The Grand Theft Auto series has been right at home on the PlayStation. Every major release in the franchise has made its way to the Sony platform, dating all the way back to 1997’s Grand Theft Auto. In the modern era, that partnership has continued onto the PS5, Sony’s most powerful system to date. However, not every game in the series is playable on the console, due to the lack of total backwards compatibility with the PlayStation 3. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of all the Grand Theft Auto games you can play today on PS5!
Grand Theft Auto III
As the series’ first foray into 3D graphics, Grand Theft Auto III set the standard for open-world games for years. It was a huge technological leap, rendering the world of Liberty City in stunning 2001 detail. The game follows voiceless protagonist Claude, as he rises up the criminal underworld to get revenge on his ex-girlfriend Catalina.
What’s perhaps most impressive about Grand Theft Auto III is how the core gameplay loop remains relevant to this day. Modern games in the series still revolve around completing story missions, side tasks, and generally causing mayhem in an open-world parody of an American city. Despite the similarities, the formula never gets stale, and it all began with Grand Theft Auto III.
The game was made available on the PlayStation 4 a few years back, and due to backwards compatibility, it works as usual on the PlayStation 5, too! However, you must have already owned the game prior to 2021, as it was removed from the PlayStation Store alongside the release of Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition.
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City brought the glitz and glamour of 1980s Miami to the series. The game sees you play as Tommy Vercetti, a recently released convict as he falls back into the only life he knows: crime. Set against the backdrop of the vibrant Vice City, it remains one of the most visually interesting games in the series.
In terms of gameplay, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City resembles its predecessor more than its sequel. It was released in 2002, just a year after Grand Theft Auto III. As a result, there wasn’t adequate time to make huge gameplay changes. Instead, the focus was on creating an engaging story, which is why gamers continue to enjoy it even today.
If you purchased Grand Theft Auto: Vice City prior to its 2021 removal from the PlayStation Store, you can still play this classic on PS5.
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
For many, 2004’s Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas represents the absolute pinnacle of the franchise. At the time, it was Rockstar’s biggest open world, telling the story of the Grove Street gang as they rose to prominence in the state of San Andreas. With numerous shocking twists, it was the darkest narrative the series had taken on at that point.
The gameplay was Rockstar finally perfecting the 3D formula, with unprecedented customization across the board. If you went to the gym with CJ, he lost weight. If you ate fast food every day, he’d get fat. All of your actions actually meant something, making the world feel alive. Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas was simply the complete package.
Like the two games before it, you can play the game for PlayStation 5 via PS4 backwards compatibility. Like the others, it was also removed from the PlayStation Store in 2021, so you need to already own it.
Grand Theft Auto V
At this point, the longevity of Grand Theft Auto V is practically an online meme. It’s now been a decade since Rockstar allowed us to roam free in the latest version of Los Santos, with no sign of a sequel. However, playing the game in 2023 remains an absolute blast, and it remains high on worldwide sales lists.
Grand Theft Auto V introduced three protagonists for the first time in the series’ history: Franklin, Michael, and Trevor. Each of these men are criminals at different stages of their life. Circumstance brings them together to complete many high-risk high-reward jobs for a number of shady individuals. It’s one of the most ambitious GTA stories to date, and there’s a reason it has kept players engaged for such a long period of time.
On top of its brilliant story mode, the game came with Grand Theft Auto Online, where you can explore and cause chaos across Los Santos alongside your friends. Perhaps the defining feature of Grand Theft Auto Online is its Heists, which allow you to plan in detail a series of complex holdups. It continues to attract thousands of players daily, and Rockstar has done a great job of ensuring it receives new content, even to this day.
The game saw a native release on PS3, PS4, and PS5, coming each time with a fresh batch of visual upgrades. It may be ten years old, but Grand Theft Auto V remains the King of the open-world game.
Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition
Easily the most controversial release on this list, Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition brings all of III, Vice City, and San Andreas into one package, with updated graphics and controls fit for the 2020s. Sound’s perfect in theory, right?
Wrong. Grove Street Games completed the project, and upon release, it didn’t exactly go to plan. It was an extremely buggy experience, with character models that often ventured into the uncanny valley. To make matters worse, many of the textures had been upscaled using UI, without the end result being checked. Some of the results were odd, to say the least.
Since its release, there’s no doubt the experience has improved, with numerous patches fixing the bigger issues with the game. For many, Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition, will ironically never be the definitive way to experience these games.
This trilogy was only ever released on next-gen platforms, so it runs natively on the PlayStation 5.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©Rockstar.