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YMMV / Grand Theft Auto

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For specific games:

For the series in general:

  • Acceptable Religious Targets:
  • Alternative Character Interpretation: It's surprisingly easy to interpret the GTA protagonists as vigilantes. When you think about it, most of their victims are criminals, serial killers, gang-bangers, mobsters, drug traffickers, corrupt officials, or terrorists. For all their evil actions, they do far more damage to the criminal underworld than the police ever did. IF the player only kills police officers during missions, then most of those officers will be corrupt too.
  • Anti-Climax Boss: Most of the bosses are very easy in comparison to the hordes of mooks you fight to get to them. Justified in that, while they may be criminal masterminds, they are still human.
  • Author's Saving Throw: While the game still needs work, the first patches to the Definite Edition show there's an actual effort to fix the game's numerous issues, with 1.03 in particular addressing some of the more obvious problems - such as the infamous typos and the heavily mocked rain effects, which were altered to be less obnoxious to the eyes and to not happen underwater or indoors anymore.
  • Broken Base:
    • Following GTA IV, the fanbase split into two directions — those who missed the more over-the-top style and player customization of the prior games (particularly San Andreas), and those who preferred the Darker and Edgier, more story-driven tone of IV. The Saints Row games briefly healed the fracture by causing some of the former group to gravitate to that series, but it split open wider than ever after GTA V came out and seemed to return to the style of San Andreas, causing an outcry from fans of IV.
    • There was also a brief split after it was announced that the protagonist of San Andreas would be a black gang banger from South Central, with many claiming that Rockstar was trying to pander to the tastes of pasty suburban white boys. However, that rift healed pretty quickly after San Andreas was released and the "ghetto" sections turned out to be some of the best parts of the game.
    • Hoo boy, where to begin with the Definitive Edition Compilation Rerelease of III, Vice City, and San Andreas... Opinions were divided when the first trailer was released, thanks to the more cartoony aesthetic Rockstar decided to use with these new versions of the sixth generation trilogy. Things had only gotten more heated with the collection's final release. While some of the QOL improvements have been well received (such as the improved shooting mechanics and implementation of a GPS system in all three games), the compilation has garnered Warcraft III: Reforged levels of complaints! Ranging from glitches that weren't present in the originals to the graphics being seen as an artistic downgrade. The PC version, especially, was such a buggy mess that Rockstar had to pull it from their online distribution service just to make it more playable, and eventually start reselling the original PC ports again.note 
  • Catharsis Factor: Running down pedestrians and blowing stuff up can be very therapeutic.
  • Complete Monster: Donald Love & Avon Hertz. See those pages for details.
  • Crosses the Line Twice: The series' bread and butter since day one - running over pedestrians is one of the least notable examples here. Yes, seriously.
    • When the game start to introduce actual lore and in-game media to create the feeling of a living world, most of it just screams "life is pain, get over it".
  • Epileptic Trees: Many of the explanations that some fans have given in order to support the idea that IV and Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars are set within the same canon as the previous games, rather than an Alternate Continuity. Among them is the claim that there are actually two Liberty Cities, the one from III and the one from IV, explaining away the vast differences between the two depictions of the city. The fact that these cities and their inhabitants do not seem to have ever heard of each other, in spite of the fact that both are large cities located on the East Coast, and even when places like Vice City and San Andreas are frequently mentioned on radio and TV, doesn't occur to them.
  • Fandom Rivalry: With Saints Row.
  • Fanon: It was the fans who named Claude, and it turned to Ascended Fanon.
    • Fans prefer the Revenge ending of IV canon.
    • Even though Word of God says the GTA1/GTA2 era, III era and the IV are three different universes, fans still apply characters from both in Fanfiction. Most intriguing are 1/2 and III eras which overlap often.
  • Friendly Fandoms: with the Guitar Hero fanbase, due to sharing some of the songs.
  • Goddamned Bats: Not literally, but Taxis and Police cars apply. The former can occupy the whole road at times (especially annoying during races). While tiny scratches on Police cars can make them onto your ass immediately.
    • Regular civilians also count since they have the tendency to hog the road, spawn in front of you while driving, jump into your incoming vehicle and make abrupt turns. Any one of these acts can jeopardize your current mission and they will do any of these acts randomly at any given moment.
    • Civilians on foot are not too smart in avoiding your car since they tend to dive into your path instead of away from it. At most, this is just a minor hiccup in your driving but at worst, this can happen when a cop is nearby and he'll chase you down because of the accident.
  • Growing the Beard: Going to 3D with GTA III
  • Magnificent Bastard: Mike Toreno, The United Liberty Paper Contact and Lester Crest. See those game's pages for details.
  • Memetic Badass: The invincible trees. They are indeed invincible, but their reputation is hilariously exaggerated both in-fandom and out.
  • Memetic Mutation: "Realistic steak" is this at the GTA Forums, as a parody of both the increasing trend towards realism taken by the series and the demand by some fans that it go even further in that direction.
    • Ultracop. Due to a glitch in the game, some cops can simply teleport to your door and arrest you instantly. It has happened plenty of times in GTA 3 and VC, and he has also been spotted in GTA V.
    • Definitive Rain, due to the rain effects in the definitive edition looking less like a rainwater and more like raining white laser beams. The rain would later be fixed in an update.
  • Mexicans Love Speedy Gonzales: The original game was made by a Scottish studio, and the series is meant to be America from foreign eyes (which seems to be a Wretched Hive of a Crapsack World, if this series is any indication). That said, a good majority of fans of the series are American.
  • Narm: The excessive swearing present from San Andreas onwards sometimes makes the writing sound like it's trying to be edgy just for the sake of it — especially since Rockstar has a pretty good track record of writing dialogue that doesn't rely on constant swearing.
  • Never Live It Down: To Moral Guardians, it's the game where you kill hookers.
  • Older Than They Think: GTA (the first one) was not the first open-world game. Zelda, for example, predated it by well over a decade, and there are probably some text games that are even older. Hell, GTA III is not even the first 3D open-world game; that honor goes to Body Harvest, a game that came out on the Nintendo 64 three years prior, and was in fact made by the same studio that made all the GTA games. One may argue that it was the first 3D open-world crime game, but once again, Driver, a game that came out in 1999 on PlayStation, beat it to the punch.

