In the Definitive Edition, the process has been simplified with the welcome inclusion of the weapon selection wheel. It also slows down the game like Grand Theft Auto 5. Both aiming and shooting are now handled with triggers as you would expect in 2021, and slowing down the weapon wheel provides respite when you need to gather your thoughts during combat.
Although there are many positive quality of life improvements, some changes are a bit questionable…
Before the mobile port, you have to switch between two face buttons in the gyms to increase your strength and further increase those reps when lifting weights. The more muscles you have, the easier it becomes to get a harder workout in. Now the whole process has been simplified and this mini-game has been reduced to a single keystroke, which has somehow caused a bug that allows CJ to lift the heaviest weights without any effort – even though he has no muscles.
Another holdover from the mobile version is the inclusion of an Auto Climb feature that lets CJ climb over obstacles during sprints without having to jump. This may sound useful, but can often cause CJ to fall to his death. Fortunately, this can be disabled in the options menu.
In the original San Andreas, aiming at an enemy produced a colored crosshair effect that indicated how much health an enemy had. Green for full health, orange for half, and red for danger. However, in the Definitive Edition, this feature has been removed. Replaced by a white outline instead.
CJ no longer has a unique walking animation when he's either skinny or superbuffed, which was noticeable in every other previous version prior to the mobile port.
Another fan favorite from the PS2 and Xbox era that didn't make the cut was the couch co-op mode "Run-Around LS". As the title suggests, two players could run around Los Santos and wreak as much havoc as they wanted to. Unfortunately this is no longer.
The Cinematic Camera is also not included in the Definitive Edition. Although it wasn't a deal breaker, it was a unique way to experience these cities from a different perspective. Unfortunately, GTA 3's top-down camera angle – a nod to previous GTA games – didn't make the cut either.
Special vehicles in GTA San Andreas, such as forklifts, dozers and others, can no longer control their unique animations with the right analog stick. Instead, there is a prompt for the D-pad button that only allows the maximum or minimum of an action – no more direct 1-to-1 control like in the originals.
The camera, an item used throughout San Andreas, no longer allows players to save snapshots to the photo gallery. Although you can easily save pictures and videos using any share feature on the system you're playing on, this gameplay mechanic was removed in the mobile version and is still nowhere to be seen.
A nice touch found in the original versions of San Andreas for consoles was the inclusion of speed blur on the screen when refueling in a car or activating nitrous oxide. The faster you were, the more pronounced the effect was, but it's missing in the Definitive Edition of San Andreas. The same goes for other small visual effects like the haze of flames, the Hydra's engine wash, and even the jetpack.
In Grand Theft Auto 3 and Vice City, both Claude and Tommy Vercetti turn their heads when the player presses the analog stick down to look behind them. Another small but cool detail that was lost in the Definitive Edition.
The difficulty of the missions has also undergone some changes. The infamous Demolition Man mission in Vice City adds 30 seconds to the player clock, and during the Ceasar Vialpando mission in San Andreas, the lowrider competition has now been made easier by removing most of the actions required to pass and enlarging the circle to hit the button and even warning the player which button to press next.
Grand Theft Auto Trilogy: Definitive Edition looks quite different compared to its predecessors. Nearly every texture has an improvement in resolution and detail, from roads to weapons to characters – but some have done better than others.
Aside from the funky character models, the rebuilt lighting system on this updated trilogy is both a blessing and a curse. In Vice City, the iconic Ocean Beach shopping district looks beautiful at night, populated with its many neon-lit storefronts and hotels. The pinks and greens create an '80s aesthetic that looks great in motion.In GTA 3, the oppressive skyscrapers of Liberty City offer little light and can make some cutscenes and even general gameplay too dark to look at.
Although it was more of a technical limitation of time than an artistic one, the fog and light haze in the original versions of San Andreas added to the sunny LA atmosphere of the game. Thanks to the increased train distance, you can now see almost everything in front of you. For the most part, this isn't a problem, but I have to admit that it's strange to see Mount Chiliad from the bridge near Grove Street, or to see the entire map while flying around a jet – making the world seem incredibly small .
However, there are some nice additions like enhanced details in trees and other foliage that make the forests around Flint County in San Andreas or parks and neighborhoods around Liberty City a touch more realistic. In addition, 3D parallax interiors for a number of buildings and windows are included in each of the three games, adding more life and depth to these vibrant cities.
One last thing – don't get caught in the rain, as certain updated environmental effects are a bit of a mess. During a storm, rain falls in thick white lines that can easily obscure your vision when driving at night.