All of the GTA games have had good to phenomenal reviews from critics, but some are bound to be underappreciated by the fanbase today.
Popular video game series like the GTA franchise are bound to have some hidden gems underappreciated by today's standards. They weren't necessarily underappreciated when released, but their fame and reputation have unquestionably fallen off since then.
Whether it's a matter of a few years or two decades, a lot can change for how many gamers appreciate a particular GTA title. Naturally, every GTA game has fans that still appreciate it to this day. Hence, the purpose of this article is to focus on the GTA community's general perception of the following games.
Five of the most underappreciated GTA games in the series
#5 - GTA Online (PS3 & Xbox 360 only)
This entry is strictly for the PS3 and Xbox 360 versions of GTA Online. The modern GTA Online (the enhanced version) is definitely not underappreciated (so much that some could classify it as overrated). However, this outdated version (which hasn't been updated in years) is overlooked by the GTA community. After all, some people don't want to play an outdated game.
However, this old version of GTA Online lacks some of the frustrating features found in modern GTA Online. There are no Oppressor Mk II griefers, no daily businesses to run, and no other obligations that some players might find annoying in the enhanced version of GTA Online.
In some ways, it's a completely different metagame. It still has the core gameplay features of GTA Online but in a more archaic way. People still play GTA Online on these old systems, even though there hasn't been anything new to do in years.
#4 - GTA 2
The 2D universe of GTA games is heavily underrated as a whole, largely because of its 2D nature.
Out of all of the games in the 2D universe, GTA 2 is easily the most robust of that generation (Chinatown Wars is officially a part of the HD universe and Advance is officially a part of the 3D universe). It's basically a superior version of GTA 1 in terms of gameplay, introducing many of the common features some GTA fans love today.
Radio stations in GTA 2 are jamming, and the city known as Anywhere City is criminally underrated as far as cities go. The general layout of this game is reminiscent of future GTA games, so it's always fascinating to see how far the series has come since its early days.
#3 - GTA 4: The Lost and Damned
The Lost and Damned are sometimes considered the black sheep of the GTA 4 trilogy. It lacks the energy The Ballad of Gay Tony has while not being as original as GTA 4 was. It stands out thanks to its grittiness, but not always to its advantage.
The Lost and Damned is a game about camaraderie, betrayal, and death within a biker family. In many ways, it's the complete opposite of The Ballad of Gay Tony.
However, it isn't a bad game. It offers a unique experience that no other GTA game really replicates, so fans of biker culture (or looking for a GTA game different than the norm) can genuinely enjoy The Lost and Damned.
Another thing that makes this game so underappreciated is how the Lost MC turns out in GTA 5. Trevor constantly punks them out in this game, and the death of the former main protagonist did sour some GTA fans on its legacy.
#2 - GTA Chinatown Wars
Chinatown Wars was unfortunately slotted between GTA 4 and GTA 5, which made the game somewhat forgotten by its fans. However, the first Grand Theft Auto game was exclusive to a Nintendo system (although that would change later when it was released on PSP and mobile devices), so there were some unique aspects about the game worth mentioning.
The dialogue in this game is cleverly written (one could even argue that it's the funniest in the series). Although the game looks like a 2D downgrade from GTA 4, there are some legitimate advantages to Chinatown Wars that might make somebody a fan of this game and not GTA 4.
#1 - GTA Liberty City Stories
Liberty City Stories has several things about the game that make it often overlooked amongst the GTA community. The first thing that pops out is how it compares to the other "Stories" game in Vice City Stories. By comparison, Liberty City is a dull town to explore, whereas Vice City is a charming town.
Likewise, the characters of Liberty City Stories aren't as immediately memorable as the ones found in Vice City Stories. When comparing Liberty City Stories to older games like GTA III, it lacks the legacy of those older, more archaic titles.
However, it's still a fantastic game to play. It's practically GTA III, except with more modernized features and a brand new story. Anybody who is a fan of the older 3D GTA games will likely enjoy Liberty City Stories, as it executes all of the standard 3D features magnificently.
Note: This article reflects the writer’s personal views.