It should have been that simple, if anything, one would think. Three epic open-world workshops that took the gaming industry by storm back in the early 2000s, finally arriving on Switch and providing us all with a complete set of hilarious crime jokes to dive into. Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition For Nintendo Handheld Console should be a marriage made in heaven. However, as it turned out, Rockstar had to be almost completely out of touch in order to allow this port to release in the state in which we considered it.
The games themselves need no introduction here. The great car thief 3, Vice city and San Andreas Released in 2001, 2002 and 2004 respectively, it offers immersive open worlds that literally exude a harsh atmosphere, stunning soundtracks, catchy characters and hilarious slapstick. These are carefully crafted bits of satirical americana that can get out of hand. All of this is still here, but it has been heavily compromised by a port that cannot be trusted, especially since the most recent of these games was released 17 years ago.
This is a trilogy that should work just fine on Switch, there can be no excuse. Instead, we have a straight line strange graphics, blurry visuals smeared with petroleum jelly, clumsy controls, ever-dropping frame rates, lots of bugs and crashes, no music, poor audio quality, freaky long load times, freezes, and more. This is a trio of running Grand Theft Auto games that look worse in some respects than we’ve ever seen, and we just don’t get it.
We started our time with this “definitive” trilogy, immersed in Grand Theft Auto 3, and even in the very first moments, as soon as the game starts, the problems are obvious. We had to pause and set the brightness to maximum and then reduce the contrast to zero to make the picture look acceptable before jumping into the car and driving through good old Liberty City. But it was not Liberty City as we remember it, and certainly not the Liberty City that we would expect from the renovation.
This port – from a 2001 game – suffers from constant and severe spikes, with buildings, bushes, and passersby magically appearing around you as you maneuver through its city streets. Worse than that, however, are other vehicles that tend to materialize right in front of you, giving you virtually no time to avoid them, a problem that directly impacts the open world here and one that drains almost all the fun of driving. what you do a lot in GTA.
This problem persists in all three games. This is compounded endlessly by the frame rate that stutters when you pick up any decent speed or come up with some tricks, and dramatically affects the basic level of pleasure you can get in these sandboxes. We no longer traveled, switching to our favorite radio station and enjoying the proposed (truncated) soundtrack, instead berating our screen and wondering how anyone could ever have let this cherished trilogy run like this.
A strange sensation. We spent so much time with these games that it was just expect to enjoy them, but unless you have seriously low expectations, it’s almost impossible to do here. In combat – and this again happens in all three games – the stutter frame rate persists, resulting in some terribly irrelevant snippets. Shootouts are mostly a mess, vehicle demolitions suck, and they’re all even more difficult with controls that you just don’t like. Gyroscope and HD Rumble support is included, which we suppose is a thing or two, but that doesn’t help as the shooting feels simple, clumsy and sticky, animations jerk and blurry Vaseline visuals make decoding where your shots land absolute routine work.
The new visuals are definitely an acquired taste (we haven’t mastered them yet), but they are can look good sometimes. In this regard, Vice City has especially improved a lot, but this only applies to city streets, ambient lighting and the buildings themselves. The characters are a whole different story, and as we’re sure you’ve seen on the net, there are a lot of very strange looking people wandering the streets of these games these days. As far as the protagonists go, Tommy Vercetti probably did the best with the makeup, but poor old CJ does look really weird at some points, like the rubbery figure with bent arms and a huge bulge protruding from his back as he squats. …
In handheld mode, some visual issues – extremely low resolution, glitches, texture issues, etc. – can be seen in a more forgiving light, and you might even sometimes (and almost entirely out of nostalgia) feel like that old familiar the magic of GTA. However, in the docking mode, here all the shortcomings are exposed, there is nowhere to hide. The resolution is well below 720p, it has some kind of post-effect that makes the situation even worse, the default picture settings are terrible, and stuttering and jerking are obvious. It all looks really, really bad on TV and we’ve never thought about it in Grand Theft Auto before.
We really thought – or perhaps we just hoped it would be easy, slap it ten and let’s all go to the bar sort of a review. There aren’t many reliable things in this business, but it was hard to see how they could screw it up, especially given Rockstar Games’ deep pockets and the supposedly huge resources available. That said, Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition arriving on Switch is a mess. The further you go in these games, the more the action increases, the more painful all these flaws become. Unsurprisingly, Rockstar was unable to show it prior to release. It’s also no surprise that you can’t record snippets of it while you play, because under no circumstances is it good enough.
There are three awesome games here, three classic classics that we love and have played more times than we can remember, so below is the reason this game has any score at all. However, we strongly recommend that you install this on any other platform if possible, or at least wait for it to receive – hopefully a ton of fixes to bring it to “acceptable” level. What a disappointment.
Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition on Switch features three real greats in a shockingly rough package that manages to suck almost all the fun out of Rockstar’s stellar crime epics. It’s a bad port, crappy, stuttering, low-res mess full of bugs, glitches, audio issues and more. If you can get it on any other platform, we would encourage you to do so, or at least wait until it gets fixed and hopefully improved in the future. Nowadays it is very, very far from “definitive” – we don’t want to memorize these games that way.