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The 15 Best GTA Games of All Time Ranked

Matt McIntyre

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The Best GTA Games of All Time

Which are the best GTA games created by Rockstar?

The Grand Theft Auto game series is known and loved by millions of fans around the world, there’s no doubt about that.

However, not all GTA games have been a success, with some of the earliest versions receiving negative criticism. But, like all video game franchises, not all games are created equal and it’s therefore expected that there will be a few bad apples in the bag.

With that said, there’s absolutely no denying that GTA games are of the highest quality now, and Rockstar Games have certainly managed to create one of the best games on the planet!

So, without further ado, here’s a list of the 15 best GTA games of all time ranked.

 

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The 15 Best GTA Games of All Time Ranked

The list of best GTA games and figures mentioned below have been compiled from various sources around the web, such as The Gamer, The Things & Game Byte.

These are the 15 best GTA games of all time ranked:

 

15. Grand Theft Auto: London 1961

Best Grand Theft Auto Games - GTA London 1961

GTA London 1961 was the second expansion pack, released by Rockstar Games in 1999, which required players to own an original copy of GTA, and the first expansion pack GTA:1969.

The reason GTA London 1961 falls into the last spot on our list is that it brought little to the table, in terms of new features, gameplay, storyline, mechanics and content. It’s thought that 1961 was created just to tied gamers over until the real GTA sequel came out.

GTA: 1961 was only available for download upon release, and it was pretty obvious that even Rockstar Games themselves, understood the negative press this got from fans, as they rarely mentioned the game at all, since.

 

14. Grand Theft Auto: London 1969

Best Grand Theft Auto Games - GTA London 1969

Grand Theft Auto: London 1969 was the first expansion pack to be released for Grand Theft Auto.

Developed by Rockstar Games Canada and released worldwide by Rockstar Games, London 1969 won a BAFTA Interactive Entertainment Award for “Sound” in 1999.

It was released as a freeware mission pack in order to try and gain some more online publicity, and, like 1961, wasn’t really a major upgrade in terms of gameplay, storyline and content.

London 1969 received mixed reviews from critics upon release, with most choosing to focus on the sound improvements as its best feature.

 

13. Grand Theft Auto: Advance

Best Grand Theft Auto Games - GTA Advance

Next up, we have Grand Theft Auto for the Game Boy Advance.

This action-adventure video game was created by Digital Eclipse and published by Rockstar Games on the Game Boy Advance in October 2004.

The game is played in the typical GTA top-down perspective and is set in Liberty City, in the year 2000. It was released as a prequel to Grand Theft Auto III and it’s events take place approximately one year prior.

GTA Advance received mixed reviews from critics, with the majority complimenting the game’s graphics and how similar it was to the some of the old GTA games.

 

12. Grand Theft Auto (GTA) 

Best Grand Theft Auto Games - Grand Theft Auto

Grand Theft Auto is an action-adventure video game that was created by David Jones and Mike Dailly and published by Rockstar Games.

The games name come from the term, Grand-Theft-Auto, which, in the U.S, means motor-vehicle-theft.

The game is based on an open-world setting where players are free to roam around as they please, as well as choosing missions to complete and side activities to keep them busy, like carjacking, theft, driving and third-person shooting.

Grand Theft Auto was a massive success upon release and received critical acclaim. It was considered a commercial success, as it’s shipped over 280 million units worldwide, and became the fourth highest-selling video franchise of all time, spawning tons of sequels.

 

11. Grand Theft Auto: II

Best Grand Theft Auto Games - GTA 2

Grand Theft Auto II is an action-adventure game released in 1999. It was developed by DMA Design and published by Rockstar Games.

It’s the sequel to Grand Theft Auto and the second instalment in the GTA series. It was released for the PlayStation and Microsoft Windows in 1999, with the Game Boy Color and Dreamcast versions following suit a year later.

GTA II is played from a top-down perspective and players are able to wander around its open world on foot or in a vehicle of their choice. It can be played in both Single and Multi-player.

GTA II received mixed reviews upon release. The PlayStation version won a “Platinum” sales award from the Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association (ELSPA), as it sold more than 300,000 copies in the United Kingdom when it was released!

 

10. Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories 

Best Grand Theft Auto Games - GTA Liberty City Stories

Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories is an action-adventure game collaboration between Rockstar Leeds and Rockstar North.

