Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition

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Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition
GTA The Trilogy -The Definitive Edition.jpg
"I want compensation for this insult!"
— Luigi Goterelli
Protagonist(s): Claude (GTA III)
Tommy Vercetti (GTA: VC)
Carl "CJ" Johnson (GTA: SA)
Genre(s): Action-adventure
Platform(s): Microsoft Windows
Nintendo Switch
PlayStation 4
PlayStation 5
Xbox One
Xbox Series X/S
Android
iOS
Release: Microsoft Windows
Nintendo Switch
PlayStation 4
PlayStation 5
Xbox One
Xbox Series X/S
November 11, 2021
Android
iOS
December 14, 2023
Engine: Unreal Engine 4 (graphics engine)
RenderWare[1](game engine, physics)
Developer(s): Grove Street Games
Publisher(s): Rockstar Games (all versions)
Netflix Games (Netflix versions only)
Country: United States
Series: Grand Theft Auto


Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition is a compilation of three action-adventure games developed by Grove Street Games and published by Rockstar Games. It features "remasters" of Grand Theft Auto III (2001), Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (2002) and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (2004), originally developed by Rockstar North. The collection is powered by the Unreal Engine 4, with enhanced graphics and gameplay features, while maintaining the look and feel of the original games.

It was announced on October 7, 2021, with a teaser trailer, then a proper trailer showing the updated graphics on October 22, the same day when Grand Theft Auto III originally launched on the PlayStation 2 in 2001, before eventually getting released on November 11, 2021, for Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S. The Android and iOS versions were released on December 14, 2023, when Netflix confirmed that this compilation of three games will be Netflix Gaming, that is, if you have access to Netflix with a current subscription, you will be able to play these three games for free, despite having the paid version which was released at the same time as the Netflix version.

