In addition to GTA, the company has designed great video games, which we collect in this Top-10 chosen by the editors and collaborators of FreeGameTips.
Grand Theft Auto V has been one of the best-selling video games in history, but Rockstar Games, also responsible for titles like Red Dead Redemption 2 or Bully (Canis Canem Edit), were not always a company with hundreds and hundreds of employees. Before joining Take Two-Interactive, its current parent company, DMA Design Limited was a humble studio based in Edinburgh. Founded by David Jones, they designed games like Menace, Shadow of the Beast or Lemmings, but their most resounding success from that initial stage was a consequence of the first GTA.
Rockstar Games was founded by brothers Dan and Sam Houser, who acquired DMA Design Limited and brought it into the Take-Two Interactive business structure. Since then, the name of the studio has changed to Rockstar North, the European branch of the North American company. Grand Theft Auto products managed to capture the attention of gamers and the media. In fact, DMA Design Limited seized on the services of publicist Max Clifford, who was in charge of stirring up the hornet’s nest to attract politicians. In this way, they managed to get their video games talked about, even if they did not always end in good words.
The first GTA.
Perhaps one of the most important steps taken by Rockstar Games was when they published Grand Theft Auto III, already with Dan Houser as one of the writers. They went from a two-dimensional video game with an overhead view to a completely 3D world, which served as the basis to cement the following chapters of the saga: Vice City, San Andreas GTA IV, GTA V … there are many titles that have triumphed and have been earned the laurels of success; Nor can we forget GTA Online, a product that has extended the commercial journey of the fifth installment of the saga.
But it’s not all about GTA. During this time, the company has produced and developed many different titles. Red Dead Redemption, Manhunt, Bully, L.A. Noire, The Warriors, Table Tennis or Max Payne 3 are just some of the products that have gone on sale throughout the different generations of consoles. Decades after those beginnings, one of the Houser brothers is no longer with the company. In early 2020, Take-Two Interactive announced Dan Houser’s goodbye, but did not confirm the specific reasons for the decision. “Rockstar Games has developed some of the most critically acclaimed and commercially successful games in the world; a global community of passionate fans and an incredibly talented team that continues to focus on current and future projects, ”they said in the press release.
The FreeGameTips team has chosen the best Rockstar Games games, a varied catalog with recognizable names, but also with some surprises.
10. Manhunt (PS2, Xbox and PC)
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Controversy has always surrounded Rockstar Games, especially because of the theme that some of their video games touch. In the past, he was accused of everything there was and for having, although in the cinema there were films much more violent than his playable proposals. In the 1990s and during the first years of the new millennium, video games were always in the pillory and on the pages of tabloids and magazines. With that history, it is not surprising that proposals like GTA or Bully were direct targets of criticism. To no one’s surprise, a product like Manhunt couldn’t come out of it unscathed. As soon as he was released on the market, a gruesome murder placed him in the forefront of the news. The Daily Mail called it “The PlayStation Murder” and reported that a 17-year-old had murdered another under 14 in Leicester because of the negative influence of the title. “I heard some of Warren’s friends say that he was obsessed with this game. If he was obsessed, this could explain his clouding, “said the mother of the victim.
The truth is that Manhunt does nothing that has not been explored in other cultural media. The story puts us in the shoes of James Earl Cash, a convict sentenced to death by lethal injection. However, before the execution is carried out, the criminal awakens from his unconsciousness, but he is not alone. Starweather’s voice echoes through the headphones, a mysterious character who forces him to follow his instructions.
As if it were a movie, the man gives him instructions, he is the protagonist of the next production snuff of the production company Starweather. Of course, nothing I do will be a performance, but a reality. From that moment on he must use violence, kill and fight against all kinds of enemies to carry out the orders of the director of the film. Do you want to survive? Try it.
9. GTA IV (PS3, Xbox 360 and PC)
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The generation jump to high definition was accompanied by a new Grand Theft Auto, a saga that in 2008 continued to enjoy enormous popularity among players. With its move to three dimensions, already consolidated since the time of PlayStation 2, Rockstar Games continued to exploit its goose that lays the golden eggs. And no, not with the negative connotations that that expression sometimes carries, since the quality of the successive deliveries had remained at the highest level, not to mention the volume of sales. Peter Moore, then the head of the Xbox division, surprised players with a tattoo (decal) from GTA IV, a very curious way of announcing that the next installment of the license was not going to be a PlayStation 3 exclusive.
