GTA: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition, a review of three misguided remasters

The review of GTA: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition, or rather when Rockstar tried to restore GTA III, Vice City and San Andreas, but got bored halfway through

It’s hard to start writing a review of GTA The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition with this bitterness in my mouth. I feel hurt, I admit it, and probably you do too. We were ready to celebrate all together the twentieth anniversary of GTA III, to rub our hands at the idea of replaying together with Claude, Tommy and J.C., perhaps with a polished graphics. Instead we had to settle for the Wish version of our dreams and their promises.

Big Trouble in Liberty City

The new lighting of GTA: The Trilogy - The Definitive Edition performs in some ways very well, but in some cases the image is simply too dark to remain readable

It happens to get a remastered wrong, to not believe in it enough. How many of them have we seen worse than the original? The difference is that in this case we’re not talking about just any game, GTA is a cultural phenomenon, nor any occasion, given the very important anniversary. With due differences, playing with these new versions has been like seeing a work of art ruined, ridiculing the Mona Lisa with a moustache. What went wrong we cannot know, but the modest result is now before everyone’s eyes. We do not want to call it a disaster, because in reality there is something good in GTA The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition, but perhaps this is the thing that makes us more angry. For half, the work done is even very good: you can see that we did not just steal what was already done by modders, you can see the presence of an apparent care that at least in GTA III improves, and a lot, the original product. The third GTA is undoubtedly the one that comes out better from this remastered, the rest was also the one that had less to lose in terms of graphic detail.

Layers of inaccuracy

Vice City's main avenue has definitely improved, as well as the general look of the city, too bad for a series of ingenuities that heavily undermine its atmosphere

It’s as we continue to play that more and more flaws emerge, a sloppiness that we certainly wouldn’t have expected from one of the richest and most talented software houses ever, which has made a name for itself for its maniacal attention to detail. The three games are plagued by rather large problems that are unlikely to be solved in a couple of updates: overlapping textures, a new lighting system that gives a lot, but takes away in equal measure, poorly written signs and polygonal models that tend to take unnatural poses if not shapeless.

To these are added a host of bugs that, in the best cases, we have torn a smile and in the worst prevented us from playing: with Vice City on PS5 was a continuous crash, in GTA III we fell with the car inside the map a dozen times, and do not count the quirks of the NPC to which we have witnessed. Fortunately, these kinds of problems are easier to fix, and once they’re out of the way they should at least give us back the pleasure of continuing to play.

Half a job

We love the new design of GTA: The Trilogy - The Definitive Edition, too bad it's not consistent with itself and many NPCs have been literally destroyed for this, totally stripped of their charisma.

The feeling is that everything has been done in half. Graphically at first glance the improvements are fantastic, but then you begin to run into shortcomings that make your arms fall off, like the absence of a fog that hides part of the map, so that we do not see the beginning and the end of the open world revealing its tricks perspective.

Even the work done in revamping the graphic style seems to have been left in the middle: the idea of maintaining a more abstract and flamboyant look is to be rewarded, as well as being in line with the will of Rockstar Games, and what has been done with some characters is commendable, while others have been totally disfigured of their original features, annihilated by a work of unacceptable textures. Claude and Tommy Vercetti for example are beautiful, behind the new face of Claude there is a nice study for example, to C.J. as many other secondary characters has instead gone much worse.

The best of the past, the worst of the present

Images you can feel...

It’s as if the work on this GTA The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition started with a rocket and then along the way all parties have slowly realized that it would not be a walk in the park, especially for the small software house to which was entrusted the task. This is the only possible explanation for such a fluctuating quality, a product that gets it right as much as it gets it wrong. A damage for everyone, for those who couldn’t wait to relive the three adventures at the top of their form and for those who have known Rockstar and its games later, and were not waiting for an opportunity like this to discover for the first time the origin of a colossal like GTA.

Reckless operation since replaying it is like a sort of history lesson on game design applied to open worlds, so interesting regardless. Moreover, not without a certain surprise, we must admit that the three games remain extremely entertaining, as well as bringing to light a gameplay that pushes on interaction and creativity and has not yet had to yield anything to the cinematic ambitions of later titles.

It is in these three games that the sandbox nature is most prominent, in which for each mission you can come up with your own solution, to proudly show off to your friends. Masterpieces that have made history, no less, but here treated as video games of little value.


GTA: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition does several things well and many others decidedly badly. Net of the bugs that will be resolved sooner or later, GTA III is undoubtedly the best of the three, while the other two games suffer from many other problems, in addition to a general atmosphere heavily damaged during the restoration. Everything to be discovered instead support post-launch: try to improve the product or to see a new and perhaps more successful Definitive Edition we will have to wait for the thirtieth anniversary? While we wait for good news, there is only the burning disappointment …


  • GTA III is the one that comes out best
  • They are three masterpieces, still
  • Half restyling works very well
  • Where have the colors of Vice City and San Andreas gone?
  • Some unwatchable NPCs
  • Very serious technical and graphical problems
  • Have you noticed any errors?
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