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(Pocket-lint) - We can't believe it has been 10 years since the joys of Grand Theft Auto 3 graced our PlayStation 2. The ground breaking title brought the idea of open world gaming to consoles and its quality voice acting and edgy story showed us how cinematic a game could be. Since then the GTA series has come on leaps and bounds, culminating in the technical tour de force that was GTA 4. 

Boasting revamped graphics, new character models and a bespoke control scheme built for controller-free play, it is shaping up to be a top dog of the iOS app world. Chinatown Wars was already a damn impressive mobile title, but can the game that started it all claim the Rockstar top spot?

Grand Theft Auto 3


Here is the first thing you are going to notice about GTA 3 on your iPhone, that Retina display makes it look damn good. Forget the revamped graphics or any of that gimmickry, we are talking about a sharper, smoother and cleaner looking GTA here. As iOS games go, this is easily one of the most visually impressive. Sure a lot of character models look like they might have had their heads jammed in an elevator, but ultimately, if you want to show off the power of your iPhone 4S, then this is the thing to do it with.

app of the day grand theft auto 3 image 1

Next up is the control scheme. We have to admit, we were seriously worried about the way all the intricacies of controlling a GTA game would handle on a tablet screen. Thankfully it all works out rather nicely. Each virtual button detects taps instantaneously and the analogue stick is replicated perfectly. It means you don't spend the whole game bashing around and can actually drive the car with some finesse. 

The audio is also top notch, but then this is a GTA game so what would you expect? All the classic stations are there, complete with silly adverts and over the top jingles. Some of the songs we found ourselves singing along to by default, our memories kicked in before we could even remember the things.

Pocket-lintapp of the day grand theft auto 3 image 3

On the iPad that extra bit of screen size does make quite a difference, particularly when you're driving fast and need to be able to see the road ahead clearly to either dodge or aim for pedestrians. That said iPhone owners need not worry, it looks great on both.

The only fault we can really pin on the app relates to saving. This being a rather old console game, it is geared towards, as are all GTA games, saving at your safe house. With an app you want to be able to dive in and dive out, which you can provided the app isn't put to sleep by iOS. This means you will run into the occasional moment where progress is lost simply because you forgot to save. An autosave function might have cured this but in the end it detracts from what GTA is all about. 

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What do you think of GTA3 as an app? Let us know in the comments below...

Writing by Hunter Skipworth. Originally published on 16 April 2013.