There are some legitimate reasons for GTA fans preferring the newer HD universe over the old-school 3D universe.
The HD universe comprises of GTA 4 (and its expansions), GTA Chinatown Wars, GTA 5, and GTA Online. The 3D universe comprises of all of the games before GTA 4 but after GTA 2. Unsurprisingly, different eras have led to many differences between the two series of games.
Most of the games within the series are amazing, so this article will focus more on the aspects of the HD universe that endears itself to its fans. More specifically, the article will dive into the traits that make it stand out over the older titles.
Some GTA fans believe the HD universe is better than the 3D universe, here's why:
5) Better graphics
This one is a no-brainer. Even if the HD universe of GTA games isn't the most impressive visually, they still have the best graphics in the series. The 3D universe, while fun, has aged the worst in the franchise.
In a way, this also extends to the quality of the animations found in the newer games. The HD universe has fluid and smooth animations, whereas the games before GTA 4 were rigid at times.
This, combined with better graphics, makes the later games in the series look better visually.
4) More advanced physics
As fun as the earlier GTA titles were, their physics was incredibly simplistic. By comparison, the HD universe's games feel far more life-like. The physics in these games isn't perfect, but the modified variant of ragdoll physics added a lot of depth to the newer titles.
Characters won't have to reuse the same few death animations in the new format. Likewise, these characters' movements felt far more realistic than in the old format.
3) The HD universe takes place in the modern era
Some gamers prefer to play games relevant to the time they've been a part of. The 3D universe had some old-school titles. For instance, the Vice City games took place in 1984-1986, and GTA San Andreas was set in 1992.
By comparison, the HD titles always take place around the times the games were released. It might seem minor at first glance, but it also allows players to more easily relate to the modern games as they're aware of modern issues, music, and technology.
3) Bigger maps
Not all maps from the HD universe are bigger than the maps seen in the 3D universe (with GTA San Andreas standing above GTA 4 in this regard). However, the HD universe has larger worlds on average compared to the 3D universe.
A game like GTA 5 has the largest map in the entire series. Fortunately, there is often a good amount of content sprinkled throughout some parts of the world, so it's not entirely empty.
1) Great online modes
The shift between the 3D and HD universes saw many changes, but one of the most significant would be the focus on online features. Some games like GTA 4 and Chinatown Wars had minor online features (with the former having a predecessor to GTA Online).
However, GTA Online stands out from the rest of the pack. There is nothing like it in the 3D universe (at least officially). Local multiplayer is nice in the older GTA titles, but some gamers genuinely prefer an online system like the one found in GTA Online.
Note: This article reflects the writer's personal views.