Why It Picked the Wrong House

  1. While the graphics look pretty for the most part, they are somewhat outdated and unrealistic looking (mostly on character models with a mix of realistic clothes and cartoony skins) in contrast to the original games' more realistic graphics and art style, the reason for these graphics could be due to the games being in the 3D Universe and matching the artwork, or because of the Unreal Engine, a game engine owned by Epic Games, that is known for making games that have a sort of cartoon art style like Fortnite and Ninjala. This is inexcusable however, since other games use the Unreal Engine and even show greater realism such as Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory, America's Army and Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. It was revealed that originally GSG attempted to rebuild some of the main buildings from scratch, such as the main characters' houses, but noticed a discrepancy in quality compared to other buildings. Some assets were improved from the original games, while others were ultimately rebuilt entirely. The team then used an AI program to upscale the textures before making manual adjustments; producer Rich Rosado estimated that over 100,000 textures were changed.
    • The colors are a little boring and/or generic looking, and they detract from the atmosphere of the original games, particularly GTA III and San Andreas.
    • Some textures have been modified or ruined, as they were done using an AI upscale rather than recreated from scratch. The vehicle interiors in San Andreas are the greatest example of this. Some of the writing on the buildings, clothing, and cars appears to be inaccurate, with spelling errors like "Rinimos" instead of Rimmers on one of the Grove Street Families members in San Andreas, some of which remain as of the latest patch (1.04).
    • The draw distance has been significantly increased. While it may sound like a good thing in GTA III and Vice City due to their small map sizes, it's pretty bad in San Andreas, as Mount Chiliad can be seen from Grove Street or even the entire game map from a large height (like in Los Santos Tower), whereas, in the original game, the fog was used to cover up poor draw distances and give an illusion that the map is bigger than it is. The Definitive Edition, for whatever reason, omits the fog when you're up in the sky. Even weirder, the smog is still present and works fine, and the fanmade San Andreas Unreal Engine conversion (which has since been C&D'd) had fog in the sky, which shows how little Grove Street Games understood Rockstar North's original design choices, if at all.
      • One player found out that the fog can be enabled in the games by using a cheat code. Why didn't Grove Street Games implement fog by default instead of forcing players to cheat or installing third-party mods to enable it?
        • These fog effects were intended to be used with Weather systems only and were also buggy without any lights (especially at night).
      • Even with the increased draw distance, the pop-in is very poor. This is especially noticeable with the grass and vegetation in Back O' Beyond. Not to mention, the LODs look even worse than in the original games due to being generated using Unreal's built-in tool.
    • The rain visual effect is broken and poorly implemented, particularly in GTA III and San Andreas. The rain itself looks less like actual rain and more like a rain overlay that covers up almost the entire screen and glitches up near water, the raindrop particles are all synchronized in a perfect pattern, the opacity in the launch version was way too high and intrusive compared to the original games leaving you unable to see much of anything, especially if it's dark, and it even rains in areas where it shouldn't be raining, like under the boardwalk in Verona Beach or inside interiors, like the Belleville Park bathroom. This was corrected in later patches, but the rain still doesn't look very good.
    • On the topic of rain, the weather system is also broken. In the original version of San Andreas, there were over 16 weather presets with different filters and effects depending on the location. In the Definitive Edition, however, the 16 weather presets were simplified to 3, and the differences between them are now very marginal at best and non-existent at worst.
    • The new water ripple effect is also broken and would reset if the player fires a shot at the water or flies a helicopter above the water.
    • Some changes are very inconsistent, like with the opening credits sequences, where the text, some logos (including Rockstar Games logos; likely kept the master from the 16:9 aspect ratio until this remaster)[2] was remade from scratch, but the gameplay footage was left intact from the original versions aside from having a CRT filter applied and upscaled to 1080p.[3]
    • Although the character models, props, and textures saw a massive overhaul, the vehicles did not, as their models were barely changed; GTA III uses the PC/PS2 vehicle models as a basis, while Vice City uses the more detailed Xbox/mobile models. Why couldn't both games use the Xbox vehicles?
      • Speaking of vehicles, the cars have working headlights while it's dark, but not taillights unless you're braking.
    • A number of the game elements were directly lifted from GTA IV and V, which occasionally contradicts the timeframe. The LCPD in GTA III, for example, uses the new logo/patch from GTA IV instead of the original logo. The "See You in Miami" billboard. For example, was modified to "See You Soon"; this would have been OK if it hadn't shown content from the HD Universe.
      • Even then, some assets from the other games, like San Andreas, appear in Vice City, which, again, would've been fine if they weren't anachronistic, like Zero's RC toy variants of the Jester and Turismo appearing in North Point Mall.
      • Some of the new assets are stolen stock images, like with the new busted and wasted sequences.