    Similarly, people mistakenly thinking that the series began with GTA III, despite the rather obvious presence of the number three in the title.
  • Porting Disaster: Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy - The Definitive Edition, an Updated Re-release compilation of III, Vice City, and San Andreas, quickly became one of the most infamous examples of this upon its release in 2021. Common complaints included the questionable artstyle change, numerous bugs and glitches being found across all three games that weren't present in previous releases, poor optimization across all consoles, even on the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X|S, lots of cut songs, and frequent crashing. All of this was made even worse by the fact that, in a move similar to Warcraft III: Reforged, Rockstar had removed all previous versions of the three games from all platforms' storefronts, meaning that The Definitive Edition was the only legal way to play the PS2-era Grand Theft Auto games unless you already own them on the original consoles or prior to their storefront removal, such as Steam. In mere days after its release, the game ended up being frequently compared to the aforementioned Warcraft III: Reforged, the Silent Hill HD Collection, Sonic Colors Ultimate, and Cyberpunk 2077, and was the subject of so much vitriol and refund requests that Rockstar temporarily delisted the collection on PC. For details on the exact issues, Digital Foundry did a two part review on the game(s) initial state(s), and a video compilation of the game's bugs and glitches was uploaded a few days after the game's release. Said video is an hour long.
    • In particular, the style of the graphics seems to be an attempt at being HD versions of the original games' graphics but given some stylization. Good in theory, but in practice it ends up crashing headlong into the Uncanny Valley with a side of Special Effect Failure.
    • Rockstar did eventually start selling the original PC ports of the games again, but only via their own storefront, and they're all bundled together. However, owners of the Definitive Edition on PC do get the original trilogy for free.
    • Some thought that the whole "Definitive Edition" is that bad and heavily rushed because Rockstar (or Take-Two) need an Ashcan Copy to uphold their intellectual property against modders.
  • Rated M for Money: To keep it brief, GTA is one of the most infamous video game franchises in the world because of its mature content; but its fifth main installment nevertheless managed to become the single fastest selling entertainment product in history.
  • Sequel Displacement: Many people only know that III was a sequel by virtue of the big Roman numeral III in the title.
  • Sidetracked by the Gold Saucer: Many of the minigames have this effect.
  • Signature Song: "Grand Theft Auto" from the first game's hip-hop radio, N-CT FM, although it's not the Title Theme Tune, despite featuring a Title Drop. It is also confused with the instrumental main menu theme, "Gangster Friday". The hook from "Grand Theft Auto" is used as a ringtone in GTA III, Vice City and GTA IV.
  • Song Association: The games are very well-known for their soundtracks, particularly Vice City. Also, it's tough to listen to Lazlow's radio show without thinking of his work with the series.
    • Funny thing is, you can avert this trope in the PC games, which install a folder in your documents folder (where usually your saved games go), in which you can stuff as many MP3 as you want and/or recycle its content ever so often.
  • Spiritual Adaptation: Many games in the series are this for various popular crime dramas.
  • Surprisingly Improved Sequel: III. The games before this were rather mediocre action titles that were only distinguished by their open worlds and controversial content.
  • Tainted by the Preview: Those who wanted to see a more photorealistic depiction of the 3D Era's characters were disappointed when the Definitive Edition reveal showed that the new character models were more cartoony than realistic, comparing them to Fortnite or The Sims 4.
  • That One Level: As good as the games are, each one has quite a few missions that are so frustratingly hard that they're sure to make you want to hurl the controller through the nearest window.
  • That One Sidequest: Paramedic missions. Completely optional, but doing them gives the player character a permanent health boost. You can't repair the ambulance at all during the mission, the slightest nudge can kill the people you're trying to save, and (until Vice City Stories) you can't save your progress — if you mess up on the last level, you have to start from the beginning! However, each completed Paramedic mission does restore the health of the Ambulance to some extent, making life a little easier.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not for Kids?: Despite the series' reputation, it has a substantial number of fans who got into the series at a young age.