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The best Grand Theft Auto game is less than $6

Better than Vice City, San Andreas, GTA 5, and Grand Theft Auto 3, while we wait on GTA 6, the greatest Rockstar crime epic is under $6.

Grand Theft Auto 4 Steam sale: Tony Prince from Rockstar open-world game GTA 4

My hopes for Grand Theft Auto 6, I worry, are quite different from Rockstar’s own ambitions. I don’t like Grand Theft Auto San Andreas. I think it’s directionless, too open, and too silly. Similarly, I don’t enjoy anything about (the single-player) of Grand Theft Auto 5. GTA 3, Vice City, and more broadly Red Dead Redemption 2 are more my preference. I prefer when Rockstar is contained and somber, and willing to sacrifice player freedom in exchange for a more coherent plot. Perhaps it was before its time. Perhaps it was too different. Nevertheless, the best GTA game is now just $6.

Grand Theft Auto 4 was a drastic tonal shift from GTA San Andreas. San Andreas was wide, open, and admired for its enormous map and boundless range of minigames, ambient activities, and customization. GTA 4 had basically none of those things. Compared to the colorful open-world game of 2004, this was an austere, stripped-back, narrative-driven crime drama with a comparatively small (but much denser) city and little by way of sandbox freedom. The Red Dead Redemption series has made everybody comfortable with Rockstar’s more serious side. When GTA 4 launched, though, it felt like a sharp deviation from Grand Theft Auto as a whole.

That’s why its reputation struggled for a while. It’s also why GTA 4 is the best Grand Theft Auto game of all time. It is darker, bleaker, and more contained than San Andreas or 5, but all of that is to its benefit. Liberty City remains the most atmospheric and evocative location Rockstar has ever built, and in Niko Bellic you have the prototype for John Marston and Arthur Morgan, a repentant but ultimately doomed antihero who can never wash off the sins of his past.

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The GTA 6 release date will mark a new chapter in Rockstar’s ongoing crime saga, and also a return to Vice City. But if you’ve never played GTA 4, or you want another go around with the main game, as well as the two equally strong expansions, The Lost and the Damned and The Ballad of Gay Tony, the comprehensive Complete Edition is now on sale. Until Monday May 27, you can get Grand Theft Auto 4: The Complete Edition for £5.09/$5.99 on Steam. Just head right here.

Alternatively, if you’re still soaking up the sun in Los Santos, get the best GTA 5 mods, refreshed and revised for 2024. You can also learn everything there is to know about Grand Theft Auto 6 via our very own GTA DB, which covers cars, characters, locations, and development details.

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