    • Some of the characters, like Tommy Vercetti, have somewhat unappealing designs due to their new art style looking like something out of The Sims 4, and their new designs clash with the realistic environments. The worst one would have to be Beverly Johnson in San Andreas and Misty in GTA 3, whose body and faces do not translate very well in the Definitive Edition at all.
      • Speaking of CJ's mom (Beverly Johnson) and Luigi's worker (Misty), Beverly's face looks very much like Rowan Atkinson and Keith David mixed all into this one, and Misty's face looks very much like Jinkx Monsoon or any drag queen than Misty herself.
      • Some character models are horrifying, ranging from nightmare-inducing to downright comical. Check out the gallery to see why.
      • In rare circumstances, the character models will display damaged/corrupted textures or sink their feet into the ground. Their skin color changes depending on the time of day, sometimes resembling an NPC from The Simpsons: Hit & Run.
      • A few of the character models have wrong textures, like the Yakuza gang members having the Diablos logo on their backs. FBI agents have FIB letters, or OG Loc has beta textures during cutscenes in San Andreas (this was however in the mobile version), and CJ sometimes has two skin tones. Lance Vance's cop outfit model in Vice City is completely unchanged from the original version.
  2. Despite being faithful to the original material, the core mechanics are still dated and limited, such as Claude and Tommy still not being able to swim (despite the water being clean in GTA III) and even crouching in GTA III is still not implemented. The compilation has various other flaws that were never fixed, such as the shotgun-wielding Leones in GTA III, the height limit in Vice City, the cut missions to San Andreas and the side missions.
  3. Depending on your type of mobile or tablet, only on Netflix, you are unable to download these three games from Play Store/App Store as an excuse for "incompatibility" if you have a powerful cell phone or one that was made to run heavy games, and if you install any of these three games because it was marked as "compatible", then it will mark "incompatible" without any explanation, it's still horribly worse if you uninstall it as it can't be installed again. Not only that, but it is also extremely ironic, given that the paid version is compatible with mobiles/tablets, which gains an unfair advantage.
    • Not only that, a bunch of middle-range phones who want to play these three games must be pirated and downloaded without a Netflix subscription, which many mobile players who have low or middle-range phones are disappointed and must be played unofficial/piracy.
    • In fact, the "incompatibility" is very inconsistent, sometimes some old phones with Android 11 or more can run, but the new ones are somehow marked as "not compatible", even though new cell phones were made to run heavy games like these.
  4. The subtitle font in all games was changed to a bland and boring-looking Arial-like font [possibly Helvetica] (and Roboto Bold font is used in the map and settings menu, which is a default Unreal Engine 4/5 and some of the Android UI font [the rest used non-bold version of Roboto font]), granted that SpongeBob SquarePants: Battle for Bikini Bottom - Rehydrated, another remaster that was also made with the Unreal Engine, used the same Arial-like/Helvetica font for the subtitles, but it was justified because the game was given a lot of love and care from Purple Lamp Studios, which was an indie company, and that the game used the font's justification by adding a transparent box around them; this compilation embarrassingly leaves it out in the open to prove that the game was made with a low budget.
  5. The Definitive Edition versions use the mobile ports as basis instead of the PS2, PC or Xbox releases (which were the real definitive versions of the games). This means that, as a result of this, they suffer from horribly compressed, low-quality audio (especially the dialogue in the console versions), simplified controls and game mechanics, the physics and car handling being wonky, and the glitches being carried over from those versions without getting patched out (particularly San Andreas).
    • Rockstar Games defended this by claiming that the Nintendo Switch "is an Android/iOS mobile hybrid console", and that it "can't handle the PC, PS2, and Xbox ports of these games, due to its technical limitations", which is a big fat lie, since the Switch itself is about as powerful as an Xbox 360 or a PlayStation 3, and assuming that it's quicker for them to use the mobile version, which is ARM-based, that Switch also uses to save development time or so. They also didn't explain why they also ported it to PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Series X|S with the same mobile port base, the mobile version has significantly updated graphics, having the orange color in the sky like the original PlayStation 2 version, which makes mobile look better than Nintendo Switch, making this excuse inaccurate.
  6. Several new glitches weren't in the original versions (which is probably due to the remaster being rushed despite being in development for two years) that are just as bad, if not worse, than Cyberpunk 2077, including:
    • The game crashes during gameplay or when loading save files, which sometimes get corrupted for no reason at all (which has happened more occasionally since Patch 1.03 and currently unknown if it gets fixed in later patches).[4][5]
    • Sometimes vehicles and NPCs are duplicated (check the Gallery for these glitches).
    • Sometimes, one of the vehicles floats at a height of three/four cars for no reason, it is common on the busy road.
    • The collision being unresponsive, physics being weird or the models/textures being missing, like an invisible wall in the Portland side of Callahan Bridge where road barriers would normally be before completing "Last Requests", destroying traffic light poles would cause the poles to roll around (though this was mostly fixed with 1.03 Patch), the effect of shooting at trash bags has missing textures, suddenly falling through the floor when entering Ammu-Nation (though this was fixed with the day one patch) or passing through the Triad fish factory in Callahan Point, just to name a few.
