The Grand Theft Auto (GTA) series needs no introduction. It might be the most sought-after game franchises in the history of gaming. With every GTA game, Rockstar made several advancements to make sure there are significant differences between each of them. Rockstar is certainly a pioneer when it comes to the action-adventure open-world genre of games, as with every game, they introduced revolutionary features that were unheard of, for their time. The first Grand Theft Auto game was released all the way back in 1997 and the latest iteration (GTA5) was initially released in 2013. All of this being said, let’s try our best to rank them in the order of worst to best.
Grand Theft Auto Games Ranked From Worst to Best
There are a total of 16 different GTA games if you include expansions and GTA online. They span over 25 years of research and development from Rockstar Games. These games are available on different console generations, PC, and even on handheld consoles and mobile devices.
11. Grand Theft Auto: Advance
This game was released in 2001 for Nintendo’s Gameboy Advance. Due to the console’s hardware limitations, the game only offered vehicle-based missions rather than allowing for free roam-style gameplay.
10. Grand Theft Auto
Grand Theft Auto
The first Grand Theft Auto game was released back in 1997 under the development of DMA Design (Rockstar North). The game was initially named Race’n’Chase but it was later renamed to Grand Theft Auto. Even though the game received mixed reviews, it was a commercial success which led to two new expansions Grand Theft Auto: London 1969 and Grand Theft Auto: London 1961. If you are looking forward to walking down the path of nostalgia you should definitely check out this game.
9. Grand Theft Auto 2
Grand Theft Auto 2 has several improvements to the top-down gameplay featured in the first game. The game had a vibrant color palette along with refined mechanics, driving, and shooting. Players no longer had to deal with a shaky camera during intense chase sequences. The game was certainly a smashing hit back in the day, selling over 2 million copies
8. Grand Theft Auto 3
Grand Theft Auto 3 was Rockstar’s first entry into the 3D universe. The jump from GTA 2 to 3 was considered revolutionary. Players were dropped into a 3D world of Liberty City where they played as Claude, a silent protagonist who got entangled in a life of crime after being betrayed by his girlfriend. The game boasted such graphical prowess, which was only witnessed in a select few games at that time. GTA 3 became the best-selling game of 2001 and led to the development of more GTA games set in the 3D universe.
7. Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories
This expansion of Grand Theft Auto 3 was made specifically for Sony’s PSP and it was later ported to the PS2 as well. It followed the life of Antonio “Toni” Cipriani after his arrival in Liberty City. The game had repetitive missions similar to GTA 3 but it was certainly a financial success, which seems the pattern for every GTA game.
6. Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
GTA Vice City was developed as a standalone game set in 80s Miami. The game was released in 2002 and followed the life of Tommy Vercetti, voiced by popular actor Ray Liotta. The game saw the addition of motorcycles for the first time in the 3D universe and also featured different loadouts of weapons. Vice City also featured more cutscenes than GTA 3.
5. Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories
Vice City Stories puts players in the shoes of Victor Vance, a soldier in the US Army. He had to deal with Jerry Martinez, his corrupt sergeant who forces Vance into a life of crime. Similar to Liberty City Stories, this game was also initially made for the PSP. It gave players the ability to swim, which was transferred over from GTA San Andreas.
4. Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars
Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars
The reason this top-down GTA ranks so high on the list is because of the game’s unique mechanics. It was initially a Nintendo DS exclusive which introduced touchscreen controls for specific elements in the game. Chinatown Wars made its way to other portable consoles and is currently available even on mobile devices. If you want to experience a solid top-down style GTA game, GTA Chinatown Wars offers exactly that.
3. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
GTA San Andreas reached the pinnacle of Rockstar’s games set in the 3D universe. It used the RenderWare game engine to its fullest potential by adding a host of new features. Players could engage in a wide range of activities such as customizing cars, customizing outfits, enhanced interactions with NPCs, etc. The game also featured underwater diving mechanics which was a first for GTA games. GTA SA holds up really well to this day.
2. Grand Theft Auto: 4
Grand Theft Auto: 4
Grand Theft Auto 4 marks Rockstar’s entry into the HD universe with the introduction of the RAGE engine. The game featured an advanced physics engine that allowed for ragdoll mechanics, Fluid movement, realistic driving mechanics, enhanced gunplay, and so on. For a game that was released all the way back in 2008, it featured revolutionary graphics with incredible attention to detail. GTA 4 also featured a very complex storyline following the life of Niko Bellic and his attempt to live out the American Dream. Fans of the series must certainly check this game out if you are looking for a plot-driven GTA.
There are also two expansions called for GTA 4, The Lost and Damned and The Ballad of Gay Tony which are also equally impressive.
1. Grand Theft Auto 5 / GTA Online
Grand Theft Auto 5 / GTA Online
It was no surprise that GTA 5 tops the list. It is the best Grand Theft Auto game that was ever made by Rockstar (unless we are considering the leaked GTA 6). The game features three different protagonists and players can swap between them in real-time. The game has had a host of graphical updates since its release in 2013. It has sold a stupendous 180 million copies since its release with Rockstar making over $5 Billion USD in revenue. The game’s online mode is also constantly updated with new features and storylines.