Review by warbeast2000

"Who needs virtue when you can have VICE?"

AMEN, ROCKSTAR! PREACH IT!!!

...ok, over-enthusiastic there for a minute, sorry. Can't help myself, I've been waiting for a LONG time to play this.

We'll begin with a review-in-brief, and following that I'll score each individual category. Mmmkay?

SUMMARY/MINI-REVIEW
Do you like GTA3? You owe it to yourself to play Vice City. Take EVERYTHING you liked about #3, add in helicopters, motorcycles, twice as many cars and weapons, more music, more humor, tighter controls, more mission diversity and creativity, better character design and animation, and mix with a generous helping of the 80's. That's about the best way I can describe it. In case that's not enough, let me stress two important words. HELICOPTERS!!! MOTORCYCLES!!! (Yes, those two things alone DO add enough new gameplay to be worth it.)
Categories in no particular order of importance.

GRAPHICS 9/10
A'ight, we'll start here. Graphics are not the absolute best that the PS2 is capable of (See also Medal of Honor: Frontline) but they're quite good. Improved over last year's offering, you'll see characters whose mouths move better with their speech, cars that have shiny, reflective, or gritty surfaces, better weather effects, better sun effects, MUCH-IMPROVED WATER (!), and a host of other little things. Also, being that it's 80's Miami, there's a lot more bright color evident in this game than in GTA3. Draw distance also appears to be improved.

You may hear some complaints about the graphics, and when you first start the game you may have some yourself. This is because Rockstar foolishly chose to turn the ''motion blurs'' (TRAILS) on by default. Simply pause, go to Display, turn them off, and you'll feel much better. :) Unless you have HDTV and/or are using an S-Video cable, then you probably won't care either way...

SOUND 10/10
Beautiful. Fabulous. Fantastic! The radio stations are back with a vengeance, even funnier (and more disturbed) than last time. Lazlow, Fernando, and Toni are back as DJs--yes, they gave that idiot Fernando a radio station. ;) R* didn't pick ''All the songs you were tired of 20 years ago,'' to quote FlashBack FM. Instead, they picked lesser-known songs by popular artists, though there are a few highly recognizable songs, such as ''Billie Jean,'' ''Africa,'' and ''Come On Feel the Noise.'' That's Music. As for SFX, you won't be disappointed. The various car engines sound unique, and the helicopters and RC Toys have their own special sounds, but perhaps the best example comes from the motorcycles. The Harley-knock-offs have a throaty roar. The not-exactly-Kawasaki PCJ-600 has a higher-pitched, more frantic noise. The dirtbike and the moped have the high-pitched whine you'd expect. Finally, we come to the voice acting. Lots of funny stuff said by the peds, and by Tommy, the main character (Yay! No more playing as a mute guy!) Celebrities such as Ray Liotta, Tom Sizemore, Burt Reynolds and Dennis Hopper lend their voices to the excellent roster. There's also the infamous Jenna Jameson...

STORY 10/10
You are Tommy Vercetti, just released from 15 years in Liberty City Prison. Sonny Forelli, local Mafia boss, sends you down to Vice City to extend the family's influence. This is where you come in. Like GTA3, you've walked into a setup at the beginning of the game. However, UNLIKE GTA3, you don't know exactly who's behind it. The story covers Tommy's efforts to recover the money, the drugs, and the vital organs of those who betrayed him. Several plot twists as well, but you should expect that after last year's story, no?

GAMEPLAY/CONTROLS
Ah, yes, the meat and potatoes, as it were. Simply put, anyone who enjoyed GTA3 would enjoy this game. You're free to do WHATEVER YOU WANT. If you feel like stealing enough cars to fill a parking garage, go for it! If you want to hop into a gang car and roar all over town running over peds or doing drive-bys, feel free! If you want to play as a Vigilante lawman, hop into a cop car and get started! There are over 20 missions that are *directly* related to the plot, as well as a number of indirectly-related missions you must complete before the end of the game comes into view. All of last year's ''side missions'' (RC Toyz, Street Racing, Payphones, Paramedic, Vigilante, Taxi Driver and Fireman) are back and better than ever. In addition, some new ones have been added, such as Pizza Delivery. Rockstar also modified the existing ones to provide greater challenges but also greater rewards.

Several new features have been added. Chief among these are interior environments and the fact that money is now actually USEFUL. You can walk around *inside* a shopping mall, several restaurants and stores, a target range behind an AmmuNation, and many, many other places. But the fun doesn't end there--now you are actually able to BUY real estate that functions as your Garage/Save Point/Etc. It's nice to see that the money you make from your missions actually goes somewhere now. Some properties (nightclub, marina, etc) can make money for you, eventually paying you back. Some places even come with Helipads! Also, it's necessary to buy all properties in order to 100% the game.

As for controls...fairly simple to grasp. If you've played GTA3 before, you could play Vice City with your eyes closed and your fingers taped together. If you haven't, it still shouldn't take you too long...X goes, Triangle jacks cars, O shoots, etc. It's all fairly simple stuff. Helicopter controls may take some getting used to, but not too difficult. Definitely not as tough as mastering Wheelies and Stoppies on the motorcycles.

As a finishing statement, I would simply like to say that piloting any helicopter while listening to V-Rock is one of the absolute most fun things I've ever done in a video game. Ever.

REPLAY VALUE
Practically infinite. Even if you get a FULL 100% on this game, it will STILL be fun to just screw around with the game, killing peds, stealing cars and just using it as a great stress reliever. ;) That's the beauty of GTA3 and Vice City--they never really get ''old.''

Final Score 10/10


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 10/30/02, Updated 10/30/02


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