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News video games 15 November 2021, 22:38

author: Jacob Blazewicz

GTA 3 Remaster As Seen by Digital Foundry: „A Huge Disappointment”

The editors of Digital Foundry test Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy - Definitive Edition. And they're not thrilled with what they see in the revamped GTA 3.

IN A NUTSHELL:
  1. GTA: The Trilogy - Definitive Edition has become the subject of analysis by the editors from Digital Foundry;
  2. Testing of the refreshed version of GTA 3 shows that the remaster - while technically correct in some places - looks terrible (stylistically worse than the PlayStation 2 release);
  3. The trilogy also performs surprisingly poorly in terms of animation fluidity on consoles, even PS5 and XSX/S.

Remasters of iconic titles from years ago usually stir up fan emotions, albeit these are not always positive. Sometimes a new, refreshed edition just seems like a desecration of the memory of beloved titles. Unfortunately, this is the case with Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy - Definitive Edition. At least according to gamers. And how does the trilogy of GTAremasters fare in the technical test prepared by Digital Foundry?

In an ideal (or at least slightly better than ours) world, the answer could be something along "it's not that bad". Unluckily for us, Digital Foundry's comments on Rockstar's remaster are not much more positive than those of the disappointed gamers. It doesn't claim that Groove Street Games' work has been completely wasted, but it also doesn't hide the fact that GTA: The Trilogy - The Definitive Edition is terrible and it seems unlikely that the game has seen any quality control. To make matters worse, it's not just one or two problems.

GTA: The Trilogy - The Definitive Edition and mobile bugs

Let's start with the port issue. The new edition of the trilogy couldn't be based on the original RenderWare engine, which has long been de facto dead. Instead, Groove Street Games used Unreal Engine 4, which in itself can be considered a good decision. The problem is, the developers relied on the mobile editions of GTA III, GTA: Vice City and GTA: San Andreas.

These not only turned out to be visually inferior (missing some visual effects), but also infamous for a truckload of bugs. How this translated into the operation of the game - let player opinions be the answer. Rain, for example, looks worse than in the original on PS2 (which was no better than the other titles from the turn of the century).

The conflict of style and "new" and "old" in GTA

Unfortunately, the problems of the refreshed trilogy do not end with the problems of mobile versions. Digital Foundry believes that the "machine" modernization of the visual layer has backfired on Rockstar. As we read, many elements of the original GTA III (which is the focus of DF's analysis) were a deliberate artistic endeavor, not simply a way of circumventing the technological limitations of 20 years ago.

As a result, remaster updates all too often translate into something that may be better from a technical standpoint, but looks worse than GTA 3 on PlayStation 2. The original's angular yet distinctive character models, for example, have been "rounded off", which, combined with other "improvements", make the characters look like plastic. In turn, new or enhanced textures don't always match the environments, which also results in signs with "typos". As a result, as Digital Foundry's article notes, it's all too often the case that the game's world is full of mismatched pieces.

Next-gens couldn't handle GTA 3

As if that wasn't enough, the definitive release of the trilogy also fails in terms of performance. Even GTA 3 - a title released in 2001 after all - runs very poorly on consoles. Digital Foundry reports performance issues across all platforms, regardless of visual mode. Even the theoretically superior Xbox Series X version is not always able to maintain a stable 60fps (drops below 40fps are rare). Don't expect a consistent 30fps in performance mode either - it's an option that leaves a lot to be desired in all console releases.

The list of criticisms could be considerably longer if we'd also consider the Switch version (long story short: playing in portable mode is not a good idea) or elaborating on some shortcomings. Unfortunately, for now, Rockstar has been busy with another problem with GTA: The Trilogy - The Definitive Edition, and it was up to the players themselves to patch the game.

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