Best GTA Games Grand Theft Auto 1

What are the best GTA games? Grand Theft Auto is one of the most commercially successful series in the industry, shipping over 350 million copies over numerous instalments since its humble inception in 1997.

Originally released as an isometric adventure from DMA Design, the first GTA introduced the fictional urban backdrops of Liberty City, Vice City, and San Andreas. These would go on to become some of the most iconic sandboxes in the industry, although the first game received a mixed critical reception for its sharp difficulty spikes and unfathomable controls.

It wasn’t until the release of GTA 3, during a vintage window of classic PS2 software, that the series really exploded. Building on the concepts of the original but transitioning to a fully realised 3D setting, the 2001 title effectively established the open world formula we recognise today. DMA Design didn’t want to build a game you played but instead a place you lived in, and so you were given the freedom to go where you wanted whenever you wanted.

The Scottish studio, later renamed Rockstar North, would go on to finesse this format through subsequent sequels, building one of the biggest entertainment properties on the planet. The latest entry GTA 5, as of the time of writing, has sold over 160 million units, and in addition to a sweeping multi-faceted plot involving a trio of protagonists, it also boasts an evolving online sandbox which is constantly populated with new missions and content to complete.

On this page you'll find the best GTA games, based on your game ratings. We encourage you to rank any of the titles you’ve played with a score out of 10 in order to ensure that this page remains definitive and reflective of your views. You share your opinion using the search box below or click the star next to any game. And of course, be sure to drop into the comments and tell us which rankings you agree and disagree with – it’s all a matter of opinion, at the end of the day.

18. Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy - Definitive Edition (PS5)

When the GTA Trilogy released on PS5, fans of Rockstar’s crime capers were expecting a slamdunk. Instead, this compilation featuring GTA 3, GTA: Vice City, and GTA: San Andreas blew up in the label’s face, due to poor performance and some odd artistic decisions. In the months since release developer Grove Street Games has cleaned up many of the performance hiccups, but such an iconic trilogy deserved a much better compilation.

17. Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy - Definitive Edition (PS4)

Rockstar removed the emulated PS2 versions of GTA 3, GTA: Vice City, and GTA: San Andreas from the PS Store in order to make room for the GTA Trilogy, which looked like a poor decision in hindsight considering the quality of these ports. While the developer modernised the originals, adding much-needed checkpoints and performance options, the quality of this compilation was called into question due to some dodgy art decisions and a lack of overall polish.

16. Grand Theft Auto: London 1969 (PS1)

Developed and deployed as an expansion pack for the core GTA game, GTA: London 1969 adheres to all of the same gameplay systems as its top-down predecessor. The key difference is that it’s set in an environment inspired by real-world London during the late 1960s, and includes some regionally appropriate slang. Sadly, the map’s not really as interesting as the fictional US cities found in the core game, and all of the gameplay issues remain.

15. Grand Theft Auto (PS1)

The game that started it all, and frankly not a very good one. DMA Design’s iffy isometric arcade game GTA spans three different maps: Liberty City, San Andreas, and Vice City. While these would go on to become some of the most iconic open worlds in gaming, this bizarre arcade experience – in which you take on missions from telephone booths – sees you carrying out tasks in order to earn points, presented as money, in order to progress. With an unfair difficulty curve and cumbersome controls, the release was largely panned at the time, but would go on to give birth to one of the biggest brands in entertainment.

14. Grand Theft Auto 2 (PS1)

A refinement of the original top-down GTA game, GTA 2 introduces some quality-of-life improvements, like the ability to save, but adopts the same core structure: completing missions in order to earn points. There’s a gang system, whereby you can take on work from one faction and affect your relationship with another, but the cumbersome controls and muddy graphics make this a challenging proposition from a contemporary perspective.

13. Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars (PSP)

Originally released for the Nintendo DS and later ported to the PSP, GTA: Chinatown Wars is the most recent handheld entry in Rockstar’s prestigious sandbox series. Adopting a top-down viewpoint, this sharply presented story starring snarky Triad member Huang Lee harks back to the PS1 titles. With laugh-out-loud comic book panel cut-scenes and an impressively dense drug trading minigame, this release provides some respite from the more modern entries in the franchise.

12. Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories (PSP)

A mind-boggling achievement at the time: Rockstar managed to squeeze its entire Liberty City sandbox onto Sony’s spangly handheld hardware, delivering a full GTA story on the go. Although GTA: Liberty City Stories is set in 1998, prior to the events of GTA 3, many characters from the seminal PS2 title cameo, further fleshing out Rockstar’s fictional world. The gameplay is somewhat limited compared to contemporary entries – there are no aircrafts, for example – but having an open world in your hands was simply stunning in 2005.

11. Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories (PSP)

GTA: Vice City Stories is the second major handheld instalment in Rockstar’s crime series, and it turns back time to 1984, two years before Vice City. Playing as military corporal Victor ‘Vic’ Vance, the release sticks closely to the blueprints established by its contemporaries, seeing you building a criminal empire by purchasing rackets and compounds.

10. Grand Theft Auto: Episodes from Liberty City (PS3)

Exclusive to the Xbox 360 at first, as Microsoft fought to strangle Sony’s dominance in the console market, GTA: Episodes from Liberty City combined two GTA 4 expansion packs: The Lost and the Damned and The Ballad of Gay Tony. Intertwined with Niko’s story from the core campaign, Rockstar sought to shine a light on different sides of Liberty City, with Johnny Klebitz exploring biker culture and Luis Fernando Lopez looking into the life of a socialite. Both add-ons were a little lighter than the main game, with Gay Tony in particular adding popular activities like Base Jumping.

9. Grand Theft Auto III (PS2)

The game that pioneered a revolution: Rockstar single-handed popularised the open world genre when it released GTA 3 in 2001. Set in Liberty City and starring a two-bit gangster named Claude, the release introduced an urban playground with overlapping systems for you to lose yourself in. This is widely regarded as one of the most influential titles of all-time, and while it may not impress from a contemporary perspective, it’s impossible to ignore the raw impact of this outing.