"Grand Theft Auto 2 improves the original idea - revealing an extremely fun game."

Rockstar Games’ Grand Theft Auto changed the way people saw video games. Not by the violence, but giving players something that hardly any games had – freedom. Most games were linear at that time and strictly followed its plot. Grand Theft Auto allowed you to do missions, but didn’t force you to. Instead, you could take your car and mow down some pedestrians before beginning your next mission. Ah, the joy of being a no-good.

In 1999, Grand Theft Auto 2 was released after its critically acclaimed Grand Theft Auto. GTA2 was pretty much the same thing as the original, but featured a sharper city, more cars, weapons, gangs, and oppositions. The game featured tons of missions, kill frenzies, and bonus missions, which was an improvement over the original Grand Theft Auto. How did this game stack up overall? Read on to find out…

GAMEPLAY 7.5/10
Grand Theft Auto 2’s gameplay is pretty much the same as the first GTA. The controls can be kind of tricky while on foot, but they are pretty easy when driving a car. Some buttons have been reconfigured to make the controls much easier. You’ll be using the left and right directional buttons to turn your character in the direction you want him to face, similar to the Resident Evil series. Up and down on the directional buttons plus the X button will make you run. Your character can now jump over cars and anything that may be blocking his path (thank goodness!). No longer are the days when you are trapped in an alley, now you can simply jump over your car. Also, cars can now be entered by either the driver’s seat or the passenger’s seat, so that’s pretty cool too.

I thought Grand Theft Auto 2 was a pretty fun game. Some parts of the game seemed really repetitive and hard, but overall I thought it was pretty good. There are three districts and in each district are three gangs. Each gang has seven missions, so there is roughly around twenty-one missions in one district and sixty-three missions in the entire game. The missions are fun – they start out really simple and basic, like delivering a certain person to a certain location – but then they expand into bigger missions, like trying to escape out of a prison. The new missions make Grand Theft Auto 2 a fun game. Some missions are ridiculously hard, though.

The game varies in difficulty. Obviously, as in most games, the game starts out with basic missions. As you progress through the game, more difficult missions are presented to you – such as escaping from a high security prison or infiltrating a rival gang’s laboratory. Luckily, you are free to drive around the city and collect health or armor power-ups during missions, so if you feel like your taking a beating in a gunfight, you can always leave and come back when your ready. Some of the later missions won’t allow that though…

STORY 1/10
Grand Theft Auto 2 doesn’t really have a story. You begin the game as a criminal in a large city. Your goal – to take over the city. Unfortunately, the gangs already have a steady hold on certain parts of the city – so you’ll just have to get these gangs off the streets. Fortunately, there are three gangs in every district and all of the gangs are rivals with one another. You are to work for each crime boss, gain their respect, and, ultimately, kill the gangs’ leaders. It’s a pretty weak story as it has no plot twists, character development, or any hint of the main story line. You’re just let loose in a city working for crime bosses, the same as the other Grand Theft Autos already out for PlayStation. Rockstar Games doesn’t really put a lot of effort into plot, unfortunately.

GRAPHICS/SOUND 7.5/10
Grand Theft Auto 2 has improved graphics-wise, which is a relief because I thought the original Grand Theft Auto had unimpressive graphics. The game is much sharper and kinder to the eye, although there are some parts where the graphics may seem dull. The game could’ve used more detail, but it’s pretty good nonetheless. The game gets a more “movie-like” intro – instead of video-game characters, actors’ play the characters. It’s pretty cool and impressive since I can’t see the game with an animated intro. The bird’s eye view camera is still here, love it or hate it. Overall, nice improvement to the Grand Theft Auto series in terms of graphics.

As with the other Grand Theft Autos, the only music you will hear is inside a car from the radio. The game has several radio stations of all different types of genres. Some of the songs are catchy - especially Taxi Drivers Must Die. As you progress to new districts, new songs will grace the radio. To add to some realism, commercials play between songs, which are pretty funny and amusing. While on foot, you’ll hear what you normally hear when you go outside – cars passing by you, the honks of horns, the chatter of people, footsteps… pretty much the same as the other Grand Theft Autos. As always, the type of terrain you walk on will change the sound of your footsteps – pavement, grating, gravel – it’s pretty cool, but you can find it in almost any game.

PLAY TIME/REPLAYABILITY 8/10
Grand Theft Auto 2 is a pretty long (and fun) game. It features (as mentioned before) three districts, each with three gangs. Each gang has seven missions and if you plan to attempt all of the missions in one district, you’ll be completing twenty-one missions. There are sixty-three missions in the game, and the majority of the missions are fun. The game also features cheats, which makes the game easier but doesn’t really add any replay value. There are nine bonus missions you can unlock: destroying ice cream vans, race against time in a race track, and a game where you have to kill as many gang members as possible in the allotted time. There are three of each game – meaning three Ice Cream Van missions, three Race Track missions, and three Gang Member missions. Each mission varies in difficulty and adds a new map. These games are pretty fun, definitely a great time killer. The game also features kill frenzies (kill as many people or destroy as many cars in the allotted amount of time with a particular weapon), special tokens, several power-ups, a stronger police force (the police, SWAT, FBI, and eventually the army will arrive if you cause enough mayhem), and the new respect meter. This is a Grand Theft Auto game after all – so just causing complete mayhem in the city is fun. Overall, this game will take some time to beat, and has a lot of extras after you complete the main game.

FINAL RECOMMENDATION 8/10
Grand Theft Auto 2 takes the original Grand Theft Auto and adds new features, cars, replayability, and oppositions. The improved graphics make the game seem pretty good and the complexity of some of the missions are icing on the cake. I really enjoyed Grand Theft Auto 2, and I think it’s the best one out of the first two (Grand Theft Auto and Grand Theft Auto: London 1969). Grand Theft Auto 2 is definitely a great game that is worth a look, as it improves upon the original idea in so many ways.


Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 03/30/04


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