Rockstar is currently working on its upcoming GTA title, GTA 6. The developer recently faced a cyber-attack, which led to a massive GTA 6 leak that revealed more than 90 videos and screenshots from an early build of the game. The hacker is also threatening to leak the source code if they fail to reach an agreement with Rockstar and Take-Two. While Rockstar has to deal with this major issue, GTA fans have been happy to get their first glimpse at the highly-anticipated game. That being said, GTA 6 is still years away from its official launch as it is rumoured to launch by 2025. While we wait for the release of GTA 6, we take a retrospective look at the best and worst games in the GTA series.
GTA games ranked from worst to best
10. Grand Theft Auto
The first-ever Grand Theft Auto game was much different than what you see now. The game was developed by DMA Design much before Rockstar was even established. The core gameplay of the original GTA title focused on hijacking cars, creating chaos, and escaping cops. The game was displayed in a top-down perspective, which was removed after GTA 2 and made a comeback in Chinatown Wars. While GTA’s 2D graphics and controls haven’t aged well, it established core elements in the series including being a criminal, exploring an open world, and doing whatever you want.
- Graphics and controls haven’t aged well
9. GTA 2
The GTA sequel again put players in a fictional city with the sole aim of causing as much chaos as possible. The game was presented from a top-down perspective and the graphics were somewhat improved. While there wasn’t really any overarching story in the game, players loved GTA 2 as it let them live out the fantasy of being a budding criminal who is set to destroy the city. The game also had a multiplayer experience, where up to six players could compete on dedicated maps. After GTA 2, the series departed from its 2D look and expanded into creating a 3D open world.
- Improved upon the original GTA
8. GTA: Chinatown Wars
GTA: Chinatown Wars was built for handheld devices like PSP and Nintendo DS. The game took advantage of DS’ touch screen and secondary screen to deliver a unique gameplay setup. Chinatown Wars takes place in Liberty City and follows Huang Lee on his adventures as a Triad gang member. GTA’s early top-down perspective and art style were brought back after a brief departure. Critics appreciated the game as it delivered more than just a scaled-down version of GTA and pushed the series in a meaningful direction.
- Graphics haven’t aged well
7. GTA: Liberty City Stories
GTA: Liberty City Stories was built for PSP, and it is remembered as the first 3D GTA entry on the handheld console. The game serves as a prequel to GTA 3 and follows a mobster, Tony Cipriani, who is trying to build his reputation in the underworld. Liberty City Stories followed the typical Rockstar formula of telling the story of a criminal via various action-packed missions and cutscenes. The game was considered pretty remarkable for its time as it could capture a major chunk of the GTA experience on a portable console. The game is now available on smartphones as well.
- First 3D entry in the series for PSP
- Great open world
6. GTA 3
GTA 3 came with a major change in direction for the series. Developed by DMA Design, GTA 3 was the first game in the franchise to go for 3D graphics and ditch its top-down perspective from previous titles. The game introduced its now signature massive open world and non-linear gameplay experience. For the first time in the series, the developer had hired Hollywood talent including Michael Madsen and Samuel L. Jackson for voice acting and added various types of activities to the game.
- Redefined the GTA series
- Unique gameplay experience for the time
- Graphics could have been better
5. GTA: Vice City Stories
GTA: Vice City Stories was launched for PSP as well as PS2, and it serves as a prequel for Vice City. The game takes place two years before the events of Vice City and follows Victor Vance as he tries to build his criminal empire in the city. Vice City Stories didn’t exactly evolve the GTA experience, but it introduced another great entry to PSP. The game felt pretty similar to Vice City, with some minor improvements. That being said, it was still a fun game to play on the PSP.
- Fun gameplay experience
- Great soundtrack
- The story could have been better
4. GTA 4
GTA 4 pushed the series to new levels, with a vast and realistic open world as well as a fantastic story. The campaign follows Niko Bellic, who is trying to build a new life for himself in America. The huge open world set in Liberty City gave players a lot of opportunities to explore. The game also introduced cover shooting mechanics and online multiplayer experience in the series, which were later added to GTA 5. GTA 4 also allowed players to make choices that will have long-term effects on the story. Besides these, GTA 4 is known for its fantastic expansions such as The Lost and The Damned and The Ballad of Gay Tony.
- Fantastic open world
- Online multiplayer
- Minor quirks with friendly NPCs
3. GTA: Vice City
GTA: Vice City is considered to be an iconic entry in the franchise and the game that introduced many players to the world of GTA. Set in 1986, the game tells the story of Tommy Vercetti and his misadventures as he tries to establish his name in the criminal underworld. Vice City improved various elements compared to previous games with new items, weapons, and mechanics. Many hardcore GTA fans love revisiting Vice City every now and then to relive the experience.
- Vibrant open world
- Fun story and gameplay
- Gunplay could have been better
2. GTA: San Andreas
GTA: San Andreas features a massive open world, which is inspired by several real-world locations in the US including Las Vegas, California, and others. You play as Carl “CJ” Johnson, who moves back into his old neighbourhood after the death of his mother and reconnects with his old gang. The game’s world is beautiful and great to explore, with several fun activities to try out. The main story is incredible and it paid homage to ‘90s gang movies. San Andreas is one of the most memorable entries in the series so far.
- Huge and beautiful open world
- Amazing gameplay experience
- Combat needs some improvement
1. GTA 5/ GTA Online
GTA 5 is one of the most popular games in the history of gaming itself. The game is considered the pinnacle of the series, with innovative storytelling, vast and detailed open world, and a lot of additional activities that made the experience even more engaging. GTA 5’s story is explored through the perspective of three playable protagonists, each of which comes from a different background and has a different agenda. Rockstar has managed to keep the game alive via GTA Online, a standalone online experience that is set in the same world as GTA 5. GTA Online features various co-op missions and heists, as well as PvP game modes.
- Unique storytelling
- Detailed open world
- Combat could be slightly improved