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5 Best Grand Theft Auto Games of All Time

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Rockstar Games has always been a mischievous little devil when it comes to stretching the boundaries. They've always powered through with a risque approach to graphical violence, language and explicit content — which is admirable in its own ways. But, even with an entire portfolio of brave works backing the developer, it is Grand Theft Auto that wears the crown to their brutal approach. And, as statistics have shown; those bold moves made by a strong studio have gone on to become some of the most successful decisions in gaming history

Grand Theft Auto has never attempted to hide the components on its sleeve. In fact, it wears them proudly and encourages other ambitious developers to follow suit. After all, it's proven to the community that sometimes risky methods work wonders. But, nothing can ever live up to the reputation of the Rockstar child. It's unique in itself and has carved the way for so many other aspiring creators. But, looking back on it all — which Grand Theft Auto titles have made the biggest impact?


5. Grand Theft Auto

The 1997 original was the very beginning to something beautiful.

Without taking a moment to give credit to the 1997 original, we'd never have been given the opportunity to follow up and appreciate the rest of the timeline. In fact, it's because of this very game that Rockstar found their new cash cow and looked to progress with the Grand Theft Auto platform. Although very basic in art and concept, this first instalment to the franchise still managed to harvest a generous following. With its birds-eye view and fast-paced gameplay, players were quick to fill the boots of the aspiring thug and crave further episodes.

As far as PlayStation greats go — Grand Theft Auto still holds up as one of the most memorable hits. Even today, as technology has advanced by a whole ocean, this little gem still holds its own without ever having to resort to rehashing an updated look on next-gen consoles. And, honestly — that's how you know Rockstar smashed the nail on the head.


4. Grand Theft Auto 3

Ramping up the design with the introduction of a 3D open-world was no other than Grand Theft Auto 3.

Making an entire leap forward in terms of design was no other than Grand Theft Auto 3. With a brand new (although rather bleak) open-world that introduced 3D elements for the first time, this third chapter took the domain to riveting heights. Thanks to Rockstar's change of heart and approach to a strong narrative, Grand Theft Auto 3 went on to amass a renowned status that brought the entire franchise to new horizons. And, without the third instalment and the overwhelming level of success, it's unlikely that we would've seen Vice City, San Andreas — or any later game for that matter.

Silent protagonist, Claude, who went on to become the face of Grand Theft Auto, was one of the many reasons why Grand Theft Auto became such a sensational smash-hit. It seems strange, of course — but something about the canvas face and willing mindset put fans on the edges of their seats as they watched him progress through the underworld of organized crime. And hey — they had to bring him back in later instalments for a reason. That reason, unsurprisingly, was because he was the first face to grace the turning point in GTA history. Nice one, Claude.


3. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

Combing a selection of memorable characters with an iconic map was two of the many reasons why we adored San Andreas.

Following on from the wondrous predecessor, Vice City, with its neon city and superb eighties soundtrack was, of course — San Andreas. Now, it seems like an insult to bypass Vice City and narrow in on San Andreas in its place. But, as far as making marks go — it is undeniably San Andreas that snags the lead and carves a deeper legacy. Although to be fair, both entries to the timeline deserve a place on this list — because they were both global hits.

San Andreas introduced a range of characters that we instantly grew attached to. Their struggles eventually became our struggles, and their emotions soon enough relayed on to us as we pushed through from rags to riches. Now, combine the wealthy number of memorable characters with an iconic world that we came to learn like the back of our hands — and we've got an outstanding title that can be replayed ten times over and always feel fresh.


2. Grand Theft Auto 4

Witnessing Grand Theft Auto 4 emerge was like the turn of a new era.

Often being referred to as “the best in the series”, Grand Theft Auto 4 is still mentioned today when being compared to the likes of the current fifth instalment. Whether it was the game-changing graphics, the portrayal of dingy suburban life, or the wheel of relatable characters; Grand Theft Auto 4 somehow managed to evolve from its previous chapters and establish itself as a new force not to be reckoned with.

After enjoying huge success from San Andreas on PlayStation 2, it was only a matter of time before Rockstar ramped up the target and aimed even higher. The result from that, of course, was the gloomy tale of Niko Bellic on his quest to find fortune in a corrupt city sinking with gangs and figureheads. Again, by taking on a new style and levelling on a more realistic approach, Grand Theft Auto 4 was able to fly the colors for a new concept that would later inspire the following chapters.


1. Grand Theft Auto 5

All hail the king of Rockstar Games!

Well, we can't deny the fact that Grand Theft Auto 5 isn't the best in the series. It has to be — seeing as the player base has skyrocketed to tremendous heights thanks to the online modes and constant updates on Rockstar's behalf. But then, even without the likes of the online community backing the throne, Grand Theft Auto 5 has still left wondrous marks with its fresh-cut story and roster of friends, strangers and enemies. Plus, the map wasn't exactly an eyesore on launch day, either.

Grand Theft Auto 5 was, and, in ways still is the most anticipated game of a generation. It has received such a generous following since its 2013 launch trailer, and even today after seven years — millions of players still balance the crown on the kingpins temple. There is that loyalty that you don't often find after almost a decade of serving up remasters, and we don't think that will go anytime soon, either.

Jord is acting Team Leader at If he isn't blabbering on in his daily listicles, then he's probably out writing fantasy novels or scraping Game Pass of all its slept on indies.