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Many of us assumed that the seemingly inevitable remasters of GTA 3, GTA: Vice City, and GTA: San Andreas would eventually be guaranteed (and welcome) hits, but the release of Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition has already been met with scorn and ridicule from franchise fans who are stunned by these remasters’ many, many problems.
Maybe it shouldn’t be a surprise to see these remasters fall quite so hard on their face given some of the botched remasters and new releases we’ve seen in recent years, but it is truly astonishing to witness just how bad these games really are on a purely technical level. There is no excuse for how these remasters turned out, but I’m darkly eager to hear an explanation for one of the year’s most disappointing releases.
It would take us days to round up every problem with these remasters, but here are some of the worst bugs, glitches, and terrible design decisions that we’ve found so far.
GTA Trilogy: Definitive Edition’s Terrible Character Models
We previously talked about the Definitive Edition‘s art style and how it immediately divided fans. Well, it turns out that when it comes to character models, GTA: Definitive Edition‘s new visuals aren’t just different; they’re really bad.
There is no way to beat around the bush with this particular problem. Regardless of how you feel about certain decisions made for this remaster (or remasters in general), I can guarantee you that the character models in this game are not the result of a particular art style or art direction. These character models are the result of something that went terribly, terribly wrong.
As much as I’d love to keep talking about this problem, I’m just going to let the evidence speak for itself:
GTA Trilogy: Definitive Edition Has Unforgivable Framerate Problems
It would be a fool’s errand to try to list every little technical problem in GTA Trilogy: Definitive Edition, but we have to spare a little space to talk about these remasters’ framerate issues.
It’s pretty hard to play these remasters for an extended period of time and not be bothered by the constant framerate drops. GTA 3 is the worst offender of the bunch in this category, but all of the games run horribly most of the time.
If you’re looking for a technical breakdown of how poorly these remasters perform, here’s a video that does an excellent job of highlighting the extent of this issue:
GTA Trilogy: Definitive Edition’s Switch Port is An Absolute Nightmare
While the GTA remasters suffer from quite a few general performance problems, the Switch versions of these remasters are truly on another level.
You would think that the Nintendo Switch would easily be able to run updated versions of games from the early-to-mid 2000s, but that is simply not the case. From texture tearing to slideshow quality framerates, these might be some of the worst Switch ports I’ve ever seen, especially when you take into account the franchise we’re talking about, the amount of money conceivably available to make these ports work, and the age of the original games themselves.
Again, you really have to see how bad the Switch version of this release is to fully “appreciate” it. Thankfully, the good folks at Nintendo Life have suffered through this game so you don’t have to.
GTA Trilogy: Definitive Edition’s PC Port Has Already Been Taken Down
I would probably warn most people to not buy GTA: Definitive Edition in its current state, but at the moment, PC players don’t even have the option to buy this collection as Rockstar recently made the move to pull the release from that platform.
It seems like the PC version of the Definitive Edition wasn’t compatible with the Rockstar Games Launcher program in such a way that essentially made the games unplayable (which is really one of those things you think someone would have discovered fairly quickly). I’ve also heard that data miners discovered files in that version of the game that were clearly not intended to be included in the retail release, but the technical problems were more than enough reason to temporarily remove it from that platform regardless of what was buried in the source code.
GTA Trilogy: Definitive Edition’s Release Means the Original Games (and Their Mods) Are No Longer Available
Rockstar warned everyone that they were preparing to remove the original (or most recent) versions of GTA 3, Vice City, and San Andreas from digital stores in preparation for the Definitive Edition‘s release. Some were upset by that decision as soon as it was announced, but the hope was that the Definitive Edition would be so good that it ultimately wouldn’t matter.
Well, that’s obviously not the case, and it makes the loss of the older versions of these games that much tougher to deal with. Not only do the remasters’ various problems have many longing for the good old days, but at the moment, the Definitive Edition doesn’t support the various fan-made remaster mods developed for the GTA games over the years, which, quite frankly, were generally better than the official Definitive Edition remasters.