It was published by Rockstar Games and is the ninth game in the video game series. It was released for the PlayStation Portable (PSP) in October 2005.

Playstation 2 fans were happy in 2006 as a port was released which allowed them to play the game on the game console.

Liberty City Stories is played from a third-person perspective in an open world, allowing players the freedom of movement and choice in the mission. In this version, players have a lot more flexibility in moving the camera around for new viewing opportunities.

In less than a year after it was released on the PlayStation 2, Liberty City Stories sold more than one million copies worldwide!

 

9. Grand Theft Auto: China Town Wars

Best Grand Theft Auto Games - GTA Chinatown Wars

The ninth-best GTA game of all time is GTA: China Town Wars.

The game was developed by Rockstar North and Rockstar Leeds and was published by Rockstar Games.

It was initially released for the Nintendo DS early 2009, and then later that year, it was released on the PlayStation Portable (PSP). In 2010, China Town Wars was released on iOS and Android devices.

China Town Wars is the thirteenth game in the GTA series and received critical acclaim upon release from a number of critics.

It’s the highest-rated Nintendo DS game ever and picked up the Best Handheld Game Award at the 2009 Spike Video Game Awards.

 

8. Grand Theft Auto: The Lost and Damned

Best Grand Theft Auto Games - GTA The Lost And Damned

GTA: The Lost And Damned is the third expansion pack in the Grand Theft Auto Series.

It’s the first of two expansion packs developed for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Microsoft Windows. It was released first for the Xbox 360 in 2009, shortly followed by the PlayStation 3 and Windows in 2010.

The main storyline follows the protagonist, Johnny Klebitz, efforts to continue on with the storyline whilst keeping himself out of trouble with gang warfare, drug running and other conflicts. It also shows Johnny’s perspective on the Diamond deal of Grand Theft Auto IV.

The Lost and Damned received positive reviews overall for both the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 version and received a score of 90 from 73 fan reviews on Metacritic.

 

7. Grand Theft Auto: The Ballad of Gay Tony

Best Grand Theft Auto Games - GTA The Ballad of Gay Tony

The second episodic expansion pack for the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Microsoft Windows, was released on the Xbox 360 in 2009 and the PS3 and Windows in 2010.

It’s the fourth expansion pack in the series and follows the life of Luis Fernando Lopez, the personal bodyguard for Anthony “Gay Tony” Prince.

The main plot of the game follows Luis as he tries to help Tony with a number of pressing issues, including debt, drugs, the mafia and frequent attempts on both their lives.

GTA: The Ballad of Gay Tony was developed by Rockstar North and playable in single or multi-payer.

Upon release, The Ballad of Gay Tony received generally positive reviews from critics and won the Best DLC Award at the 2009 Spike Video Game Awards!

 

6. Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories

Best Grand Theft Auto Games - GTA Vice City Stories

Coming in at number six on our list of the best GTA games of all time is GTA: Vice City Stories.

The game was a collaboration between Rockstar North and Rockstar Leeds and was published by Rockstar Games. It was first released on the PlayStation Portable (PSP) in 2006 and then the PlayStation 2 in 2007, and is the prequel to GTA: Vice City.

The gameplay is as to be expected, players are able to move around the open world from a third-person perspective and drive a number of interesting vehicles. For example, cars, motorcycles, planes, boats, helicopters and jet-skis.

Vice City Stories won Best Handheld Game at the 2007 Golden Joystick Awards and received an IGN award for the best-licensed soundtrack!

 

5. Grand Theft Auto: III

Best Grand Theft Auto Games - GTA 3

The fifth best GTA game of all time is GTA: III.

Released in 2001, GTA: III is the fifth title in the GTA series and follows Claude, a criminal that was left for dead and thereafter becomes trapped in a world of crime, corruption and gang warfare.

It’s played from a third-person perspective and set in an open world. Players are able to navigate through the game on foot or using one of the many cool vehicles.

Critical acclaim was directed at its Gameplay and overall concept, and it quickly became the best-selling video game in 2001.

If that wasn’t enough, it sold over 14.5 million copies worldwide since, and, is considered by many critics, one of the best video-games of all time!

