When GTA 5 is released on PS5 and Xbox Series X, it will have officially spanned three generations of consoles. During that time it has become the third best-selling game of all time, which is quite the accomplishment. It’s why the wait for GTA 6 will likely be a long one, and also why GTA 5 might well go down as the best game in the franchise — at least for most who have played it.
GTA has gone through various chapters and evolutions. The first games were released on PS1 and offered a bird’s eye view of an environment in which players could commit crimes, complete missions, and most important of all, memorize cheats that would allow them to wreak havoc. However, it wasn’t until the three GTA games released for the PS2 launched that the franchise really hit its stride and released entries in the series that many still play to this day.
Three Games In One Gen vs. One Game Spanning Three Gens
We’re not talking about GTA 3 necessarily — although there is clearly still an appetite for the series’ third main entry given that modders recently ported it to PS Vita. GTA Vice City, however, may well have been the first time Grand Theft Auto offered up something really special. The setting, the soundtrack, the characters. If any GTA game from the past is going to get a remake, Vice City gets our vote — as long as the radio stations are the same. Anyone who has played Vice City associates it with palm trees, the ocean, pink neon lights, and the 80s. For many people, that’s still the most emphatically “GTA” image out there.
The last GTA game released on PS2 was San Andreas. This one really broke the mold. Although dwarfed by GTA 5’s map, the area players were given to explore was mind-blowing at the time. It’s also the last time we can really remember being invested in GTA’s characters. Yes, Trevor and co. of GTA 5 have been regarded as relatively compelling, but none of them hold a candle to CJ, or Tommy from Vice City, who is rumored to have inspired Minecraft Steve’s design. This is where the problem lies for some people when it comes to GTA 5, and modern-day titles in general for that matter: settling for a lackluster narrative in order to focus on more online elements.
Vice City Remastered > GTA 6
The online approach has clearly worked for Rockstar, as GTA 5 is the best-performing game in the franchise by far. However, there’s something to be said for games with a compelling single-player story, even today. When GTA 6 is eventually released, chances are GTA 5 will quickly be forgotten. Vice City and San Andreas, on the other hand, will live forever. Remastered versions of both will probably arrive one day, but the chance of anyone asking for a GTA 5 remaster at any point in the near future is highly unlikely.
As for picking which GTA game has been the best of all time, many would point to San Andreas. We’ve certainly showered it with praise above. However, for us at least, Vice City defines GTA, no matter which generation you’re talking about. The era, the music, and the backdrop were all perfect. If there’s going to be one GTA remaster, make it Vice City. Plus, if there isn’t going to be a GTA 6 for the foreseeable future, we’d rather a longer wait with a Vice City remaster to play in the meantime.
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Josh has been gaming for as long as he can remember. That love began with a mild childhood addiction to the Sega Genesis, or Mega Drive since he lives in the UK. Back then, Sonic 2 quickly became his favorite game and as you might have guessed from his picture, the franchise has remained close to his heart ever since. Nowadays, he splits his time between his PS4 and his Switch and spends far too much time playing Fortnite. If you’re a fan of gaming, wrestling, and soccer, give him a follow on Twitter @BristolBeadz.
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