The open world of GTA IV continued to shape the playable proposal for Grand Theft Auto, which was further developed in the fifth installment of the saga. In terms of sales, Rockstar managed to sell a not inconsiderable figure of 25 million units, and it did so through a product that offered dozens of hours of gameplay, which were expanded thanks to its two expansions, The Lost and Damned and The Ballad of Gay Tony. This last content is considered by many even better than the main product.
The plot of the game takes place, as always, in a fictional location in the United States, in Liberty City (inspired by New York, of course). Niko Bellic is the protagonist of the adventure, a man who seeks his place in the world, but ends up falling into a world of crime sustained by several criminal gangs. Niko will be at the epicenter of the war between the different factions and will have to get out of all kinds of situations.
8. Midnight Club 3: DUB Edition (PS2, Xbox, PSP)
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Burnout, Need For Speed, Street Racing Syndicate … there are many street racing video games that flourished during the Xbox, PS2 and GameCube generation, a genre that lived its moment of glory at that time, although some of the sagas still survive in the present, with better or worse luck. However, a license that has not returned in Midnight Club, whose third installment has deserved to be among the most voted games by the writing of FreeGameTips. Developed by Rockstar San Diego, this production invites us to travel the streets of this city (and many others) in fast car races. With more than ninety licensed tracks, the North American developer’s commitment is focused on tuning, without forgetting its arcade style and the challenges we find in the city. As a result of the alliance between Rockstar Games and DUB magazine, this Midnight Club 3: DUB Edition was born, which includes many references to this publication.
The game has its plot side, focused on introducing the pilots against whom we must compete. San Diego, Atlanta and Detroit are our main destinations, although the title received an improved version some time later, the DUB Edition Remix, which added a score of new vehicles, as well as one of the cities present in Midnight Club 2. In this way, Players have the opportunity to explore Tokyo and all its ins and outs. The multiplayer and the five available game modes are an incentive to continue driving recklessly through the cities. But remember to do it only in the video game.
7. Max Payne 3 (PS3, Xbox 360, PC)
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Remedy Entertainment is the Finnish studio that created the character of Max Payne and was in charge of the first two installments of the saga. Those also responsible for Alan Wake, Quantum Break and Control did not participate in Max Payne 3, which was in the hands of Rockstar Vancouver. Sam Lake, writer of the classics, did not repeat in the closing of the trilogy, since he continued his way with Remedy in other projects. In its place the name of Dan Houser, closely linked to the GTA saga, appeared as the main screenwriter, although this new version of Max was also sketched by Michael Unsworth and Rupert Humphries. The result is a violent and frenetic third-person action video game, a show that pits the protagonist against countless enemies during the 12-14 hour adventure.
The first thing that catches your eye is Max’s appearance, much more lanky and shabby than in the first two games. The point is that the weight of the past falls on his tormented shoulders. His character has turned sour after so much suffering, which leads him to maintain a pessimistic and melancholic attitude, to the point that he succumbs to the influence of alcohol. However, in a life without rest like that of Max Payne there is no room for falling into the abyss. Bald and smaller-looking, the character is now the escort of a powerful family in Brazil. Things get complicated when some criminals manage to kidnap the wife of one of these personalities. From that moment on, Max gets down to business and enters a sordid world of crime and death. Twists, flashbacks and other narrative devices weave a storyline that captivates players.
The gameplay is full of action elements. Stunts and third-person shooter mechanics are some of its hallmarks, but Bullet Time is its core system. Altogether, Max Payne 3 is an action experience that should not be missed.
6. L.A. Noire (PS3, Xbox One, PC)
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Jazz, crime and detectives. That’s the L.A. formula. Noire, a video game developed by Team Bondi and published by Rockstar Games in 2011. The title was not designed directly by the company’s internal studios, but they do own the intellectual property. In fact, Team Bondi no longer exists, as the team led by Brendan McNamara closed its doors after numerous problems with its employees and with Rockstar itself. His next project, La Puta de Oriente, was sentenced to death in 2012 when Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment decided to withdraw its support for McNamara, leading to the firing of workers and the subsequent dissolution of the studio.
