GTA Vice City and GTA III are the two oldest 3D GTA titles. So which game has a higher replay value in 2021?
On paper, it would seem as though GTA Vice City is more or less the same as GTA III. However, that couldn't be more wrong upon a closer inspection. While GTA III is highly innovative and has done a lot to bolster the series upward, it is GTA Vice City that most fans look back on fondly. Some fans may argue that one game having more replay value over another in 2021 is subjective, but there are cases to be made in terms of objectivity.
As GTA Vice City is a sequel in the GTA lineup (although it technically is a prequel as it takes place almost two decades before GTA III happens), it shouldn't come across as a surprise that it aged better. However, other GTA titles also spawn debate regarding which game is better. An example would be GTA IV vs GTA V, where the answer isn't so black and white.
GTA III vs GTA Vice City: Replay value in 2021
GTA III came out in 2001 to universal praise and helped propel the series upward to new heights. However, most modern GTA fans don't see the game in the same high esteem. While it is important to note that GTA III was revolutionary in its time, the only major thing it has over GTA Vice City in 2021 is its legacy in the gaming business.
The weakest replay value for both games is their graphics. By 2021 standards, it's unquestionably the most outdated aspect of both games. It's not so bad that it's unplayable, but there are fans within the GTA community who are obsessed with graphics, so it is important to note it early on.
As far as the two games go, GTA Vice City has made some improvements over GTA III, which increases its replay value in 2021. It's more colorful, and the atmosphere of Vice City is more endearing to most players as opposed to the grittiness of GTA III. Fans looking to replay a darker game might enjoy GTA III more in 2021, but most would prefer GTA Vice City for how it looks.
The storyline between the two games is worlds apart. GTA III is a simplistic game in terms of its overall story; the main protagonist wants revenge on a former lover who betrayed him and nearly got him killed for it. The minor stories in GTA III are even simpler, as some people like Luigi Goterelli are very basic. At times, some of the story seems to be a repeat of itself, with Claude betraying somebody and moving on to the next criminal.
That might be an oversimplification of the GTA III plot, but there are some nice moments sprinkled throughout the story. However, most GTA fans would agree that GTA Vice City's story is better (even if it is heavily inspired by movies like Scarface).
GTA Vice City is also a simple story, but it's arguably more enticing than GTA III's story for one simple reason: Tommy Vercetti. Tommy is the main protagonist that speaks, so unlike Claude, the player doesn't have to self-insert or guess what he's doing. On a side note, the side stories in GTA Vice City are also more interesting to players in 2021, which is largely due to the characterization of the game.
As mentioned previously, some characters in GTA III are boring. Most players are bound to forget the names of most of them in their first playthrough. While there are some forgettable characters in GTA Vice City, players are more likely to remember some of those characters in 2021 than they would with GTA III.
The main case can be seen with the two protagonists of their respective games. Claude isn't even referred to by name in GTA III, so most players are highly unlikely to remember his name unless they know him from GTA San Andreas. By comparison, anybody who has played GTA Vice City will remember Tommy Vercetti's name. The difference between a silent protagonist and one that can speak is huge in 2021, which should make the decision to replay GTA Vice City easier for fans of characterization.
As Claude is a silent protagonist and Tommy isn't, it should be readily apparent which GTA title would have more replayability in terms of audio. The general sound effects are great in both games, so that's not a reason to replay one game over another in 2021. However, the voice acting is noticeably more memorable in GTA Vice City.
GTA III does have some good voice actors, but GTA Vice City's cast is arguably more iconic. Coupled with the superior characterization in GTA Vice City, fans often remember the voice lines of that game over GTA III's voice lines. As far as music is concerned, both games have great soundtracks, but the general consensus is that GTA Vice City's is better, so some replay it solely for the 80s aesthetic.
The final section involves gameplay, and this is where GTA Vice City's improvements shine over GTA III. For starters, the vehicles don't blow up as quickly in GTA Vice City, which makes it more casual-friendly. Second, the two games still share a core gameplay design so players choosing to replay a game in 2021 based on its gameplay should choose GTA Vice City, as its minor improvements are technically superior to GTA III.
To GTA III's credit, the map and islands are more diverse than GTA Vice City's. GTA Vice City feels largely the same with its beaches and flat streets, so fans of more diverse maps might favor replaying GTA III in 2021.
Both games are classics, but GTA Vice City has aged better than GTA III, making it the superior option for replaying a GTA game in 2021. Fans shouldn't hate GTA III, but they should understand why most of the community prefers GTA Vice City over it. If a fan wants to replay one of the two titles, replaying GTA Vice City is likely to be the more fun choice in 2021.