    • Smashing a car or any other vehicle causing its body part to teleport.[6]
    • One of the NPCs will be in the middle of the street and start chaos, like pushing other NPCs, throwing the bikers, and keeping going.
    • Continuing above, one of the NCPs is capable of throwing vehicles, even buses.
    • Fighting the boss Ricardo Diaz, just hammering him several times makes that boss freeze as if he were a lifeless statue, he won't even be able to use the weapon.
    • The songs on the radio stations in Vice City playing out of order, as for reasons unknown, Grove Street Games decided to split the radio station files of it and GTA III (which were continuous mixes with set playlists and commercials) into multiple parts. This may sometimes cause the song to either play again or cut to another song further in the radio's playlist.
    • The sound effects not playing the correct way, like driving too fast or spamming the accelerate button will sometimes cause the vehicle to play the wrong engine sounds, the garage door sound constantly looping at the wrong place, or the sounds playing at the wrong pitch, including the cutscenes and radio stations. Also, when the vehicles explode, the sound effect of fire crackling would continue to play for a few more seconds before stopping.
    • Some missions, such as "Ice Cold Killa" can be failed by bad programming, and attempting to restart said mission via the prompt will fail the mission again because the game somehow registered the mission failure status as a checkpoint. Other missions, such as "Gun Runner", can sometimes glitch out and become impossible to complete.
    • Buying Sprunk from the vending machines in San Andreas for several minutes eventually breaks the game. While this bug exists in all versions of San Andreas and hasn't been fixed by developers, the Definitive Edition (and original mobile/Xbox 360/PS3 remaster), however, has an autosave feature, which results in the save file for the autosave slot becoming corrupted if autosave is enabled and if it's saving shortly before crashing in seconds.
    • If you are driving a car turning right and left quickly several times, the car model you are driving will become wider and the collision and wheel model will be buggy, causing you to fall off the map for no reason.
    • The infamous and hilarious 3rd person camera bug, when switched to this mode, instead of the camera being positioned on the protagonist's face forward as if you were in the game, the camera will point at the protagonist's face, causing the protagonist to stare at the camera psychopathically, CJ being the worst offender, It doesn't help that in addition to the protagonist staring at the camera, his arms also look like he's holding the camera as if he were a bogeyman trying to kill a child, which could cause funny meme.
  7. The framerate is all over the place, with frequent frame drops (even in performance mode and on more powerful consoles like the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X), and it may occasionally drop into the single digits when something intense happens, like the construction site explosion in the Vice City mission "Demolition Man," especially in the Switch version, which runs significantly slower than the original PS2 games. This could be related, once again, to the collection's use of Unreal Engine 4, which is infamous for causing framerate reductions in unoptimized games.
  8. The animations and physics were left completely unchanged from the original games, much like how cutscenes in Warcraft III: Reforged only received graphical updates without any changes to the scripting and character animation. Granted, this was done to keep the look and feel of the originals, but some of the animations look weird, particularly when aiming with handguns in GTA III and Vice City since they weren't made with the updated aiming mechanic from San Andreas in mind.
    • On the subject of animations, before Patch 1.03, CJ only used the default skinny set of walking animations regardless of how fat or muscular he was.
  9. Speaking of aiming, whenever you aim at another pedestrian, they have a white aura around them, which looks incredibly tacky, and until patch 1.03, there was no option to turn it off.
  10. Some of the features from the original games, like the photo gallery and co-op multiplayer in San Andreas, the top-down view from GTA III, and certain cheat codes, as well as the option to hide HUD in-game (which was useful for taking screenshots) are missing in the Definitive Edition.
  11. Before patch 1.03, the menus in GTA III and Vice City used the San Andreas menu sounds instead of their respective UI sound effects.
  12. The new gameplay additions, like the new drive-by mechanics, feel somewhat awkward to use.
  13. While burning, the cars get destroyed quicker than in the original versions, giving you less time to react.
  14. Sprinting by default is now done by mashing the sprint button (Controller-only) like in GTA IV and V as opposed to holding it down like in the original games, which may confuse some players, though you can turn this off in the game settings.
  15. Some radio stations in GTA III use incorrect icons on the radio wheel, like Head Radio, Double Clef, Flashback 95.6, and MSX FM having their logos from Liberty City Stories (even though MSX FM had a different frequency in that game, 98 FM, as opposed to 101.1 FM in III), and K-JAH using the radio icon of K-JAH West from San Andreas. The same applies to certain weapon icons, like the M16 in GTA III, which now uses the M4's weapon icon from San Andreas with a yellow tint.
  16. The fidelity and performance modes are mixed up. The performance mode has more detailed reflections and shadows that are missing in the fidelity mode, when, logically, it should be the other way around, this also led to the same performance problems with consoles struggling to get a proper 60FPS cap.
