GTA Trilogy Definitive Edition - Game Infinite Impressions Review
Grand Theft Auto Trilogy Definitive Edition is a perfect example that remasters have a time limit. I was really skeptical when they announced that the old classic GTA trilogy was getting a remaster. I remember thinking, “You mean a remake?” And it was confirmed it was a trilogy remaster. I remember scratching my head and wondering how they planned to simply remaster almost 2 decade old games. To give some context how insane a plan that was, the three GTA games in the trilogy: 3, San Andreas, and Vice City came out between 2001-2004! These games are ancient in the gaming world, and were a part of the PS2 era! To point out how much a weird challenge that is, Demon Souls released in 2009 and was deemed old enough for a full remake last year. Much was made about how huge a challenge it was for the release of the Mass Effect Legendary Edition and how most of the effort was put in the original 2007 Mass Effect, just to bring it up to “2012” ME3 standards. Even Bioware considered a full new engine remake for ME1 but felt it was just still barely on the edge of feasibility to remaster.
The fact that 2007 - 2009 games are so old that developers debate if remasters are worth it, makes me wonder what Rockstar was smoking when they thought it made sense to remaster a 2001 game from the PS2.
For sake of discussion, a remaster typically uses the same game code or engine, with simply improved visuals and textures. Where a remake starts from the ground up to simply retell a story in a new re-made game. One is considerably more work for sure, but as games age, remasters just become unwise. What we ended up with is a game that looks out of time and ugly.
I understand Rockstar has been saying they wanted to maintain the “feel” of the classics. It would be fine IF they managed to pull it off, but this is far from it. When the initial reveal for the trilogy came with brief side-by-sides, I and many of us initially thought they pulled it off. But upon a disastrous release, I was proven right in my hesitation.
The PC launch was a disaster that caused the Rockstar launcher to crash, forcing me to play on Xbox. The game just looks ugly with the biggest most noticeable failing being the character models. Good lord, do the characters look ugly. Even if they had just remastered the environments but made new characters this would have been a good compromise. I understand that the graphics of the era made human proportions more cartoon and exaggerated. They couldn’t simply just put in modern realistic humans on top of the cartoon proportioned skeletons but that doesn’t mean they couldn’t have done more.
The fact that they had such an obvious way to do this better and chose not to absolutely astounds me. They could have cheated to a remake with less effort by just stealing as much as possible from GTA V! A full remake is harder and more expensive but only because you have to remake all the assets and the world usually; however, they could have remade at least one of the trilogy in GTA V engine with mostly reused GTA V assets and it would have just looked and played like a modern game. It would look like a modern game, it would play like GTA V, but tell the old GTA stories. They should have just made GTA San Andreas REMAKE instead, even if it looked like GTA V it would have looked a 1000x better than this lazy up-res’d garbage.
The fact that Rockstar thought they could do a AI-boosted repaint of a 2 decade PS2 game and bundle it full price is laughable. This is an easy do not buy recommendation.