Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy - Definitive Edition | Performance Review | Switch - Japan-based Nintendo Podcasts, Videos & Reviews!


Monday, November 15, 2021

Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy - Definitive Edition | Performance Review | Switch

When the news first dropped that Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy - Definitive Edition was heading to the Switch, gamers were pretty excited. Myself included. I know I have been waiting for the day when I could finally get a traditional GTA title on a Nintendo system and I can’t be alone in that. Well, the Trilogy is available now for the Switch and things…well, things could definitely be better. Let’s take a look. 

Before we get started, I just wanted to say that the purpose of this article is to take a look at general performance across all of the games in the trilogy on the Switch. As of right now, I’ve spent the most time playing San Andreas (it’s actually my first time trying out the game ever), but I did put some time into all of the games here. 

Visuals, Audio & Performance
The GTA trilogy is all over the place when it comes to visuals. It’s honestly a really weird mix here. The playable characters and most of the other main characters that you will interact with for missions look pretty decent. They feature detailed faces, clothes and an overall aesthetic that matches the loading screen artwork. On the flip side, NPCs and other sub-characters that show up around town or in cutscenes look middling to just plain bad. Faces look weird and sometimes lifeless. Finer details that are present with the main characters are just not there. Of course, with a big, open world games, it should be expected that NPCs or characters that you won’t spend a lot of time with WILL look worse. Even with that said, I think we were all expecting just a bit more, especially given the fact that these are the “definitive editions” of these games. I’m not sure what was done technologically to achieve everything here, but it definitely looks like some more attention to detail is needed to flesh out the games overall. 
It seems to me that the character models in San Andreas look the worst in this package - especially the main characters. Small things, like faces and clothes just don’t have as much detail as the main characters in GTA III or Vice City. CJ kind of has a mess of a face that just is not very detailed and looks washed out. His other buddies can have weird body proportions from time to time, too. Again, this is the game I spent the most time with in the package, but Vice City and III don’t suffer to nearly the same level that San Andreas does in this regard. 

In terms of performance, again, there’s a real mix of good and bad with all of the games. There are times when things run completely fine. Other times, the game will chug, or you will notice the environment, cars and people popping in pretty close proximity. While I thought this was kind of annoying, it really didn’t hinder the gameplay.

Audio is generally pretty good. Voice acting is spot on and sound effects all sound nice. There are, however, times when some of the dialog can sound a bit muffled. I noticed this quite a bit while playing San Andreas with the audio sounding a bit distorted and not quite as clear as you would expect. Even though this is going to be noticeable for anyone playing, it doesn’t break the game. The visual discrepancies will likely play a larger part in that.
Despite there being some major issues with the overall performance and graphics, this hasn’t had too much of an effect on the overall gameplay in my time with the game. There are times when you’ll be speeding around town and you can clearly see the engine trying to keep up with what you’re doing. It's jarring more than anything. With the horrible narrative surrounding the GTA Trilogy, I think there is one thing that many people just aren’t talking about. Despite the obvious flaws, all of the games here remain fun to play. This is due mostly to the the pretty solid updated gameplay, the great stories and awesome voice acting. With all of the (deserved) criticism online right around launch, it seems like I must be the only one actually having fun here. Surely I’m not the only one.
The GTA trilogy is a weird game to review. While I think the game can be a lot of fun to play, it’s difficult to ignore the technical problems that plague the overall experience. Inconsistent character models, pop-in, a chugging engine and more keep this game from being the ideal way to play these games. While I think it’s possible for Rockstar to issue some kind of patches to clean up the game, all gamers can do at this point is wait. That’s something that I don’t think should ever be a solution, but that's unfortunately where we are at. If you’re willing to take chance on a busted game, go for it. You may have fun. Everyone else, wait for some kind of update. 

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