  17. As with the previous mobile releases of Vice City and San Andreas, some songs from the original versions were left out from the Definitive Edition, including songs from artists like Michael Jackson and 2Pac due to expired licenses.
    • Given it was a remaster, it is understandable why a handful of the old songs never returned. However, it was also a missed opportunity to replace them with other era-appropriate songs for Vice City and San Andreas, much like in Mafia: Definitive Edition. The only game where the soundtrack was left completely intact was GTA III, except for "O mio babbino caro" by Giacomo Puccini from Double Clef FM, which was absent on all releases of the game barring the PS2 version.
    • Modder Ash_735 later discovered that all of the songs in San Andreas are left intact in the game files of the Definitive Edition, including the cut songs, which were disabled by scripts.
  18. Similar to the PC ports of Grand Theft Auto IV and Saints Row 2, the PC version has many technical issues and is poorly optimized, with various users reporting stuttery frame rates (even on high-end specs like the Intel Core i9-12900K/AMD Ryzen 9 3900X CPU and the Nvidia RTX 3090 Ti/AMD Radeon RX 6900 XT GPU), controls failing to register, being unable to save their games. and some users reported issues of the game crashing as soon as they started it, despite their computers meeting the minimum or even recommended system requirements.
    • Furthermore, the PC version has Rockstar Games Launcher DRM, but it's very inconsistent. GTA III cannot be played in offline mode, but Vice City can be launched in said mode.
    • Worse, the PC version lacks a replay option and custom soundtrack support, both of which have been standard features of PC ports of GTA games since GTA III, with the former being implemented in the console versions of GTA V and even GTA: Chinatown Wars!
    • Due to said DRM, if at any point the Rockstar Games Launcher servers go down, like how it happened the day after the game's release, the PC version becomes virtually unplayable without doing some exploits or playing pirated versions. It was so bad that Rockstar temporarily pulled the PC version from sale on their launcher, which would be fine, if they didn't revoke ownership of the games from those that purchased the PC version of the compilation as well without offering a refund, which is a crime that's considered a type of fraud in certain countries, like parts of Europe (e.g. the United Kingdom).
  19. There is some unnecessary censorship which was most likely added to appeal to "politics and modern culture". For example, Phil Cassidy's shirt texture in Vice City was changed from a confederate flag in the original version to a skull in the Definitive Edition, and Claude can no longer give the middle finger to drivers in GTA III (unless you hold the aim button while the drivers honk their horns), and some of the dialogue from the original games were removed in the Definitive Edition.
  20. Unlike Fallout 76, Mafia III, and the aforementioned Cyberpunk 2077 which were disastrous at launch but eventually became redeemed after several patches, this trilogy is an absolute mess, even after numerous patches (with some newer patches causing the game save files to get corrupted), as its quality is not only affected by the glitches but also by the visuals and characters and even the fact that an amateur mobile game studio was responsible for the remaster.
  21. The remaster's developer, Grove Street Games, can't take criticism, as they block users on Twitter for criticizing the quality of the remaster or impatiently asking when the next patch is going to be released.
  22. The physical release of the collection is very barebones, as it only comes with the disc and doesn't have a manual or a map/poster. Granted, a majority of games don't come with instruction manuals nowadays, but city guide-style manuals and maps have been a staple of GTA games since the start of the franchise.
    • It gets worse for physical PS4 owners as the disc does not have the PS5 upgrade for the games. While the Xbox One and Series X owners get both versions due to being Smart Delivery eligible, the PlayStation owners get left in the dust for reasons unknown.
    • The physical release of the Switch version only has GTA III and San Andreas on the cartridge, but not Vice City, as that game has to be downloaded separately.
  23. The $60 price tag (equivalent to $20 per game) is a tad pricey for a collection like this, especially one that feels problematic and incomplete, much like Super Mario 3D All-Stars and Chrono Cross The Radical Dreamers Edition.
    • It doesn't help that, like what Activision Blizzard did with Warcraft III: Reforged, the original versions have been delisted from all storefronts for those who are unable to play this remaster due to their PC specs or the issues above. Even remasters of Take-Two's other franchises, like Mafia and BioShock, gave the players an option to play the original games in case they didn't like the remasters or their computers didn't meet the remaster's system requirements. It was later announced that Rockstar would add the PC versions of the original games back to the Rockstar Games Launcher as a separate bundle, but there's no word about the other storefronts or the console versions of said games.
    • It also omitted Liberty City Stories and Vice City Stories, which would have made the $60 price tag more bearable, but this is reasonable if they want to preserve the Trilogy label.
    • Furthermore, there is currently no possibility to purchase each game separately. Confusingly, the Definitive Edition of San Andreas was formerly available through Xbox Game Pass but not the other games, whilst the Definitive Edition of GTA III is available through PlayStation Now but not the other games.
  24. This "remaster", overall, has proved that neither Rockstar nor GSG learned ANYTHING from the mistakes made in the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 port of San Andreas, especially from WIPTRH#4, and it clearly shows, apart from some minor bugs fixes, etc... which was only solved thanks to the Unreal Engine.

