Review by ieatdirttoo

"Almost perfect"

Whether you are a casual or hardcore game you most likely have heard of the Grand Theft Auto series. In October 2001 the rather unknown Rockstar Games published the third installment in the series Grand Theft Auto III. The previous GTA games had been played from an overhead view, but III brought the series into full 3D. While great, GTAIII was not perfect. In fact it had quite a few major problems. Now one year later Rockstar Games and the renamed developer Rockstar North have released the highly acclaimed Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. Does it live up to the hype? Read on to find out.

Gameplay: 10/10

The previous installment in the series had several problems going for it. Bad Targeting (PS2 and Xbox Version), Lack of Depth, repeating environments, ect.
All of these problems have since been resolved, and considering that the developers only had a year is quite remarkable. Your character Tommy has to rise up in the criminal ranks in the bright metropolis known as Vice City. One problem that can be identified right away is that the city is a bit smaller than GTAIII, but that's not enough to bump down the score.

You work for several different employers who have you do jobs for them. You are rewarded with Money which can be use to purchase both weapons and property. Did I say property? Yes! Instead of having to go all the way across the city to get to your safe house you can buy certain properties that will give you a save point and possibly a garage. In the second half of the game you can even buy property and do missions for your self. Once these missions are completed you will receive a repeating gross of cash located as a pickup at the property. This game is played from a 3rd person view.

In the PS2 and Xbox version you must use the auto aim function. Though improved from GTA3 it is still a pain to use. Luckily on the PC version you are given full control over the camera and where Tommy is shooting. This allows each gun to be used to its full abilities. Several new guns have been introduced in the game including the MP5, .357 Magnum, Minigun and many more.

The main thing that attracts people to Grand Theft Auto is the ability to drive around and have absolute freedom. There are over 100 different cars in the game all based off of real life automobiles. In addition to that there are also several different motorcycles, planes, boats and helicopters. Vice City, though smaller than GTAIII is still huge. You have absolute freedom. If you cause some chaos that cops will be onto you. You are measured as far as "wanted" goes by how many stars are highlighted on the screen.

Story: 10/10

You play the role of Tommy Vercetti. After being released from Prison after 15 years inside you are sent down to Vice City by your old boss Sonny Forreli to oversee a business transaction. During the deal you are ambushed. Your allies are all killed while you escape via car. The driver, Ken Rosenberg takes you back to his law firm. The story goes on from there. You will meet several characters through out the game. The story is full of humor, action, and plot twists. Even though I hate to point fingers, it is very similar to the film "Scarface". Rockstar was able to capture the 80's version of Miami perfectly. Everything looks so appropriate for the time period that it's a sight to behold.

Graphics: 8/10

Even on PC the graphics still fall in the average category. This is one of the first games in a long time to be released without the ability to change the amount of detail. It looks as if you are playing the game on medium all the time. This is good for decent PCs that handle that setting appropriately but for people with high-end or low-end PCs this can be a pain. I run this game at 1280x1024 at 60fps. I would love to crank up the detail and sacrifice a few fps but I cannot. I can only jack up the resolution (that's as far as my monitor supports it). Low end PCs will have trouble rendering the city and will often fall prey to the "Blurred Texture" problem.

Sound: 9/10

The sound in this game is incredible. All real 80's tunes spread out over several different radio stations. If you grew up in the time period that this game is set in you will fall in love with the radio. All the classic songs from almost every genre are in here. The soundtrack in GTA is actually very important and Rockstar teamed up with Sony were able to get an extremely large selection of high quality music. The PC version has the ability to play your own MP3 files as well!
The voice acting for this game is extremely well. Ray Liotta, who provides the voice of Tommy does an awesome job. Several actors including Dennis Hopper and Burt Reynolds provide very convincing performances. All the guns and cars sound appropriate and realistic. Overall the sound is awesome.

Final Recommendation: Stop Reading! Get this game right now.


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 01/31/05


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