THE. Noire was presented at the time as a revolution. MotionScan technology applied to the video game was used as a tool to capture the expressions of the characters. And the protagonist is a seasoned detective, so he must master the secrets of the human psyche, which are sometimes reflected in facial features. In a somewhat unsuccessful way, the players had to discover whether the witnesses or suspects were lying when giving their testimony. In practice, the mechanics did not quite work well, since the expressions were not exactly an open book.
We are not facing a sandbox like GTA. Perhaps at that point, the expectations of some users collided head-on. Yes, it has action and shootouts; yes, you drive a car. But neither of these two elements stands out above what defines this title, which are its phases of investigation, the search for clues and the interrogations.
Cole Phelps is a former Marine who served in the United States Army during World War II. At the end of the conflict, in the 1940s, he began to work as an agent for the Los Angeles Police Department, where he solved various criminal cases. The game was recently remastered on PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC. In addition, a mode for virtual reality was also designed.
5. Red Dead Redemption (PS3, Xbox 360)
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Red Dead Revolver is not as well known or as successful a video game as the other Rockstar Games titles set in the Wild West, but it is clearly the first brick of the building. The western setting is not the most common in the video game world either, so Red Dead Redemption immediately caught the attention of the players. After all, Rockstar San Diego captured the essence of Western movies in a GTA-style open world video game, to define it somehow.
In an article published by GameSpot it was clear that the development had not been a bed of roses. “East [Red Dead Redemption] it’s a recurring nightmare, ”wrote Sam Houser in an internal email. “But one that we need to get out of. I have problems with the camera all over the place, so much so that I cannot be rational or specific about it. Darkness!”. This content came to light as a result of legal disputes that Leslie Benzie, former President of Rockstar Games, filed against Take-Two Interactive and Rockstar Games. According to his legal department, Benzie was essential in unlocking a difficult development, always according to this source.
Red Dead Redemption begins with its protagonist, John Marston, heading to an old fort in Armadillo, where the outlaws of Bill Williamson’s gang are entrenched. The Federal Bureau of Investigation has blackmailed him into doing this job. However, Marston’s attempt ends in disaster, as he is seriously injured in the shooting that follows. He will be rescued and can live another day to claim vengeance.
4. GTA: Vice City (PS2, Xbox, PC)
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GTA III was the first game of the saga in 3D, a first step, the beginning of a new path for the brand. Just over a year later, Rockstar North and Rockstar Vienna already had the first sequel ready, GTA: Vice City, a title that had the challenge of improving a product that had made a deep impression among gamers. And what if they succeeded! Not only were the missions more in-depth, but bystanders reacted more realistically to the character’s actions. The combat system, meanwhile, clung to the same fundamentals as its predecessor, but introducing novelties to avoid blind spots during shootings.
In terms of customization, it was the first on the license to allow the protagonist to change clothes. As if that were not enough, although it was not possible to swim yet, an effort was made to expand the number and type of vehicles. Controlling helicopters is very normal for us today, but it was GTA: Vice City the video game that released this possibility.
The 70s have already passed, we are in the psychedelic 80s. Tommy Vercetti, who had worked in the past for the Forelli family, was locked up for several years in jail. It happened because the family patriarch ordered him to murder a man, but the criminal was cornered in an ambush in which almost a dozen enemies appeared. Forced to shoot for his life, he will end up in detention and captivity. 15 years later he returns to work for Sonny Forelli, head of the family.
3. Red Dead Redemption 2 (PS4, Xbox One, PC and Google Stadia)
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Rockstar Games is not the type of studio that releases video games every year. His big projects are usually in development for many years, something that also happened with Red Dead Redemption 2, a production with an extreme fixation on detail. In the case of this work, it took 7 long years to complete the creative process. It is not surprising, therefore, that crunch practices came to light, as the journalist Jason Schreier denounced at the time. Fortunately, the company has taken action on the matter, as confirmed by Kotaku itself later, so conditions have improved compared to the past. Be that as it may, there is no doubt that this is one of the developer’s most outstanding works, a game that recreates the life of the Wild West like no other.
