The 10 best Grand Theft Auto missions
For every time the Grand Theft Auto series provides thrill, action and high-octane set pieces, there are just as many missions which sees the series take itself not so seriously. We’ve handily compiled this list using the best of both, analysing bank robberies, tech start-up infiltrations and vehicle chases to deliver the top 10 GTA missions of all time. With so many Grand Theft Auto games in the bag there are plenty to choose from, but these are the few that earn a rare five star rating!
The Paleto Score (GTA V)
We’ll kick off this list much in the same way the fantastic GTA V did, with a bang. As a mission, ‘The Paleto Score’ successfully set the template for the fruitful and bombastic story to come, tasking our three central heroes to pull off a small-town bank heist which soon goes awry. Michael and Trevor are suitably armed to the teeth, sporting heavy duty combat gear and some very effective mini guns, resulting in one of the most memorable fire-fights and escape sequences with you needing to switch between all three characters to succeed. Whether in first person or third, this heist is intense as well as thrilling.
The Job (GTA Vice City)
“Look, it’s easy. Haven’t you ever seen a movie? We walk into the bank, we wave a gun around and leave very rich men.” What could have been famous last words for Scarface-like Tommy Verceti ended up resulting in one of the best missions Vice City had to offer in the form of an old-fashioned heist. Shortly after buying the Malibu club, your authority is put to the test when recruiting a team to carry out the kind of robbery that would make anyone familiar with PayDay blush. A vault, a SWAT team and a getaway, what more could you want in this movie inspired action bank robbery?
Dropping In (The Ballad of Gay Tony)
GTA IV’s The Ballad of Gay Tony is an expansion that is by no means short on fun characters, set-pieces and stand-out moments, yet as far as over the top badassery goes, ‘Dropping in’ has got you covered. Tasked with killing the owner of Liberty City’s famous hockey team, as Luis you scale one of the area’s tallest sky scrapers to catch him off guard. One shot to the head sees your target tumble from a 20 story building as you eventually escape by parachuting James Bond-style into a nearby flatbed truck – Very convenient!
Three Leaf Clover (GTA IV)
I promise that the majority of this list won’t solely be centred around bank robberies, but hey there’s bound to be a few in pretty much every series entry. ‘Three leaf clover’ has successfully earned its place as one of GTA IV’s best missions, seeing you infiltrate the heavily-fortified Bank of Liberty and covering your team mates Derrick and Packie as you attempt to storm the vault. As Niko Bellick you were not only earning your right to achieve the American dream, but ripping it from the hands of greedy statesmen. ‘Three leaf clover’ quite clearly laid the foundation for GTA V’s ever popular Heists.
Keep Your Friends Close (GTA Vice City)
As the very last mission of the brilliant Vice City, ‘Keep your friends close’ saw you reach the very top of the crime boss food chain, achieving enough power to finally take on previous ally Lance Vance. Eventually fuelling your blood-lust by chasing Lance to a mansion roof top, it’s a final stand-off that feels ever so satisfying and makes the 20+ hours leading up to this point all the more worth it. Vice City is at heart a rags to riches crime story and ‘Keep your friends close’ capped off the journey spectacularly.
Friend Request (GTA V)
A perfect example of how GTA V didn’t quite take itself too seriously despite telling a relatively believable tale of revenge and betrayal, ‘Friend Request’ was a side-splitting mission that parodied the world of social media and the culture that surrounds it. This time as Michael, your objective is to simply wipe the data from a media employee’s PC, unknowing of your involvement in setting up an explosive device. A mission which mocks everything about Facebook, Twitter as well as their figureheads, ‘Friend Request’ was unexpected and all the funnier for it.
Black Project (GTA San Andreas)
Ah San Andreas, so memorable, so expansive and so ludicrously crazy if you knew the precise place to look. Upon release it was all too tempting to invade the map’s mysterious parody of Sci-fi base Area 51, so imagine our surprise when there was actually a mission that required it – awesome! ‘Black Project’ is ridiculous, over the top and a completely bonkers sci-fi spoof that reminded us why we love these playground worlds so much.
Stowaway (GTA San Andreas)
Probably the most cinematic featured in Rockstar’s much-celebrated GTA San Andreas, ‘Stowaway’ was obviously very inspired by the likes of Speed, Con Air and pretty much every mid-90’s action-spectacular, requiring CJ to ride a motorcycle onto the back of a taking-off airplane. It isn’t too long before you’re avoiding enemy fire in order to reach the cockpit, planting a bomb and then parachuting to a safe area – what a rush, CJ must have his 5 a day!
Publicity Tour (GTA Vice City)
Speaking of GTA missions inspired by the movie Speed (it’s almost like we planned it), ‘Publicity tour’ worked as a nice spoof to the Keanu Reeves film by swapping out the bus for a limo and innocent people for 80’s rockers. Although a simple enough concept, ‘publicity tour’ required a decent amount of scale to keep your gas on the pedal whilst avoiding the many upcoming vehicles and relying on musicians instead of trained bomb-disposal professionals.
Father/Son (GTA V)
Looking back at GTA V, the only one annoying aspect was that when playing as Michael you were constantly forced to look after your intolerable son. I guess this is the kind of effect Rockstar wanted to achieve, and to their credit they succeeded. ‘Father/Son’ is one of the early stand-out missions in GTA V’s sprawling campaign, thrusting you in the middle of a high-speed car chase in an attempt to rescue your son Jimmy – we wish we didn’t have to!