Grand Theft Amazing Qualities

  1. As previously mentioned, the graphical changes look gorgeous, with improved lighting and effects in most places, despite looking a little bit cartoony, generic looking lighting (particularly GTA III and San Andreas) and outdated due to the art style, game's engine, poorly made LODs and pop-in issues as mentioned above.
    • Some of the updated character models, like Claude and Eddie Pulaski, look all right. Several of the in-game peds even have different variations, much like in Vice City Stories.
      • Despite looking somewhat different from the original game, Tommy Vercetti's model in the Definitive Edition is more expressive than the original model.
  2. Unlike Warcraft III: Reforged, the Definitive Edition versions don't replace the original games on PC and PlayStation consoles if you bought them before they got delisted.
  3. The mobile version, although it is not perfect, is a BIG improvement for this game, like the improved graphics, for some reason it looks better than the rest of the versions, including the Nintendo Switch version, which is very impressive for mobile standards, but it may also be one of the most realistic mobile games ever made and would surpass Dark Desert Mobile (a Korean mobile game with ultra-realistic graphics) and/or those Chinese games, like Genshin Impact, Honkai: Star Rail, Call Of Duty: Mobile, etc., the most impressive thing is that there was no involvement with China, only U.S.A., rain effect improved much more and improved lighting, some bug fixes and even introduced the Classic Graphics, and even Orange Atmosphere of the Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas PlayStation 2 version has been introduced.
    1. As mentioned above, you can download the Netflix version for free if you have a subscription, despite the "incompatibility" (even though powerful cell phones are capable of running these games, despite the paid version, it contradicts itself.)
  4. Like in the mobile versions of the original games, it's possible to restart a mission immediately after failure instead of having to drive back to the mission marker, and in the case of San Andreas, the missions have checkpoints.
  5. Despite being somewhat broken, some of the AI was improved, like NPCs and cops, feeling somewhat like the HD Universe GTA games.
  6. In GTA III and Vice City, there are no more loading screens when traveling between islands.
  7. The weapon and radio wheel are nice additions, allowing the player to switch to other weapons or radio stations more easily instead of having to slowly cycle through them one by one, like in GTA V.
  8. Most of the cheat codes work exactly like in the original games and have the same inputs. Although, you do lose the ability to earn achievements by putting in even a single cheat.
  9. Despite many bugs and usage of mobile versions as the base (which come with inferior audio quality), the PC version does have superior sound quality compared to the console versions.
  10. The PC version has a small but active modding community, with various mods dedicated to replacing textures, fixing some bugs, character models, and weapons, or adding back music that was removed from this compilation.[7]
  11. The concept of releasing three great Grand Theft Auto games as one compilation out of fan demand is a good idea since the games were the most requested out of the others, and that these games are considered to be three of the greatest games of all time, despite their controversies.
  12. Rockstar seemed to be aware of some problems in the games and improved them in various patches and future updates.
    • Though on the other hand, Take-Two's CEO Strauss Zelnick considers the problems in the game as "just a glitch that got fixed".

