Ranking video game titles worst to best or best to worst, or any according to any other opinion-based ranking system is guaranteed to make several people very angry. After all, on the Internet, if someone doesn’t agree with someone else, that someone else is terribly wrong and probably should be insulted…at least that’s what we’ve found while observing.
Despite this, we decided to brave the comment section and write this article anyway. The GTA games did some pretty revolutionary stuff and they gave us a way of playing games that wasn’t all that prominent way back when – it let us play as the bad guy, and unapologetically so. Sure, there’s usually worse guys that we’re up against, but just about none of the characters in the series are good people. We like it that way.
15. GTA: London 1961
If you haven’t played this one, don’t worry. It’s an expansion for GTA: London 1969 and it brought so little additional content, it landed in last place for it. The engine, map and sprites are identical – not a good move! Rockstar know this, they rarely if ever acknowledge this one exists.
14. GTA: London 1969
Fans have been asking for a London-based game for years, despite the fact that Rockstar has made several games in the location already – it is easy to see why they would go forgotten though, as they weren’t particularly good.
13. GTA: Liberty City Stories
This game bizarrely started out as a PSP title later ported to the PS2. It had it’s good points – mainly the expansion on the backstory of the Leone family, and the attempts at continuity – oh, and the fact that we could still ride motorcycles. In GTA 3 this is no longer the case. Aside from that, this game isn’t a very good port at all.
12. GTA: Vice City Stories
This game is very similar to the previous one in that it doesn’t have much value other than a little bit of backstory to another title. It brought new features to the empire building aspect, but other than that little can be said about it.
11. GTA: Advance
Unsurprisingly, this game was for the Game Boy Advance. Why, we don’t know, and it turned out as a pretty big flop. We were promised the world and got a bad top-down prequel to GTA 3 – the only thing this game did surprisingly well are the graphics. For this platform anyway.
When this game first came out, most people of the right age spent hours messing up the three cities – and why not, it was a pretty new concept. The game narrowly escaped obscurity too, as it was supposed to be a cops and robbers knock-off called Race ‘n’ Chase. This game was fun if only because it started it all – it doesn’t compare to newer titles, but we are grateful it exists.
9. GTA II
This one was a marked improvement over its predecessor. When it came out in 1999, it broke all the rules – it innovated and it improved, just like a sequel should. We got status systems with rival gangs, we got a spectacular setting and we got Scott Malson. Why is it so far down the list you may be wondering? Because it didn’t age very well, that’s all.
8. GTA: The Lost and Damned
This is the first and only game to feature a motorcycle gang and their culture – this game was the first one to really work out the mechanics for it too. With the silly explanation from GTA 3 that they had been banned, this expansion did more for fans than some full games did.
7. GTA: The Ballad of Gay Tony
One of the best things about this game was definitely its protagonist – he’s just amazing. It’s a little more light-hearted than many other games, and that makes for a nice change of pace. Plus, it has the only nightclub that will let us in nowadays. Since the incident anyway.
Honourable Mention: GTA Online
This game would have been pretty great if it wasn’t so completely overrun by hackers. As it is, we just can’t rate it any better than this – come on Rockstar, there’s some pretty good anti-cheat tech available now. Get with the plot!
6. GTA: Chinatown Wars
Where this game would probably be slammed for being wildly racist nowadays, back then it was pretty damn amazing. It featured a little mini-game that surprisingly added to the game well, letting you paddle drugs to the different areas. The way to escape the police was by destroying their cars – carnage over chase. We loved it.
5. GTA IV
This title is often considered one of the worse ones, and unjustifiably so. The game was quite different from the older PS2 titles, but given the jump to a newer console generation, Rockstar did good work on it. Niko is a good character and the new Liberty City was much improved too – yes the game was more mature, but that should be an asset rather than a detriment!
4. GTA III
For those of us who grew up with these games, this title would have been right around the time we’d be a little sick of school and homework, and we’d much rather hang out at our friend’s house – the cool one who actually had a PS2 – so we could watch him play games like this. Nostalgia aside, this title was a solid entry and we remember it and its silent protagonist fondly. He was the ultimate blank canvas for the player to paint, and we can appreciate that.
3. GTA: Vice City
GTA 3 was such a huge improvement on the series, we struggled to imagine what else they could do to get better, and yet they managed it quite well. This one was the first of the series to feature empire building, turning it from a virtual playground of carnage to a ‘real’ city with consequence. It also introduced the first fully voiced protagonist Tommy Vercetti, who is still a fan-favourite. This game did just about everything right.
2. GTA V
Number 5 was simply a success – commercially and otherwise. It’s not unlike a 50ish-hour blockbuster movie, which is especially fitting given its setting in Los Santos aka Los Angeles. The three main characters all have their strengths and weaknesses, and all three have considerable fan-groups – Trevor probably more so than the other two. We preferred Franklin and Michael but hey, whichever you like best, you’ll have to admit this is an epic game.
1. GTA: San Andreas
Along with Vice City and V, this game is usually named as one of the best titles of the series. Well, we disagree. It’s not just good, it’s the best, and by a long shot too. It’s the wildest ride, the biggest adventure and given its PS2 setting, the world design and narrative were simply outstanding. The protagonist is likeable and we get to steal a jet-pack from a top-secret military installation. No other title even comes close!