GTA 3, Vice City, and San Andreas have had a major presence in the games industry for two decades at this point, and millions upon millions of players have experienced these classics in some form or another over the years. With the new remasters, many are going to be diving into the open world trio once more, while there will also be plenty of players that are (relatively) new to the franchise who’ll be experiencing them for the first time. As such, as you get ready to play the remasters, here, we’ll be going over a few basic pointers that you should keep in mind, especially if this is your first time playing these games.
Using cheat codes has been (and will continue to be) an important part of the GTA experience, and at some point or another, you should definitely try them out- because they genuinely do open up the open world sandbox aspect of the three games in major ways. It is worth keeping in mind that you won’t be able to earn any Trophies or Achievements once you have activated even a single cheat, so make sure you create a duplicate save before you do that.
GTA3, Vice City, and San Andreas can push back against players with challenging firefights in a way that later games in the series don’t do all that often, which means that more often than not, in combat, you’ll need every advantage you can get. Armour is one of the big ones that you should try and have on you at all times to get you that extra protection against damage, so whether you’re buying new armour or simply finding it in the open world, it’s important to have it equipped at all time (or as close to that as you can get). In Vice City, the top floor of the Ocean Beach Parking Garage has a body armour set that keeps respawning, so that’s one area that you can head to frequently to get free armour.
As you’d expect from any open world game, the three GTAs in question here each have a number of Hidden Packages scattered throughout their maps, and while they are completely optional, it’s a good idea to keep an eye out for them. They count towards 100% completion, of course, but even if you don’t care about that, they also provide material gameplay advantages every so often in the form of permanent unlocks for body armour, different kinds of weapons, and more.
SIDE MISSIONS (GTA 3)
There’s no shortage of optional side jobs to tackle in GTA3, and while many players will be tempted to just ignore them and stick to the main story, these side missions tend to have excellent rewards. Paramedic missions, for instance, have three tiers of rewards as you make progress in that line of jobs, including health pickups at all safehouses, adrenaline pickups at all safehouses, and, if you complete the whole set, infinite sprint. Meanwhile, do 20 Firefghter jobs, and you unlock a flamethrower at each of your Safehouses.
SIDE MISSIONS (VICE CITY)
Vice City, too, has its own set of side missions for players to tackle that hold useful rewards. The ones you’ll want to focus on first and foremost are Vigilante missions and pizza delivery missions. Finishing a level 12 Vigilante mission increases your max health, while finishing a level 10 pizza delivery mission will increase your max armour- both of which are valuable upgrades, as you might imagine.
SIDE MISSIONS (SAN ANDREAS)
And what about San Andreas? Unlike the other two games, San Andreas offers players plenty of ways to customize your play style and upgrade skills and attributes, but of course, you do still get valuable rewards for doing side missions, like increasing your max health for doing Paramedic missions. Firefighter missions are particularly useful, because once you hit level 12 in that particular questline, you become immune to fire damage.
SPRINT (GTA 3)
Grand Theft Auto 3 is a very simplistic game, from a mechanics perspective, especially when compared to something like San Andreas, but it does have systems working behind the scenes that give it more depth than you’d expect. Sprinting, for instance, is something that you can actually upgrade. While there are no visible upgrades or a meter for you to keep an eye on, the more you sprint in GTA3, the more you build your endurance, allowing you to sprint longer. So our advice? Keep on sprinting.
SPRINT (SAN ANDREAS)
Things in San Andreas are much deeper mechanically where CJ’s individual attributes and stats are concerned. For instance, burglary missions open up early on in the game, and completing them actually yields crucial rewards- infinite stamina, to be precise. This allows you to spring, swim, and bicycle at high speeds endlessly, all of which can be incredibly useful.
CJ’S STATS (SAN ANDREAS)
San Andreas has in-depth RPG mechanics that are missing from Vice City and GTA3 (which is one of the things that makes this game the best of the three for so many people), and while none of CJ’s body stats are crucial to making progress for the most part, they do have a noticeable impact on gameplay. Everything from your health to your stamina is affected by these stats, so our advice is to not ignore those.
KATIE ZHAN (SAN ANDREAS)
Every time you die in a GTA game, you respawn at a hospital- but you lose some money and all of your weapons. In San Andreas, there’s a way to get around that. Head to Avispa Country Club and find an NPC named Katie Zhan. Ensure your body stats are high enough, and if they are, you can befriend her- which unlocks crucial perks, like making all hospital visits free and letting you keep all of your weapons each time you die.
UZI (VICE CITY)
There are several ways to get your hands on weapons in every GTA game. Many useful ones are often lying around, and while the best of the best are generally harder to find, some of the ones just lying out and about can actually be pretty useful. In Vice City, for instance, there’s an Uzi behind the Pay ‘n Spray at Ocean Beach. Seeing as that’s close to where the game begins and in an area that’s accessible right off the bat, it’s a good idea to pick the weapon up and add it to your arsenal first chance you get.
MICRO SMG (SAN ANDREAS)
San Andreas, too, has plenty of weapons just lying around in the open world for players to find, and while getting to some of them can be a little challenging, there are others that you can just walk up to an pick up. For instance, under the bridge behind CJ’s house, you can find a Micro SMG, which is a solid weapon to have in your arsenal, especially in the early hours of the game.
SHOOTING RANGE (VICE CITY)
While not nearly as robust in its upgrade mechanics as San Andreas, Vice City does allow players to improve their attributes in some ways. For instance, heading to the shooting range in Ammu-Nation stores can be pretty useful. Get 30 points in the shooting range for a $500 reward, but get 45 or more, and you permanently increase your reload speed, which can be a pretty nifty upgrade.
WEAPON SKILL (SAN ANDREAS)
Improving your performance with weapons in San Andreas is much more nuanced than in its predecessors. CJ has a proficiency skill with each weapon in the game, which increases across three tiers the more you use that weapon. One easy way to cheese that and get quick upgrades is to park a car in your garage and shoot at it, then let the garage door close right before the vehicle is about to get destroyed, then keep shooting at the fully repaired vehicle again- and rinse and repeat.
MALIBU CLUB (VICE CITY)
The Malibu Club in Vice City is one of the most expensive properties you can buy in that game, but it’s a goal you should keep working toward because of how useful the rewards from it are. For starters, you collect $10,000 from it in revenue every day, which is a huge amount. Crucially, after purchasing the Malibu Club, you also eventually get access to Phil’s gun store, where you can purchase the best weapons in the entire game, from a machine gun to a rocket launcher.