Last night I finished Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and have thus finished the three GTA games that were developed for PlayStation 2. Since I am so cool I will now answer a couple of questions that were recently put forth to me.
Ryan Curtis Meier asked, “Why was (the recent PS3/X360 release) called GTAIV? Why doesn’t GTA: Vice City count as the fourth GTA game?” (NOT A DIRECT QUOTE. RYAN SOUNDS MORE AMERICAN THAN THAT)
The explanation is simple enough. The three PS2 GTAz represent a lateral progression, not a forward movement. Each release uses versions of the same game engine and plays largely the same. A veteran of any of the three will easily be able to pick up one of the others and be right at home. DMA Designs (now known as Rockstar North) introduced this approach when they released Grand Theft Auto Mission Pack #1: London 1969, a companion/follow-up to the original GTA.
Allison Michelle Payne asked, regarding the PS2 GTAz, “Aren’t they all the same? Is there really any difference between them?”
That’s a good question. Thank you so much! At the core, the games are quite similar but the release of each of them is definitely warranted. They’re certainly not more of the same. When I think of more of the same I think of Super Mario Bros. The Lost Levels, Donkey Kong Country 2 & 3, any Capcom sequel, any Madden NFL game, etc. This really isn’t the case with the PS2 GTAz. I think an appropriate comparison might be Super Mario 64, Donkey Kong 64, and Banjo-Kazooie for Nintendo 64. These games all used the same game engine and basic format but so many elements were different. Such is the case with PS2 GTAz. Each of the games takes place in a completely different location, features different characters, and new situations. There’s a real sense of escalation from one game to the next. GTA III consists primarily of completing mission after mission to get through the game but Vice City introduces the empire-building concept consisting of buying legit businesses to serve as fronts for your criminal enterprises.
And then there’s San Andreas, which really blows the roof off everything. The game world is gigantic – a whole state with three major cities, dozens of small towns and isolated settlements, mountains, forests, countrysides, etc. etc. Plus fighter jets, jetpacks, karate moves, swimming and even the fucking L.A. Riots! So each release is actually pretty ambitious. San Andreas may be the most epic game I’ve played. On the same note, San Andreas is also something of a culmination of the previous efforts and may make the previous efforts redundant for many gamers. I DUNNO OMG.