Reception

According to review aggregator Metacritic, Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy - The Definitive Edition received "mixed or average reviews" for the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X versions, while the Microsoft Windows and Nintendo Switch versions received "generally unfavorable reviews". Critics were not granted pre-release copies of the game, leading to a delay in the publication of reviews. The collection was largely criticized for its graphical changes, especially character models compared to Fortnite or The Sims games, as well as for its technical issues, no improvements in controls and shooting mechanics, and the price of collection. Before release, audiences and journalists criticized the move about the removal of original games from digital stores.

CGMagazine gave the compilation a 2/10, considering Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy - The Definitive Edition as "a relic that was better left unearthed."

IGN, who gave the compilation a 5/10 score, stated "It's defective, disappointing, and surprisingly disrespectful to both the legacy of the games themselves and their many legions of fans" and "I can't help but wonder how different this re-released collection could have been had the publisher issued talented members of the GTA modding community employment contracts rather than cease and desist letters".

Reviewing the Nintendo Switch version, Nintendo Life criticized the collection for being "a shockingly rough package", summarising it as "a poor port, a shoddy, stuttery, low-resolution mess full of bugs, glitches, audio problems and more besides."

The Completionist, who normally doesn't cover remasters on his lists, ranked the remastered trilogy as the #3 worst game of 2021, behind Balan Wonderworld and what went on behind the scenes at Activision Blizzard.

Upon release, the remastered trilogy was review bombed by Metacritic users, with the user scores ranging from 0.8/10 to 0.4/10.[8]

This "remaster" is so bad that many GTA fans mockingly call it "the Defective Edition" due to its buggy nature, and also has led to [the rumor of] Rockstar canceling developments of GTA IV and original Red Dead Redemption remasters/remakes in favor of working on GTA VI[9][10] as the GTA fans also feared over Grove Street Games and R* remastering GTA IV or making concepts of its remaster with the cartoony graphics/models like those seen in the Definitive Edition.

Trivia

  • Although the game was published on November 11, 2021, certain nations (such as Australia) could play it a few days early and leaked gameplay footage. As a result, the PS4 and PS5 versions of the game were temporarily removed from the PlayStation Store.[11]
    • Similarly, the PC version was also pulled from sale due to performance issues and "unintentionally included" files that were leaked, which might refer to the cut songs and the code for Hot Coffee.[12]
  • These are the first GTA games to be released on a Nintendo console since Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars on the Nintendo DS in 2009. It also marks the first time a proper 3D GTA game was ported/released for Nintendo hardware.
  • It was also the first recent GTA game released for mobile, although almost all mobiles/tablets are incompatible.
  • People who purchased the Definitive Edition on PC without owning the original games could redeem the original versions of the games via the Rockstar Games Launcher for free until June 30, 2022.
  • In response to the game's negative reception, Grove Street Games CEO Thomas Williamson said he was "enjoying this unparalleled level of scrutiny on our studio."
  • Rockstar apologized for the technical issues on November 19, 2021, stating that the games "did not launch in a state that satisfies our standards of quality, or the standards of our fans have grown to expect." They also stated that development team members had been harassed online, and they encouraged their community to "keep a courteous and civil debate."
  • Those who purchased the game on PC can pick one game from a small list of games for free on the Rockstar Games website before January 5, 2022.

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