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Grand Theft Auto III or GTA III was a game-changer. Released in 2001, it introduced players to a world that was fully realized and interactive. Rockstar Games and DMA Design created a game world, Liberty City, that was loosely based on New York City. The game’s mechanics allowed players to do anything they wanted, from stealing cars, flying helicopters, and going on crime sprees. GTA III was the first 3-dimensional game in the GTA franchise, introducing open-world gameplay, leading to its massive popularity.
Open World Exploration
One of the biggest selling points of Grand Theft Auto III was its sprawling open world. Players could explore all three areas of Liberty City – Portland, Staunton Island, and Shoreside Vale. Each area was unique with distinct neighborhoods, various topographical features, and activities. Streets were brimming with life as pedestrians roamed around, cars drove by, and police cars and mafia agents patrolled the city. Players could explore the world on foot, bikes, boats, and planes. With hidden packages, jumps, and unique locations scattered all over, players could easily sink hours into just exploring the city.
GTA III’s groundbreaking gameplay allowed players to do things that hadn’t been done before. Players could hijack cars, fly a dodo plane, and go on a killing spree without any consequences whatsoever. Furthermore, the game’s non-linear storyline was a first for open-world games, with players able to tackle missions in any order they chose. Gone were the days of simple linear levels. Instead, GTA III gave players the freedom to complete missions in whatever way they wanted. The game’s sandbox nature allowed for experimentation as players could try different methods to outsmart their enemies.
While character development wasn’t a priority for GTA III, Rockstar Games did manage to create characters that were memorable. Each character had a story, but the most well-known was Claude. He was the game’s protagonist, a blank slate who did not speak, but his story was told through the actions of the other characters and the game’s missions. Other characters like Salvatore Leone and Joey Leone also added more depth and intrigue to the game, making players empathize or despise them.
Grand Theft Auto III cemented the series’ place as the world’s most popular open-world game. It revolutionized gameplay, storylines, and graphics. Despite being almost two decades old, GTA III is still a fan favorite and continues to garner new fans. The legacy of GTA III lives on, and the game still has a community that creates mods and custom maps. Grand Theft Auto III will always hold a special place in gamers’ hearts, representing an era when innovation was the driving force behind a franchise that’s still as popular as it was 20 years ago.