"Welcome to Liberty City! You'll enjoy your stay."

Grand Theft Auto 3 - PC version

Joseph Leiberman hates GTA3. He says it has overly violent activities, disturbing sexual ideas, and drug use. He‘s right - GTA3 is the most hilariously violent, mature game in years. All sorts of things you wanted to do - shoot cops, bang hookers, start gang wars - are touched upon in this game. From blisteringly fast street races to hits on crime bosses, it’s all here. And it starts with a bank robbery gone bad…

The game opens with the main character assisting in a heist operation with his hunny and friend. As he turns the corner to the getaway car, he get shot in the freaking chest by his new ex-girlfriend. How much does that suck? And she tells you off, too! “You’re just small time, and I have beeg plans.” Christ, that blows. Anyway, you survive, miraculously, and they haul your ass off to jail. On the way to the state pen, a Columbian gang blows the crap out of a bridge you’re traveling across in an effort to free a captured member. Luckily, you’re in the same van as said gang member, and you get away with your buddy 8-ball. From there, you are introduced to a Mafia head - your first boss. You come across these “bosses” through your journey, and each one gives you new missions. They each have their own distinct personality - very well crafted by Rockstar. For instance, you meet a crooked politician who always talks as if he’s addressing the nation.

Most of your employers belong to separate gangs - The Yakuza, The Mafia, and a Jamaican gang to name a few. These gangs will walk their turf, staying in specific areas of the island. They also have problems with each other. More than once, I managed to trigger a neighborhood wide gang war, guns firing from 20 people at once, yelling things at each other, while pedestrians scramble. This was one of the turning points for me, when I realized how truly unique the city is. Every occupant functions on their own, but they band together when needed. You can blow up a car and some people will run, some will wander to look at the wreck, and even some will see you do it, and come to you to deliver their own form of justice. The city is truly alive - there’s just so much on its own without you being there.

The missions you have set out for you are very, very imaginative. You’ll find yourself covering your friends back while he sets a bomb, driving explosive remote controlled cars, rigging peoples cars with bombs, even picking drug packages dropped by a plane from the bay. The missions range from easy to impossible, but the are almost always rewarding.

After you complete a set of missions on one island, you move on to the next island. The first two islands are filled with great missions, but the third comes up short. It has the best missions in the game, but your bosses remain on the second island, and it’s very annoying to commute if -no, when- you fail a mission. The third island also has the least missions. It ends at a bit of an anticlimax. But, if you choose too, you can return after completion, tying up loose ends, such as the smaller jobs that you access through payphones. These missions are a lot more straightforward than the main missions, but they offer a good distraction if you get stuck, or finish the game and want more. These missions are often more “gimmicky” than the main missions too - tasks such as collecting checkpoints or using you Uzi to perform drive-by shootings are fairly common. Aside from these payphone-bosses, you’ll find tons of other side missions throughout the game. One of my favorite additions to the game are the vehicle missions. If you hijack a taxi, ambulance, police vehicle, or fire truck, you’ll have the option of acting as that profession. If you complete enough of these missions, you will be rewarded with a drop-off at your hideout relation to what you completed.

The controls on the PC are significantly better than the PS2 version. Mouselook is included, so now you can see everywhere and shoot everything in third person. You can also appreciate the beautiful environments a lot more, because you can actually see them now. The game handles like your typical 3rd person shooter. You can configure two different control settings, one for in the car, one for on foot. That can come in handy assuming you remember both settings.

The graphics are good, but not great. The developers said that they used the technology at hand to improve the games graphics on the PC, but honestly, I see no difference. The models for most of the pedestrians still look like play-doe. But at least they sound good.

All in all, this game is very worthy of purchase. It redefines the rules we have had for adventure games. I think it’s fair to say it is the video game - if someone wanted to see what a video game is, this would be it. Sure, you can beat up old ladies, but that’s a choice. That’s what this game is all about - freedom.


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 10/07/02, Updated 10/07/02


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