Grand Theft Auto for mobile

Carl "Cj" Johnson, chilling
Carl “Cj” Johnson, chilling


So, I recently purchased Rockstar Games’ remastered version of their classic, 2nd generation best-seller, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas for mobile, which was released on the 10th Anniversary of Grand Theft Auto: 3. In celebration of the monumental Grand Theft Auto: 3  and its ground breaking feats, Rockstar Games  released remastered versions of all three blockbuster 3D era installments of the GTA franchise for mobile devices. These include Grand Theft Auto: 3, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.


When you hear that one of your  favorite childhood games is going to be remastered for mobile, you can’t help but have mixed emotions about it.  While you’re happy to have an important piece of your childhood revived, you’re also a little disappointed when you think of a watered-down version of a classic. It’s almost factual; no one likes an underachieving follow-up to something great. Especially when something as precious as your childhood is involved. I can say this with confidence as this was the case for me.


Though I am a heavy gamer, I still found it nearly impossible to find a good game for mobile that was actually fun. Sure you might find a game here or there that catches your attention for a while. But the bad graphics and broken gameplay can’t hide behind an interesting game concept forever. Sooner than later, the game becomes annoying and too boring to play. This is what I’ve come to expect of all mobile games. Even when I first stumbled upon the mobile versions of Grand Theft Auto.


GTA:VC Loading Screen
GTA:VC Loading Screen

As  an unsatisfied mobile gamer, I could not fathom the fact that Rockstar Games was willing to downgrade my favorite Grand Theft Autos for mobile compatibility. And then have the nerve to sell it. I thought of how incapable mobile compatibility would make the main characters. Would I still be able to dress Cj? As well as workout and feed him? And surely the storylines would be cut short, throwing out a lot of classic GTA moments. And of course, the graphics had to be horrific. I ran as far away from the apps as possible. However, as a heavy gamer, I thought, but dude, it’s f*cking Grand Theft Auto! How could I ever pass this up?? So, despite my concerns, I made the purchase anyhow, buying all three of them.


GTA:VC Rockstar North logo
GTA:VC Rockstar North logo

When you start either of the remastered Grand Theft Autos for the first time, the very first thing you notice is the graphics look exactly, if not better than they did on console!  Right away, I was hooked. Until the pessimistic guy that I am began to suspect that maybe only a mission’s cut scenes looked that great. I was proven wrong.  As soon as the intro concludes and you finally take control, you’re stricken by a strong force of nostalgia as all the classic GTA sounds from your childhood return with the sincerest fidelity towards the console version of the game. It’s truly epic.


First Mission on GTA:III for Mobile
First Mission on GTA:III for Mobile

That nostalgia, however, may be overshadowed by irritation, once you realize you have little control over what you’re doing. This might be because of the  awkward layout of on-screen button controls. There may be some important buttons you find too small to tap accurately, and all other issues alike. I personally found it nearly impossible to move around easily, given Rockstar Games’ default version of an idealistic layout. Walking up to cars, pedestrians, or even destinations  felt like a mission, in itself. It’s a true joy kill. But fortunately, Rockstar Games added a few settings to help make Grand Theft Auto enjoyable. Probably the most important of these is the option to fully customize the game controls. Not only do you have the option to move any button to any spot on the screen, you also have the option to resize the button. This is extremely convenient as you could put more emphasis on the important buttons, such as running, attacking, etc. Once you play around with the configurations enough, the button layout can become a beautiful masterpiece of perfectly positioned buttons, making gameplay nearly flawless.  Once you get pass that, you’re free to enjoy Grand Theft Auto just as you did 10+ years ago.


Button Configuration for GTA:SA
Button Configuration for GTA:SA

On the mobile versions of Grand Theft Auto: 3, Vice City, and San Andreas, you’re free to relive every classic moment in each game, as it is truly just a polished remake of each title.  Probably the coolest feature is the option to improve the graphics. Depending on your device and its processor, you can tune the graphics to better your experience. If your processor is excellent, you can experience these mobile remakes on graphics level that far surpass that of their original version. Imagine Grand Theft Auto: Vice City with building reflections on your vehicle as you slide through the city. It’s an incredible feeling. However, if your processor isn’t too good, don’t fret as the default graphics settings are usually just good enough to not slow down your gameplay while still delivering the PlayStation 2 look to your phone or tablet. And for those with poor processors, Rockstar Games hasn’t forget about you as you can downgrade the graphics significantly, making the game fully functional for your device.

GTA:III Mobile Start Screen
GTA:III Mobile Start Screen

If you’re a Grand Theft Auto fanatic, this is a MUST have that will kill a lot of your time. If you’re simply someone who can appreciate a good game, this will most likely become the most used app on your device. Even for those who don’t play games often, with these games’ superior graphics, gameplay,  and amazing open world adventure, this game will be well worth it.


The prices I paid for GTA: III and Vice City were $4.99, each. Which is a steal, considering lesser versions of these games were once $50. GTA: SA is respectively priced higher at $6.99, which again, is a steal. The mobile versions are better than the originals in nearly everyway. The greatness of the 3D era of Grand Theft Auto has been recaptured, masterfully, and placed into the palms of your hands. Enjoy!


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