable to see them from behind. It's easy for enemies to tailgate.
The lack of a rotational camera also causes issues with scouting the area, especially during a heated police chase. Sometimes it can be a distraction, especially for players who have tried out the newer games.
1) Drowning is a constant threat
Water is a major enemy when the player is unable to swim. Since GTA 3 is located on a few small islands, players will always be surrounded by potential death. While it does prevent access to forbidden areas (at least, at that point in the game), water is a dangerous hazard.
Drowning is mostly an issue if players accidentally run off the road. However, it's very easy to do if they are chased by police cars. Accessing boats can also be a painful experience if a player mistimes their jump. Given the clunky movement, it's very easy to mess up.
Rockstar Games justifies the drowning mechanism by stating the Liberty City waters are extremely toxic. This carries over to GTA Vice City; it's not until GTA San Andreas where they finally introduce swimming.
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Note: This article reflects the writer's personal views.