Without getting into the conspiracy theory portion of that last point, let’s just say that it’s a shame that Rockstar decided to remove some all-time classic games and replace them with…this.
GTA Trilogy: Definitive Edition’s Lazy Rendering Leads to Bizarre Mistakes
We’ve already talked about how these remasters botch most of the character models (especially NPC models), but fans have also found instances of the apparently A.I.-driven rendering process ruining bits of text found throughout the environment as well.
Here’s a photo from Reddit user samsam1029 that demonstrates the extent of this problem:
As you can probably guess, that sign is supposed to say “Air Guitars From $199.” That might not sound like the biggest problem in the world (it’s certainly not the biggest problem in relation to these remasters), but these games are filled with similar little instances of the rendering and “smoothing” process simply getting it wrong.
Images like the one above really just highlight how much of the remastering process seems to have been automated rather than handled with the level of care that these games very much deserved.
GTA Trilogy: Definitive Edition’s “Improved” Draw Distance Strangely Makes GTA: San Andreas an Uglier Game
In theory, improving the GTA Trilogy‘s draw distance should be one of the most obvious improvements you could make to the original games. After all, fans long wondered what these older GTA games would look like (especially GTA: San Andreas) if they weren’t filled with fog and other visual limitations that are representative of the era they were made in.
As it turns out, they look like this:
It must be said that there’s something weirdly insulting about the way that San Andreas‘ “improved” draw distance essentially exposes the real size of the game’s map. People have long said that GTA 4 and 5 just didn’t feel as big as GTA: San Andreas, and that sentiment was based less on the actual size of the map and more on how the game was designed in such a way that made it feel more “epic” than its technically bigger successors.
Mostly, though, this is another one of those problems that show how little care went into these remasters.
GTA Trilogy: Definitive Edition Is Filled With Broken Missions and Minigames
We’re still waiting for more information regarding the extent of this particular problem, but it’s safe to say that quite a few missions and minigames from the GTA trilogy are not working as intended in the Definitive Edition.
Many of the minigames in GTA: San Andreas (such as the equipment found in the game’s gyms or the pool tables found in bars) are either straight up broken or are not working quite as intended. For instance, some of the “DDR-style” rhythm-based missions and activities in that game suffer from serious input lag, and San Andreas‘ burglary side missions seem to often result in the player getting stuck in the environment.
GTA: San Andreas seems to suffer from the most mission-related bugs and glitches at the moment due to the sheer number of activities in that game, but even the missions in some of the older games occasionally suffer from strange technical issues.
GTA Trilogy: Definitive Edition’s Rain Makes These Games Nearly Unplayable
In the original versions of these games, rain was a very simple environmental effect that usually just added a little atmosphere to the experience. In the Definitive Edition, rain is the true final boss.
People have theories about what’s happening in the video above, but the long and short of it is that there is no way this rain effect was “intended.” If it was intended…well, it really just brings us back to the idea that someone needs to answer for how this whole thing happened and what everyone involved intends to do about it.
GTA Trilogy: Definitive Edition’s Audio Is Simply Terrible
While everyone (rightly) guessed that GTA: Definitive Edition wouldn’t include all of the original licensed songs from the GTA games, most people assumed that the games would at least benefit from an audio upgrade that makes what music is in there (as well as the rest of the game’s sounds) better than ever.
Well, you can probably guess where this is going. Against all odds, there are numerous elements of the Definitive Edition‘s audio design that somehow sounds worse on modern platforms than they did on the PS2. Guns don’t sound quite right, there are audio files that seem to be straight-up missing, and, generally speaking, the audio in these games seems to be strangely compressed in such a way that negatively impacts the overall quality.
As I mentioned at the top of this article, we could be here all day listing every little problem with these remasters. Such as it is, though, this is just another in a long line of inexplicable issues that will hopefully be addressed soon.