Every Grand Theft Auto game ranked from best to worst
Grand Theft Auto has been a gaming juggernaut for over two decades, delivering open-world mayhem and satirical stories that have captivated millions of players. But with so many entries in the series, how do they stack up against each other? On the heels of the exciting announcement of the next instalment in the Grand Theft Auto franchise, Grand Theft Auto VI, we're taking a look back at the entire series and ranking every main entry from the top-down beginnings to the sprawling modern epics.
1. Grand Theft Auto V (2013)
It's hard to argue against Grand Theft Auto V as the ultimate GTA experience. With its sprawling Los Angeles-inspired map, diverse cast of playable characters, and a story that tackles themes of wealth, greed, and the American dream, GTA V is a masterpiece of open-world design and storytelling. The game's online mode, GTA Online, has also proven to be an enduring success, offering a constantly evolving playground for players to explore and create chaos with friends.
2. Grand Theft Auto IV (2008)
While GTA V might be the more polished experience, Grand Theft Auto IV remains a masterclass in gritty realism and complex characters. The story of Niko Bellic, an Eastern European immigrant struggling to find his place in the American underworld, is one of the most compelling in the series. Liberty City, a grimy and unforgiving take on New York City, feels alive with detail and atmosphere.
3. Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (2002)
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City is a love letter to the 1980s, with its neon-drenched Miami setting, a soundtrack packed with iconic hits, and a story that parodies the era's drug-fueled excess. Vice City isn't quite as expansive as its successors, but its focused world and memorable characters make it a classic.
4. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas (2004)
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas marked a significant leap forward for the series, offering a vast and diverse open world that encompassed three cities based on Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Las Vegas. The game's sprawling story, which follows gang member CJ Johnson's rise to power, is full of memorable moments, even if it can be uneven at times.
5. Grand Theft Auto III (2001)
Grand Theft Auto III was a game-changer, introducing the series' signature 3D open-world gameplay and sparking a revolution in the gaming industry. While its visuals and mechanics haven't aged particularly well, the game's groundbreaking design and its dark, satirical take on crime in Liberty City make it an essential piece of gaming history.
6. Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories (2005)
A prequel to Grand Theft Auto III, Liberty City Stories offers a smaller but still engaging open world and a more focused story about the Leone crime family. While not quite as groundbreaking as its predecessor, Liberty City Stories is a solid entry in the series that provides a deeper look at the world of GTA III.
7. Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories (2006)
Vice City Stories follows the story of Victor Vance, a soldier who gets caught up in the criminal underworld of 1980s Vice City. While the game doesn't quite recapture the magic of the original Vice City, it's still an enjoyable experience with its own unique story and characters.
8. Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars (2009)
A spin-off for the Nintendo DS, Chinatown Wars is a unique entry in the series that utilizes the handheld's touch screen for innovative gameplay mechanics. While the graphics and controls might not appeal to everyone, the game's intriguing story and focus on drug trafficking make it a worthwhile experience.
9. Grand Theft Auto 2 (1999)
The sequel to the original Grand Theft Auto, GTA 2 expanded on the series' basic gameplay with more missions, weapons, and vehicles. While it lacks the polish and depth of later entries, GTA 2 is still a fun and chaotic sandbox experience.
10. Grand Theft Auto (1997)
The game that started it all, Grand Theft Auto is a top-down action game with a simple premise: cause mayhem in a sprawling city. While primitive by today's standards, the game's irreverence and open-ended gameplay laid the groundwork for the series' future success.
The Grand Theft Auto series has come a long way since its humble beginnings, offering a diverse range of experiences for players to enjoy. Whether you prefer the gritty realism of GTA IV, the neon-drenched world of Vice City, or the sprawling Los Angeles-inspired landscape of GTA V, there's a GTA game out there for everyone. With Grand Theft Auto VI on the horizon, the future of the series looks bright indeed.