 

4. Grand Theft Auto: IV

Best Grand Theft Auto Games - GTA 4

Next up, is GTA IV, a 2008 action-adventure game that’s the eleventh title in the GTA game series.

GTA IV was released on the PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Windows throughout 2008 and is played from a third-person perspective like GTA III.

The game is set in Liberty City, a fictional city based on New York City, and players follow Niko Bellic, as he tries to run away from his past but finds himself being threatened by mob bosses and under constant pressure from loan sharks.

It can be played in single-player or an online multiplayer mode, which comes included with the game, and allows up to 32 players to participate in co-op and competitive games.

Praise was given for the games open-world design and narrative, and GTA IV went on to become the fastest-selling entertainment product in history at the time!

It’s also considered one of the greatest video games of all time by many critics.

 

3. Grand Theft Auto: Vice City

Best Grand Theft Auto Games - GTA Vice City

The 2002 version of Grand Theft Auto, Vice City, is the third-best GTA game of all time.

It was the first main entry since GTA III, which was released the previous year, and is set within fictional Vice City, which is based on Miami, Florida.

The game follows Tommy Vercetti, a recently released felon that’s on a personal revenge mission to track down the people responsible for robbing him during a drug deal, whilst simultaneously building his criminal empire in Vice City.

It’s played from a third-person perspective and features real-world people and events from Miami, like biker-gangs, the 1980s crack epidemic, glam metal and the mafioso drug lords of Miami.

GTA: Vice City received critical acclaim upon release and won countless year-end awards, including Game of the Year from numerous gaming magazines.

It’s one of the best-selling PlayStation games of all time as it sold more than 500,000 copies in its first 24 hours!

 

2. Grand Theft Auto: V

Best Grand Theft Auto Games - GTA V

Grand Theft Auto V is the second-best GTA game of all time, selling over $800 million in its first day.

Released in 2013, GTA V was developed by Rockstar North and published by Rockstar Games.

It’s the successor to Grand Theft Auto IV, which was released back in 2008, and was one of the most highly anticipated games in 2013.

The game is played in third-person or first-person perspective and players have the option to switch between three protagonists, both in and outside of missions.

The story is mainly centered around heist sequences and players are able to roam around the open world as freely as they like, on foot or by vehicle.

GTA V broke industry sales records, earning $800 million in its first day and over $1 billion within three days of release.

GTA V is one of the best selling PS4 games of all time; It won countless industry awards, and is recognised as the third most popular video game of all time!

 

1. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas

Best Grand Theft Auto Games - GTA San Andreas

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas takes the crown as the best GTA game of all time.

Developed by Rockstar North, published by Rockstar Games and released in 2004, San Andreas quickly became the best-selling video game in its year of release and the best-selling PlayStation 2 game of all time.

Played in an open world environment in a third-person perspective, San Andreas follows Carl “CJ” Johnson, after he returns home from Liberty City due to his mother’s murder.

He finds himself on the wrong side of the law and quickly tries to re-establish his own gang, however, he keeps clashing with corrupt cops as he starts to find out the truth about his mother’s murder!

GTA: San Andreas received critical acclaim for its gameplay, music and storyline, and was awarded a prestigious “Diamond” sales award from the Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association (ELSPA).

Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is the best GTA game of all time.

 

Summary

We hope you enjoyed our list of the 15 best GTA games of all time ranked.

Out of all fifteen, San Andreas, GTA: V and Vice City are our favorites, although we have been known to play the original Grand Theft Auto (GTA) from time to time!

Here’s a quick recap of the 15 best GTA games of all time ranked:

  1. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
  2. Grand Theft Auto: V
  3. Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
  4. Grand Theft Auto: IV
  5. Grand Theft Auto: III
  6. Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories
  7. Grand Theft Auto: The Ballad of Gay Tony
  8. Grand Theft Auto: The Lost and Damned
  9. Grand Theft Auto: China Town Wars
  10. Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories
  11. Grand Theft Auto: II
  12. Grand Theft Auto (GTA)
  13. Grand Theft Auto: Advance
  14. Grand Theft Auto: 1969
  15. Grand Theft Auto: 1961

What’s your favourite GTA game of all time? Leave a comment below.

Matt McIntyre is a digital marketing consultant and certified marketing strategist. When he's not talking about business or marketing, you'll find him on a beach or in the gym.

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