Rockstar's Grand Theft Auto series has changed greatly since the franchise first arrived in 1997 as an urban-themed action game with an overhead camera. The first game did well enough to merit a couple of expansion packs and a sequel, but GTA didn't transform into the game people know today until the franchise made its way to the PlayStation 2 with Grand Theft Auto III, which took the 2D game into a 3D world filled with interactive elements. GTAIII immediately dominated what gamers now recognize as the open-ended sandbox gameplay style, which lets players interact and experiment with the people, places, and modes of transportation present in the game's world simulation.
GameSpot decided to compare GTAIII, GTA: Vice City, GTA: San Andreas, and GTAIV for this graphics comparison. All four games have a 3D world and follow the open-ended gameplay now standard in the series. The graphics only improved incrementally over the first three games, which were largely bound by the PlayStation 2's graphics capabilities, but they made a dramatic leap in GTAIV, which uses a new game engine to take advantage of the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360's graphics power. Note that some of the GTAIV shots will appear slightly fuzzy due to the game's postprocessing effects.