With a new shift in game design, GTA 3 completely redefined the entire video game history.
Twenty years later, newer players might ask themselves why this game is so highly regarded. Indeed, GTA 3 hasn't aged well in certain regards. The camera is rigid, and the missions are relentlessly tricky. Nonetheless, its legendary status cannot be denied. It holds its place in history.
For comparison's sake, the Wright Brother's first plane would not hold up by today's standards. However, it served its purpose. Like the Wright Flyer, GTA 3 laid out the blueprint for future generations. There are several reasons why this game is one of the most important.
Five reasons why GTA 3 remains a masterpiece
1) It revolutionized open world games
Back in the day, most video games followed a basic linear format. GTA 3 was not like other games. They value freedom in their game design.
Players can pick between mandatory and optional missions, but they could even ignore the story entirely. Players can explore Liberty City and do whatever they want. In comparison, level-based games seemed outdated. Players have more room to be creative with their gameplay.
2) The sound design was top notch
Liberty City is a dark and gloomy place to be. What helps make the atmosphere is the sound design. There were thousands of them within the game. Players can immerse themselves in these sounds. Gunshots, blaring car horns, and pedestrian dialog echo through the streets
Voice acting and radio stations also deserve mention. GTA 3 offers good vocal performances in the main storyline. This was a rarity at the time. Better yet, the official soundtrack was also pleasing to the ears. Rockstar captures contemporary musical hits from the early 2000s.
3) GTA 3 proved mature games had staying power
Family-friendly games have distinct advantages over mature ones. Parents are more likely to let their children buy these games. This was the train of thought back in the day. GTA 3 proved it wrong.
Sales records show that mature games could become mainstream. GTA 3 was even more controversial than Mortal Kombat. Despite the efforts of moral guardians, Rockstar Games continued its momentum. Ironically, many players have fond childhood memories of GTA 3.
4) This was a major transition to 3D
This was not easy for Rockstar Games. At this point, they mainly developed 2D games. The new millennium saw game companies switched over to 3D, and the success rate was hit-or-miss. Mario and Zelda thrived, whereas Worms and Earthworm Jim did not.
The massive success of GTA 3 is a testament to the development team. Rockstar Games made Liberty City into a living and breathing environment.
5) Gameplay is always the main priority
One could argue that modern GTA titles are held back by narrative structures. Most players shoot whatever they see others in sight. They are chaotic by their very nature. However, it often conflicts with the story. The likes of Niko Bellic would never run over pedestrians (at least on purpose).
GTA 3 lacks these moral dilemmas. Instead, players can do whatever they want. GTA 3 is gameplay first and story second. The game mainly focuses on open-world exploration, and players barely concern themselves with the story. Instead, they just want to pick up a controller and cause widespread destruction.
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Note: This article reflects the writer's personal views.
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