So Grand Theft Auto III was finally released on Android! Even with so much news following, it’s quite a shocker to finally be holding what so many called the defining game of that era right in the palm of our hands.
So how is it, exactly?
While it’s easy to get blind by the fact that GTA3 is, indeed, on a phone – the first thing that a realistic’s view will notice is that… this game is sort of ugly. It already didn’t look all that good on it’s native console (PlayStation 2) and graphical upgrades definitely didn’t happen here to make it easier on the eyes of newer generations.
Of course, no one cares about that. Rockstar, in general, has been notorious for laughably horrible character models and amateur-ish model animation… aesthetic aspects that people commonly ignore because… well… there’s aspects of gaming that are simply more important than graphics – and most everyone would agree that Grand Theft Auto ROCKED at those non-graphical elements.
Where this does get to be sort of adding an insult to injury is that a gamer that’s familiar with Gameloft has also heard of the Gangstar series which not only LOOKS better, but controls better and has much smoother performance.
Lets elaborate on controls though. It’s no secret that touch screen controls already adhere to an extremely low standard… but they’ve been better than this. Much like Gangstar – MV, GTA3 offers the ability to select between many different variations of locomotion both on-foot and in vehicles – and there’s even a wide variety of custom control options.
The issue, however, arises when you assess how much thought was put into this. The virtual stick is tiny and pathetic compared to most virtual sticks in touch-screen games, the virtual buttons are tiny and plentiful, and the lack of ability to tweak any sensitivity options for X/Y-axis control or accelerometer makes it seem that there wasn’t a stable process of “learning” the operating systems and seeing what was tried and true of the mobile platforms that this game was ported to. Rockstar’s a much bigger development studio than the small-time indie devs that commonly get this aspect right, so it’s just a tad bit unacceptable.
Alas, all hope is not lost! Contrary to all the rumors and dodged explanations about whether this would be playable on the Xperia PLAY or not – it appears Rockstar does care about the Xperia PLAY! Day one of the game’s launch, it’s confirmed to not only be working on Xperia PLAY, but working with it’s physical controls! It’s a bit sad that our touch-screen-only toting bretheren will have to suffer through mediocrity ’til updates fix things, but for the Xperia PLAY gaming front – things are looking good!