Dec 28, 2021

Revisiting Liberty City: GTA 3 from the Definitive Edition first thoughts

 Third Quarter 2001... probably Mid-November. I was barely in college. I had to study pretty early in college, so I could be home before my younger brother was dropped off from school. Back then I didn't have classes on the weekends... such innocent times. I believe the Proto-Marvel Legends line, Spider-Man Classics had started my transition to the 6-inch collecting. I still wasn't that big into articulation, because Man-Spider was freaking awesome. I believe that this was before Yu-Gi-Oh! Holy shit, it's been a bit over 20 years... I knew about GTA 1 and 2, but had very little interest in them. My PS2 Collection at the time consisted of CVS2, MGS2, and Final Fantasy X. Little did I knew, that enduring accompanying my Mom to the nail salon on that fateful Saturday, would've yielded a grand surprise... Hell, right now I'd WISH I hadn't dismissed those trips, not for the toy/game acquisition potential, but to hang out with Mom a bit more.

So on that fateful Saturday, after she got her nails done, we went to a Mall which was like half hour from home to dilly dally. This Precise Mall was the one that changed my life in the late 80s with $4.99. Well, now they had a Gamestop. So I went in, I saw Grand Theft Auto III and due to my grades, fulfilling my duties as my Brother's Keeper, and accompanying her when I could've stayed home, she thought that it was a reasonable reward. After I explained the game to her and its content, she agreed to buy the game, with the caveat of not exposing my preteen (at the time) brother to too sexually explicit content. Violence, no problem, Titties, BIG Problem. I ended up winning quite a lot more on that day, since Battle Sound He-Man, Battle Sound Skeletor and Battle Cat were at the register... The day I got Grand Theft Auto III was the very same day my passion for He-Man was reignited... After watching the VHS tapes and playing with the figures, it was time...

This was my first Open World Experience AFTER Shenmue. I was dazed and confused by the sheer size of Portland. It's small by today's standards and to most JRPG standards if the world map was 1:1 scale. The illusion of freedom was pretty great. You could go anywhere by driving a car or go on foot, which is mindblowing in comparison to other action games that followed a linear path and when put in a vehicle, usually meant a scripted "rollercoaster ride".  The radio stations, the commercials, the background characters speaking, and the sounds created a somewhat realistic atmosphere that mocked American culture in a clever yet low-brow way. But, 20 years later, the Nostalgia Glasses have lost their rosy tint. The game is buggy, restrictive, with awkward driving, fighting, and shooting. Grove Street games made and awful remaster of the game, but for some reason I'm enjoying it. There are plenty of things missing from its PlayStation 2 counterpart comma but this is due to these games being built from upscaled ports of the mobile game port.

Somehow it manages to feel so right but at the same time it feels so very wrong. Most likely due to the rushed nature of this remaster. 
This was the common complaint EVERYWHERE. As it is right now, it's not worth the $60 it costs. The game was supposedly rebuilt from the ground up using Unreal Engine. Instead of fixing the Jumping issues where Claude can barely climb a knee high step while jumping (a requisite for obtaining certain hidden packages) they recreated them. I'm not asking for Nathan Drake climbing skills. I just want to hop on this small wall here to get that taped block of cocaine.

Maybe instead of these remasters, Rockstar should be more focused on GTA VI. But GTA3, Vice City, AND SAN ANDREAS should be remade reimagined in the HD Era. All you have to do is make some changes to the story and missions to fit the HD era maps. Have the actual GTA 3, VC, and SA be movies that were INSPIRED on the real events. The reason their LC, VC, and SA look different is because they weren't completely filmed on location.

GTA SA could be divided into 2-3 games, while VC and LC should have their single game. That way certain events can be tweaked, using GTA 3 as an example, reintroducing "Darkel", increasing "Forelli" presence, etc. Yes, I put some names in quotations because HD Liberty doesn't match with 3D Liberty and some names were chanfed for "artistic liberties". Like in OG 3, you have a big final showdown with Catalina at the Dam. On "the true version" you kill Catalina much earlier and it's an unceremonious kill. The "family war" could be between the members of the commission and outside wannabe families. The entirety of Liberty City is open from the start. Hell, in order to connect everything there could be a mission where "Claude" acts as a Bodyguard to Actor Ray Liotta who is playing Tommy Vercetti, specifically, the scene where Vercetti does what dubs him as the "Harwood Butcher"... The main story is still there "Claude" gets betrayed and left for dead. As a prisoner convoy is being transported, a group of professionals hijack the convoy. During the chaos, "Claude" escapes with another prisoner who knows people that might help. On his quest for revenge, Claude brings chaos to the seedy underbelly of Liberty City, but not everyone is happy with his exploits so now he has to eliminate the persons who are causing him too much trouble.

So, back on topic how do I feel about the remastered GTA3? WEIRD. 

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