Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
Review by CC Ricers
"It's even more fun on the PC"
Okay, so my friend bought GTA 3 over a year ago for his computer. My co-worker was raving about it. ''You want it? I can burn you a copy.'' I would've liked to try it out but the GTA series didn't really interest me and I was wondering why all the impact it's getting on the media, positive and negative.
Well, a few months ago I tried out GTA Vice City on my friend's PS2 and thought, wait, it's not so bad. It's actually great! If it's overrated in one respect, it's how violent those politicians made it out to be. I've played shooters and action games far more gory than this.
So while the political guys on top think we videogamers are just drawn by our basest impulses to kill and steal, the real attraction to this game is that there is a lot to do in it, which make it very open-ended.
Graphics - 7/10
First of all, the graphics are great and do the job nicely for this game, but they're nothing to jump about. The characters are blocky as they were in the PS2, but in a computer monitor all the blockiness looks more apparent. And now that the Xbox double-pack is coming out with better graphics, PC users might become jealous at this. Maybe Rockstar would be kind enough to give us a patch? (one can only hope!) But that's my biggest complaint. Everything about the game just captures the tropical, 80's atmosphere from the billboards to the hotels.
Also, my computer is a powerhouse in most respects, but it falters the most in raw graphics power. I have to play it at its lowest settings, which is 640x480 in 16 bit color, with frameskip on. With frameskip off, it will animate as smoothly as the PS2 version. My sup-par graphics card might be the reason why some moving cars instantly disappear even though they're less than a block away.
Sound - 10/10
Rockstar is a genius for licensing so many famous 80's tunes for its game. You won't notice the time passing while you're cruising in your car with the radio on. There's something for everyone, whether you like rock, Latin, pop, or old-school rap. Just listening to Wildstyle rekindled my interest in finding more electro stuff. And an added bonus: you can play your own mp3s!
The voice acting is done pretty well. Obviously they picked the best actors for the job. Your main character has a name now, which means he's got a lot of speaking parts in this game. And the ambiences makes the city come alive, from the ocean to the cars passing by. Also, if you wear your headphones during a gunfight, you can hear the bullets zipping by as they barely miss your head!
Gameplay - 8/10
So you're a guy set out to Vice City to recover money lost from a drug bust. This is where all the missions come in. At first the game starts out slow and you're just beginning to meet the characters of the game. But keep at it and the story will really pick up, just wait and see.
You can go along the storyline at your own pace, no one's forcing you to do the next mission. If you feel like doing something less conspicuous, do Taxi or Pizza Boy missions. More likely than not, you'll have more than two missions that you can take on at any given time, so if one of them's stumping you, you can take a break from it and try another. Also, there's something oddly amusing about doing a drive-by while listening to a commercial about Giggle Cream ;)
One thing I would've liked done better are the chases. You don't get much of a thrill having the authorities on your back, until you get a wanted level of 4. Being the chaser in many of the missions is often more exciting. Also, they could've improved the handling on motorcycles. I guess this is how real motorcycles handle, but most are real bad on the turns.
If you have a fairly good computer, I recommend you buy the PC version over the PS2 one. It's got a few more improvements you'll appreciate, and also, one word: MODS! Being able to modify and customize many aspects of the game is one of the perks of owning a popular PC game. I can go on about it, but it's outside the scope of this review.
This game give you a lot to do, and then some. Never played GTA? Now there's never been a better time to do so.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 11/13/03
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