November 22, 2021

GTA Definitive Edition: Vice City and San Andreas add to the disappointment

We've already looked at the opening entry in the Grand Theft Auto Trilogy Definitive Edition - and found the remastering to be anything other than definitive. Shoe-horning the RenderWare-based originals into Unreal Engine 4, presumably in order to tap into the modern technology's advanced rendering capabilities, delivers an experience that at its very best falls short. The mixture of old assets, AI upscaled textures, geometry-enhanced/smoothed vehicles, remodelled characters and modern rendering sensibilities is jarring to say the least. GTA3 was the oldest game and potentially showed off the biggest possible boost but what about Vice City and San Andreas? And what about the recently released patches - is the situation made any better?

Before we go into depth on the individual games, it's important to put the patches into context. Since they arrive relatively soon after the release of the trilogy, we should expect them to have been in development for some time - likely before launch, before the backlash. The patch notes suggest as much, ticking off fixes for a range of bugs as opposed to addressing the fundamental issues raised when the game launched. Our work on the games was mostly carried out on the unpatched launch code, but we've spent significant time re-examining the post-patch Vice City and San Andreas. Unfortunately, none of our issues with the game had been addressed and performance was also unchanged. Interestingly, there is a mention of improvements to the rain effect in San Andreas in the patch notes but even this seems to run in much the same way as before.

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