Format reviewed: iOS
Other formats available: Android
Take to the streets of Liberty City in this ground-breaking 3D version of the game that many love to hate.
Grand Theft Auto III is the latest in the infamous crime sim game where you play a hoodlum for hire in the fictional Liberty City. This of course you know and also that GTA3 isn’t the latest, in fact what we have here is a re-release of the seminal game from 2001.
To commemorate the passing of a decade since we first set foot in the amazingly detailed city, Rockstar has made the game available for today’s handheld devices, something that shows just how far technology too has come since the early years of the 21st century.
So where we all once had to huddle around a big old TV in order to play GTA3 on a PS2 or a PC with perhaps a 19-inch monitor that took up almost all of our desk, now you can run around Liberty City taking on the Triads, the Yardies, Diablos and Colombians using your phone or tablet.
We won’t go into what you have to do, none of that has been changed at all. In fact, other than the way you control the main, oddly mute character, nothing has changed. The cars and other vehicles are all the same as are the missions, the weapons, the streets and even the location of a fast sports car near 8 Ball’s garage. Just as we remembered it.
The music is all there, as are the radio DJs. The soundtrack wasn’t as good as the follow up Vice City, but it certainly set the tone for later games and rivals too.
So you might be thinking that this is the perfect game then, unfortunately not. With the way that the game is controlled, using the left-hand side of the screen for movement and the right for actions, this means that you can’t be accurate or quick enough. Aiming weapons is very tricky.
In any kind of mass firefight, of which there are many, pistols just don’t work as you can’t aim them well enough and you soon get taken out. The only weapon that works is the shotgun. Later on you have to quickly take out some guys on a boat using a sniper rifle before 8 Ball gets shot.
Doing this on an iPhone, for example, is next to impossible. This is because you just can’t pan quickly around, zooming in and out, aiming and then shooting quickly enough.
In order for Rockstar to get the game to work on the touchscreen devices, this was the only way to do it that we can think of, which is a real shame. There are other issues with the driving where every now and again you steer right and the vehicle will go left instead, again rather annoying we have to say.
Technically and visually Rockstar has done a lot well by moving GTA3 on to iOS and Android devices, however, the control issues will annoy you very quickly. That said, when you consider that it costs less than a pint these days, and will last you a lot longer, then it does make good value for money.
One word of warning, make sure that your device supports it before you pay for it. Prior to its launch Rockstar told us that it would only work on the iPhone 4S, iPad 2 and a small selection of Android devices. We have seen some feedback from people saying that it doesn’t work on their devices, so do check before you buy.
Review by Tuckski for BCS.org