5 underrated things that make GTA 3 so great

Claude shooting
Claude shooting (Image via Rockstar Games)

GTA 3 is a game that can be quite underrated when comparing it to other Grand Theft Auto titles, especially as the years go by. While there are certain aspects of this game that haven't aged well, some of them are quite good, even by modern standards.

This short listicle will focus on some of the best parts of GTA 3 that make it a bit of an underrated title. One's mileage may vary, but it is worth noting that this title does do quite a few things remarkably well.

Five overlooked aspects that make GTA 3 amazing

1) Impressive attention to detail for a 2001 game


One criminally underrated aspect of GTA 3 is its attention to detail. The Grand Theft Auto franchise is usually great when it comes to easily missable things that make the world feel alive, and this game is no different.

Examples of impressive attention to detail include:

  • Little newspapers move about when cars drive near them
  • Certain parts of Portland have additional audio that plays at specific parts of the day
  • Some inaccessible stores change their appearance depending on the time of day
  • The audio of NPCs who listen to music on their headphones gets louder the closer you are

You might miss the little stuff on your first playthrough, but appreciate it once you discover them. It's also worth mentioning that some of these examples aren't even present in later Grand Theft Auto games.

2) It's by far the most hostile to the player


Most Grand Theft Auto games might have a gang or two that dislike the player, but they're otherwise easy to handle. That's not the case in GTA 3, as most of the gangs in this title hate Claude by the end of the game. Not only that, but some of them pack seriously good weaponry that can make a player get Wasted within seconds.

This extra bit of danger made the game much more challenging. The Grand Theft Auto series is usually way too easy to get through, so it was nice to have more difficulty. Not to mention, gangs hating Claude fits in perfectly with the storyline and really emphasizes how dangerous it is to be a criminal in Liberty City.

3) Unique story

Catalina, moments before betraying Claude in the game's prologue (Image via Rockstar Games)
Catalina, moments before betraying Claude in the game's prologue (Image via Rockstar Games)

One great aspect of GTA 3 is that it's genuinely unlike all of the Grand Theft Auto games that game after it. Take the following things as examples:

  • A silent protagonist
  • The main story involves Claude offing anybody whenever it's convenient and if it gets him closer to Catalina
  • The main antagonist, deuteragonist, and tritagonist are all women

It's still familiar to anybody who has played a Grand Theft Auto game before. However, it feels less formulaic regarding the overall plot, primarily because Claude is a mute protagonist, meaning that the story plays out to highlight the other characters more than the player.

4) Good original soundtrack


The earliest Grand Theft Auto games had original soundtracks, with GTA 3 only having a few licensed songs from the real world. Keep in mind that most Grand Theft Auto games from Vice City onward have almost nothing but real-life songs on the stations and very few - if any - fictional music.

That means the music in GTA 3 has several original tunes, some of which are actually pretty good songs. These selections are definitely underrated since you won't find most modern gamers talking about them, and it's unlikely that they will ever return in a later game.

5) Revolutionized the series

Another fun screenshot of the game (Image via Rockstar Games)
Another fun screenshot of the game (Image via Rockstar Games)

Without GTA 3, there is no GTA Vice City, San Andreas, and the rest of the games that come afterward. This game was extremely important to not just the Grand Theft Auto series but the video game industry as a whole.

It had a tremendous 3D open-world sandbox where players could do whatever they wanted inside it. This simple blueprint was revolutionary for the time and was instrumental for the later Grand Theft Auto games.

Note: Some aspects of this article are subjective.

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Edited by Sijo Samuel Paul
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