Not so Grand: Rockstar’s remastered GTA trilogy on Nintendo Switch is one hot mess

grand theft auto the trilogy the definitive edition

The calm before the storm

Rockstar Games released The black in 2018 for Nintendo Switch but, since then, the studio has neglected the stereotypical and family hybrid console enough, despite its undeniable commercial success with young adults. It was a pleasant surprise to many when Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition has been announced for all major platforms, making it the first time that these critically acclaimed games (GTA III, GTA: Vice City, and GTA: San Andreas) would be available not only on a portable device, but also on a Nintendo console.

Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition was developed by Grove Street Games, a studio primarily known for porting the Grand Theft Auto trilogy to mobile devices on the occasion of each game’s 10th anniversary. The Definitive Edition improves these old ports by making them in Unreal Engine 4, bringing with it better lighting, shadows and reflections, reworked textures and AI scaling. Many changes in the quality of life have also been made, including, but not limited to; a new control scheme and gameplay features to make them more reminiscent of GTA V, gyro aiming and the ability to use the touchscreen to navigate the camera and menus (exclusive to the Nintendo Switch version) . It also includes the much-needed ability to instantly restart a mission on failure.

Grand Theft Auto III marked the start of something special when it first launched in 2001 on PlayStation 2, as it brought the franchise into the open 3D world of cars, violence, sex. and drugs – all elements of the show that fans have come to know and love. Grand Theft Auto: Vice City was released a year later, followed by Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas in 2004. Since then, these games have been touted as the best of all time. The idea that these beloved titles would get a remaster was almost too good to be true, and sadly, it mostly was.

What didn’t go well?

Some features that were present in the original version of the games are strangely missing from The Definitive Edition. Run-Around LS was a two-player cooperative mode in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas but, while it seems like the perfect fit for the Nintendo Switch, it is nowhere to be found. There are also many other minor omissions, including the disappearance of fog and haze due to a new draw distance. While this was intended as a graphics enhancement, it ends up making games a lot less atmospheric.

On top of that, The Definitive Edition is sadly riddled with gameplay bugs, framerate issues, and “updated” character models that often seem worse than the originals, fundamentally transforming the storytelling and gaming experience. otherwise quality in a totally frustrating mess. While some of these bugs are excusable due to their presence in the originals, the developers wanting to preserve its history well, there are many cases of new issues and texture issues that cannot be ignored. Ironically, the word “final” is certainly misleading in this case.

According to a technical analysis of Digital foundry, GTA III on Nintendo Switch runs at a simple resolution of 648p docked and 480p in portable mode, with a frame rate limited to 30 frames per second. Although this is normally not a problem, as Switch owners are used to this performance on some of the more graphically demanding ports like Eternal DOOM, the instability of the framerate on the three games of the GTA trilogy is very apparent. This makes for a painfully nervous experience most of the game.

We can only speculate on why and how things turned out this way. Referring to Grove Street Games’ LinkedIn Profile page, the company has 21 employees, which is a relatively small number of people leading the development of three massive open-world remastered ports. Combining this with the fact that the studio mainly has experience with mobile ports and the project had only been in development for a little over 2 years, right in the middle of a pandemic, we can have quite a bit of good idea of ​​where things happened. wrong. It’s also possible that Rockstar Games wanted The Definitive Edition to be available to consumers in time for the holiday season, causing the games to be released in a clearly unfinished state.

All hope is not lost

When it comes to the gameplay itself, it’s important to remember that these games are almost 20 years old, so it’s only natural that some aspects feel outdated. NPC AI is pretty flawed, and while it can provide some 3-esque comedic fun at times, it can cause some minor annoyance during missions as well. Overall, however, the entire trilogy has aged quite gracefully, especially with the new controls inspired by GTA V. In layman’s terms, driving around town in stolen vehicles, shooting at opposing gang members and participating in the illegal drug trafficking violence is just as fun as before.

Each entry in the trilogy improves dramatically over the last, with Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas being the top dog when it comes to an interesting story, unique characters, entertaining missions, and his size. impressive card. That’s not to say that GTA III and GTA: Vice City don’t hold up well either, but all three games should definitely be played in their original release order. Each game further perfects the series formula by adding new mechanics and gameplay tweaks that make the open world even more engaging.

Following the backlash from fans, Rockstar Games has apologized for the current version status, promising future updates to address many of the issues that have been reported. The first one update, version 1.02, has already been released for all platforms, which fixes a plethora of groundbreaking bugs, glitches, and localization issues. While there is still a lot of work to be done, this is certainly a big step in the right direction, although it remains to be seen if aspects such as framerate will be improved. Here’s a snippet of what Rockstar had to say:

“We have plans underway to fix technical issues and improve every game going forward. With each update planned, games will reach the level of quality they deserve.

– Rock star games

Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition currently sits at a user score of 0.7 / 10 on metacritic, making it the 9th lowest rated Nintendo Switch game on the site. It’s understandable enough that die-hard fans and newcomers to the GTA series are upset by this latest release, but just hope Rockstar Games continues to deliver on their promise, creating a redemption arc that the remasters of these legacy titles deserve.

A copy of Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition has been provided to My Nintendo News by Nintendo UK for the purpose of this feature.

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