The App Trap: Grand Theft Auto III

Take Grand Theft Auto with you when you’re committing grand theft auto.

Grand Theft Auto III (iPad, iPhone)

Price: $4.99

What’s it about?

Finally, now you can take Grand Theft Auto with you while you’re committing grand theft auto. Marking Rockstar’s first foray into 3D world design on a touchscreen, GTA3 melds the the beloved sandbox of Liberty City with everything that the studio learned from their original iOS GTA endeavor, Chinatown Wars. GTA3 is technically a 10-year anniversary edition so expect nostalgia to run rampant as you touch your way to a seat in the upper echelon of criminal masterminds.

How does it look?

GTA3 is a divisive kind of app. On the one hand, this is a port of a ten year old game and, though it looks good on the high quality screens of iOS toys, there is a choppiness from the original that comes along with the rest of the story and open-world mayhem. On the other hand, GTA3 represents a huge step in what’s possible on a tablet or phone and the freedom to roam around Liberty City is unlike any other experience we’re currently able to have on an iPad. It’s just huge (editor’s note: That’s what she said). GTA3 might lack the polish that’s so easy to find in the app store nowadays but we can’t think of another game for the iOS that can compete with GTA’s size and depth (again, TWSS)

How addictive is it?

GTA is a marathon, not a sprint. We’ve seen a lot of games that are great for a commute or an extended dookie drop. This is not one of them. This isn’t a temporary distraction, but a story unfolding¿one jacked car, offed enemy and swiped finger at a time. Luckily, driving and murdering are made easy thanks to a very decent set of virtual buttons that Rockstar evolved from Chinatown Wars. Proving once and for all that you really can get ANYTHING in Chinatown.

What’d they screw up?

The offerings on the app store will let any iOS owner snatch up a copy of the game. Not a problem if you’re rocking an A5 chip but GTA can definitely present your older iPhone or iPad an uphill battle that will likely end in the occasional crash. This would be less of a hair-pulling frustration if there was an auto-save function but, like the original, the only way to save is by making a deliberate visit to your nearest safe house. There’s also a certain amount of patience required in relearning the controls on a touch screen, mainly from perfectionists who don’t like to hit pedestrians unless they mean to. For the rest of us who don’t mind mowing down a string of onlooking digital gawkers, there’s little to complain about that a half hour of practice can’t fix.

Out of five?

4.5, The game may just be a port of the original console version but support from Rockstar that yields an app like this continues to legitimize Apple’s mobile devices as a must-have platform for hardcore gamers.

If I like this, what else will I like?

GTA Chinatown Wars, Another World, carrying around your pimp game in your pocket.