United States, early 20th century. The old world is crumbling. North American society begins the path towards its transformation as a power, so the years of the Wild West are about to come to an end. That is why the authorities no longer turn a blind eye to bandits and gunmen: crimes are paid for by hanging. In this prequel to the original Red Dead Redemption, Arthur Morgan’s gang tries to rob a bank to walk away with a loot of money and wealth. However, the blow does not go as planned and they are forced to flee that begins the adventure. Endowed with an open world full of details, the Rockstar Games title became one of the video games of the year.
To the excellent main adventure, which introduces characters full of life, is added its online aspect, which is still active today. Anyone who purchases Red Dead Redemption 2 on any of the platforms has immediate access to Red Dead Online. Despite complaints about the lack of major updates in recent months, Rockstar Games continues to support the game with weekly updates.
Ultimately, the story of Arthur Morgan is everything a follower of western films can hope for. It is a slow development title, with a third person gameplay that includes action, survival and much more. In addition, all this is peppered by excellence in its technical section. A memorable game.
2. GTA V (PS3, Xbox 360, PC, Xbox One, PS4)
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The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim has been the butt of all the jokes, not because the quality of the video game is questionable, but because it has been released on multiple different platforms. Bethesda herself even published a video in which the video game worked on household appliances. At this rate, something similar is going to happen with GTA V, which was originally marketed on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, but which already has a version on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and PC. During the PlayStation 5 game presentation event, its arrival to the new generation of consoles was also confirmed. It will be, therefore, in three different generations. For now, yes, no refrigerators or microwaves. Even so, it is not surprising that the product continues to have a commercial path, since we are facing one of the best-selling titles in history, with permission from Minecraft, of course.
One of the reasons why GTA V is still alive and well is its online side, which, as in the case of Red Dead Redemption 2, is included in the main game. Since it started shooting, Rockstar Games has taken care of it with regular content updates, which also include the various expansions.
The single player adventure does not leave anyone indifferent either. Rockstar Games opts for a story that is told through the eyes of three different characters. Franklin Clinton, a 25-year-old boy, is a petty con artist, while Trevor Phillips fits more the profile of a crazy psychopath and drug addict with countless disagreements with the law and the police. Michael de Santa, who closes this particular gang of three, used to rob banks in the past. Now, together, they will dedicate themselves to hitting to move on with their lives.
1. GTA: San Andreas (PS2 and PC)
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He was already the winner of the top-10 that we dedicated to the GTA saga, and how could it be otherwise, he has also managed to win over the editors and collaborators of FreeGameTips for this top. It no longer only competed against other video games in the same series, but it also competed against many of Rockstar Games’ star products. Taking into account that productions like Red Dead Redemption 2, GTA: Vice City or L.A. Noire were in the fray, it is no small feat that he won the coveted first place. After several 3D installments, Grand Theft Auto continued to evolve in San Andreas. No more falling off a bridge and drowning because your character can’t swim.
San Andreas (based in Los Angeles) is the city where the action takes place, a city that is reproduced using almost all the power that the already old PlayStation 2 displayed. The passage of time, as it cannot be otherwise In a way, it has blurred the then surprising graphic section. But that does not erase the infinity of details in the form of passers-by, buildings and variety of scenes. As if that weren’t enough, playably it is one of those games that adequately mixes different genres: sandbox, social simulator, RPG, etc. Altogether, it is an almost round product, with hundreds of tasks and missions to be carried out, not to mention the many customization options.
Carl Johnson left the city of Los Santos five years ago, tired of murder, crime and gang wars. It is the same misfortune that makes him return, since he receives the news that his mother has been murdered. Without friends, without family, the young man is incriminated by a pair of corrupt policemen, for which he himself becomes a fugitive from justice. It is up to him to clear his name and progress in a world full of dangers.
In the top-10 we made of Grand Theft Auto it also managed to be crowned the best game in the series.
Some featured Rockstar Games video games have failed to make it into the top ten, but we think it’s important to mention them in this section. They are titles of the stature of Bully, The Warriors or certain video games of the GTA saga, without leaving out the curious Table Tennis, the ping pong simulator launched on Xbox 360 and Wii U. In order of more to less votes, the five titles remaining are the following:
- The Warriors
- GTA Vice City Stories
- GTA Liberty City Stories
- Table Tennis