There can be a minimal argument that Rockstar Games is the best gaming company in the world. Starting life as Acme Software back in 1984 this small Dundee based company would become DMA Design Limited before releasing the groundbreaking Grand Theft Auto in 1997. From here they were eventually bought by Take-Two Interactive and the behemoth that’s now Rockstar Games was born.
The company as it’s now known has been in existence for 21 years, and over that period, they have continually released fantastic game after fantastic game which gives them a back catalog that’s second to none. No other company can claim that. No other company has a history that is filled with near-perfect games but that does leave the consumer with an interesting dilemma. Just what should you be spending your hard-earned cash on? Well, if you can afford it then you should really rush out and buy all of them but if you’re limited with time and funds then the following list aims to bring you the best of the best.
Best Games Of Rockstar Games
Grand Theft Auto
So let’s start with a couple of obvious choices. First up is Grand Theft Auto. By now everyone knows just what an achievement of gaming brilliance GTA V is, but it shouldn’t be the only GTA game that you have in your collection. If you consider yourself a real fan of the genre, then you do need to have at least played through all the versions, numbered or otherwise. From the top-down madness of the originals, including the often-overlooked GTA London, through the game-changing GTA III and all points in between, GTA is where it all started, and they have improved with every release. Just make sure you have plenty of time spare to go bowling.
Red Dead Redemption
Next up in the stating the obvious bleeding stakes is Red Dead Redemption. Based on their own surprisingly entertaining shooter Red Dead Revolver, when Rockstar released the first RDR no-one expected it to be as amazing as it turned out to be. The heart-wrenching story of John Marston is easily the equal of anything that found its way into the Spaghetti Westerns of the 60s and 70s, but when John finally rode off into the sunset, it seemed that that was all she wrote. Thankfully Rockstar finally gave us what we wanted with even more cowboy goodness in RDR 2 and, as of writing, there isn’t a single-player experience like it anywhere else outside of GTA V.
“Warriors!!! Come out to plaaaaaaaaaaaay!!!” It was released in 1979. The Warriors is one of the best gang movies ever to see the light of day and, in hindsight, should’ve been made into a video game years before it fell into the lap of Rockstar. Thankfully though it didn’t, and in 2005 they gave the world a beat ’em up that more people really should’ve bought. It’s a two-part game that’s set before the fateful meeting the gang attends as well as after and even though the story missions themselves are a liner, there are the usual side missions that allow you to help out the people of Coney Island. You can also use the gang’s headquarters to train your crew, so you’re ready for the battles ahead.
Proving that they can turn their hand to any genre they care to, between 2000 and 2008 Rockstar released five versions of Midnight Club. Starting as a simple arcade racer by the time it had reached the third iteration it had developed into an open world high octane thrash across four different cities though it should be known that Tokyo is only available if you own the Dub Edition Remix. It’s been 11 years since the last time Midnight Club raised its head on console or handheld due to Rockstar pretty much focusing on its heavy hitters, but there is nothing to say that it won’t rise like Lazarus over the next few years.
Rockstar Games Presents Table Tennis
Yup, you read that right, the company that is known for the best-scripted crime sagas this side of The Godfather once released a game about the sport of table tennis back in 2006 for the Wii and Xbox 360. Rumored to have started life as a tech demo that was so much fun that those involved decided to let everyone else have a play, Rockstar Games Presents Table Tennis is easy to pick up but devilish to master and it features just two modes in Exhibition and Tournament. This means you can play against your friends or try your hand against some of the best players Rockstar has to offer. Just don’t be too shocked when you get your ass handed to you until you get to grips with all the sports nuances.
Even to this day, L.A Noire is one of the best looking games you can play. This is down to Rockstar’s use of MotionScan technology which perfectly captures the facial features and movements of the actors involved, which in turn plays a big part in each interrogation that you perform as Cole Phelps. It’s also a criminally underrated game that has the usual Rockstar greatness when it comes to its plot, based as it is around the Black Dahlia Murders. It also allows the player to take on the role of a police officer as he rises through the ranks which is something fans have been crying out for since the original GTA.
One part game and one part sampling studio, Beaterator is Rockstar flexing its muscles in an entirely different genre than people are used to. Released in 2009 for the PlayStation Portable, PS3, and iOS Beaterator allows you to take a load of different jams and samples and mix them however you see fit. Based on their mixing tool that they released on the interweb in 2005 this version sees them team up with Timbaland who provides new tunes, sounds, and loops for the player to mess about with. You can also upload your finished work so others may share in your DJ skills as the kids might say.
First brought to life by the company that eventually became Rockstar Leeds in Mobius Entertainment, the Max Payne franchise is beloved by those who get lost in its noir setting and spend every waking moment wishing they could dive around in slow-motion bullet time. The shame here is that even though the first two games are considered some of the best produced the third part doesn’t get the respect it deserves. With the full strength of Rockstar Studios behind it, Max Payne 3 is a wonderful game to play that is set in a beautifully rendered Brazil. It’s just annoying that most people can’t seem to be able to get over the fact he’s got a shaven head.
Bully, or Canis Canem Edit as it’s known in Europe, was shrouded in controversy from the first moment it was even rumored to exist. With the usual cries of “Won’t somebody think of the children!” people who have nothing better to do with their time than a rant against the evils of video games were up in arms, protesting that it would cause a surge in bullying in schools if the game ever saw the light of day. They were, of course, completely wrong. Missing the point by a country mile Bully is the story of Jimmy Hopkins taking on the hierarchy of the private school he finds himself imprisoned in and winning the day. So, yeah, a working-class boy makes a good tale. No wonder society was so worried.
As history has shown, Rockstar is never afraid to tackle controversy head-on. It seems that with every new game they release it’s a guarantee it’s going to ruffle some feathers somewhere along the line and never has that been more accurate than with Manhunt. When the first one was released, it was blamed for being the cause of the murder of Stefan Pakeerah, even though when Warren Leblanc was tried and convicted of the crime the game was found blameless for his actions. As for the sequel, it had to go through a lot of cuts to even receive certification in some countries where others banned it outright. Which is a shame as both games are brilliant social satires that play like a dream and have a gripping story. So you can thank that schmuck Jack Thompson if you’ve never been lucky enough to play it.