Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition is Still Not up to Standard Two Years Later

Let’s answer the question immediately: is Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition finally fixed, after two years of patch updates following a more-than-sloppy initial release? In a word, no.

However, the playability of each entry will always vary between players. Texture pop-ins and absent collision detection might be amusing to some and downright immersion ruining to others whilst game breaking bugs – which, to be fair have since been patched – such as the invincible bazooka wielding maniac on the rooftop in Los Desperados or T-Bone the bullet sponge in GTA: San Andreas’ “Pier 69” mission didn’t occur for everyone. A quick scan through various subreddits and there are players who lament the aging mechanics of the original games but by and large report them as playable, completable, and above all else, they’re enjoyable. But for everyone who expected a Definitive Edition of Rockstar’s iconic titles, well, we’ve still a way to go.

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The most recent patch, version 1.04.5, was released October 18th, 2022, but it’s been radio silence ever since then. The patch notes for this specific update make for slim reading too, with stability improvements across all platforms the only stated additions. We must go all the way back to February 2022 and patch update 1.04 to find a significant list of improvements. Grand Theft Auto III – The Definitive Edition improved collision detection across multiple locations including the formerly solid, drivable lake in Belleville Park, fixed issues relating to the awarding of achievements, repaired problems of tanks spawning without doors, and reinstated missing features which should have been there from the off such as the ability to hold the sprint button to perform a partial sprint when using tap to sprint. Likewise, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City – The Definitive Edition saw fixes to collision and texture detection in patch 1.04, plus fixed the issue of the player failing the mission “Cop Land” should the café blow up, and the issue of the player not failing the mission when they die during “Cannon Fodder”. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas – The Definitive Edition saw the aforementioned invincible T-Bone be patched in version 1.04 alongside a raft of attention to detail fixes ranging from traffic lights not appearing, music continuing to play outdoors, building debris remaining after reloading and – most crucially – the gap in CJ’s high afro hairstyle being filled in.

These are just a brief cross-section of the changes brought to The Trilogy in patch 1.04, and whilst the improvements are extensive, they still don’t close the book of issues prevalent in these remasters. The fact the 1.04 update came a full three months after release is unforgiveable for some too, given Rockstar’s bottomless pit of wealth they’ve accumulated considering GTA V and its online counterpart’s ongoing success. These games are legendary, and they should have been given the budget, time, and resources Rockstar has at their disposal to bring them bang up to date.

For their part, Rockstar at least addressed the shoddy state of these remasters by apologising days after release. Their statement reads: “The updated versions of these classic games did not launch in a state that meets our own standards of quality, or the standards our fans have come to expect. We have ongoing plans to address the technical issues and to improve each game going forward. With each planned update, the games will reach the level of quality that they deserve to be.”

grand theft auto the trilogy the definitive edition

Their ongoing plans? Well, principally, their plans were presumably to remove developer Grove Street Games from the project entirely, which they eventually did in late 2022. They had to be seen to be doing something, right? Getting rid of Grove Street Games kind of implies the responsibility for the lacklustre standard of these remasters lands squarely at their door, but the strange thing is why has there been no update to GTA: The Trilogy since then? Aren’t Rockstar interested in fixing the problems that still exist?

And yes, whilst these remasters are playable, completable, enjoyable, and in places look pretty good, Vice City especially, bugs and visual glitches persist. As reported in February 2023, lampposts and streetlights still disappear into invisible sink holes when driven into (weird seeing as this wasn’t ever a problem in the originals), fog and cloud cover is still non-existent across San Andreas, massively reducing the nostalgic atmosphere the game is fondly remembered for.

Rain was amongst the most notable issues when The Trilogy first released; white laser raindrops so heavy they completely cover the screen, masking the way forward. Whilst the impenetrable rain was patched early on, strange water-based artefacts remain – certain interiors leak from the ceiling, as if rain can now somehow seep through buildings; interior surfaces glisten as if slick with rainwater. At this stage, it appears these problems will never get fixed. Floating cars, grass growing through concrete, UI present in cutscenes, rain indoors – the list goes on. One major problem that still needs correcting are the gamma settings – lighting is distracting at best and downright impossible to see through at worst. Some cutscenes are so dark it’s impossible to see who they’re featuring. Although, this isn’t such a bad thing in every case as character designs are oftentimes a visage of paper mache babies. These visual oddities would be comical if The Trilogy wasn’t comprised of such famous games.

And that’s the thing, these games are so famous, and so well loved, that a graphical refresh is probably all that was required to satisfy fans. The bar for acceptability wasn’t especially high. Same game, better graphics, that’s all they needed. The age-related flaws prevalent in these titles would be accepted given that The Trilogy is a trio of remasters, not remakes. But the introduction of problems that didn’t even exist in the originals is simply not acceptable. Additionally, the fact so many of these problems remain unfixed is unnecessarily frustrating.

grand theft auto the trilogy the definitive edition

It’ll be interesting to see the state of these games once they’re available on iOS and Android. Pre-registering for The Trilogy on these platforms opened on December 1st, with the games landing on phones and tablets via Netflix on December 14th. Is this where Rockstar have been pooling their resources? Will these mobile versions release problem free? Based on the current state of GTA: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition it seems unlikely. And it’s a massive shame to be so negative. We all want these remasters to function perfectly, but it seems unlikely at this stage that they ever will.

If we’re being optimistic, the launch of Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition on mobile might provide the springboard for a final, definitive patch that’ll fix the console and PC versions once and for all.

As mentioned elsewhere in this feature mileage for playability will vary between players. If you’re okay with texture pop-ins, non-existent collision detection, and the chance of immersion breaking bugs, then knock yourself out. These games are still special. It might be worth holding out for a sale though, as given the persistent disappointing state of these remasters, the asking price for The Trilogy plainly isn’t worth it.

Note: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, GamingBolt as an organization.

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