Review by The President

"Can you best this type of game for a up-all-night gaming fest?"

If you could take any game outside and beat it into the earth with a stick, would you do it does this game? No. Did that make sense? No. But there are over 4,000,000 pre-orders for this game alone, and I was one of the many who did so. Since I was one of the few people who owned a PS2 and did not buy GTA3 (gasp!) I feel that I must buy this game (what can I say, peer pressure sucks!) So I wanted to get this fill my meager collection of PS2 games.
Now, there has been an immensely large base of hype surrounding this game since GTA3 took off, and people have been wondering if this game will sell as many units as the third of the series, will it bring a new formula to break what people have gotten familiar with? Well, most of those answers are no, give or take a few steps. Yes, Miami (Called Vice City in the game) is much bigger then Liberty City. Yes, you do have more weapons, guns, boats, airogyros, and people to kill and pimp. However, once I finally got this game, it turned out that the old proverb is true; The Grass is really greener on the other side.

The story of GTA:VC is one like the previous installments. You, as a mob crook, try to take out as much people as possible, while doing jobs for different gangs. You obtain new types of weapons and vehicles while doing this, and eventually get a large sum of money while doing it. However, unlike the first 3 games, you do not take the role of a silent protagonist. You are now Tommy Verceitti, a convict who has just recently gotten out of jail, and went through a bad job, and no money. You also have a voice, which you did not have before, and proves to have a very large vocabulary of the 7 sin words. The farther you get in the game, the more people you meet, and they all have different jobs for you. Soon enough, you will be big guy in Vice City, and will rule this town baby!

Graphics: 8
These graphics do have a considerable amount of draw-back (which I guess from what I think in my head would be how far until you see pop-up) though there still is some, when you are going down one of the longer streets, and the framerate was been upped and is kept steady unless you go and create some major havoc (like 65 car pile up) that is the only time I have been able to see a significant about of slow-down to cause any people to get pissed off at the game. Then, you have the people complaining about jaggies when they play. Well, ever think about this: When you play on anything besides a vector TV or digital, the TV screen is made up of pixels! Could that be your jagginess! It is for me, when I played close up to my TV, I first said, “man, they are loads of jaggies inside this game!” Then, I sat back…and could see how much work was put inside this game.
Also, on the message boards, there seems to be a talk about something called “trails” inside the game. Trails are an option inside the menu, which let you choose the type of lighting inside the game. With trails “on,” everything has a sort of yellowish halo around it. The games lights become more spread out, the game becomes lighter, and when you switch when you are driving in a car, the game seems slower when you have trails on. When I switched trails off (they are on when you first put on the game) you seem to be moving faster, the graphics look overall, cleaner and polished, but it becomes harder too see. With trails on, it looks like a complexly different game, with the same graphics of GTA3 but at a slower rate. Without trails, the game looks and feels like the screenshots given out by Rockstar. I prefer trails off, but some people might like it with trails. It really is a matter of opinion, but when the rest of my review will be done with trails off. Overall, the graphics are not the best on any next-gen system (or the best on the PS2) but they get the job done, not going for a bunch of eye-candy, but a gritty mix of the underbelly of Vice City.

Gameplay: 10
Why not give the gameplay a 10? It all the basics, nothing has been changed about what you could do inside the game from the first GTA. Which is, you can do EVERYTHING! Do you want to run down that old lady? Well go ahead! If you want to swim, well, you can’t do that, because it seems like no one inside the GTA world has ever heard of swimming lessons. Otherwise, you can really just forget about the story and be a causal citizen in Vice City, just going around town, cruising in your Beemer, checking out the ladies. Or you could start pimping the ladies.
No, the main changes done to the gameplay mechanics are quite simple, but change the way you fight. When you press L3, you crouch, which can give you protection against enemy fire. When you fight against any rival gang or the fat cops (yes they look quite fat) you have a lock-on method, which makes you able to smack um’ silly when the come close with a 12 punch kick combo! With more guns, you would think that you could complexly destroy anything, but not, you are only allowed to hold one type of weapon (melee, shotgun, machine gun, grenades, etc.) which means that you have been taken away some of the power that you once had. When you use these weapons, and use the lock-on method, it goes to the most harmful person which is going after you (which means that it would go to the FBI agent before the hooker) so you could make a quick getaway before any more “fuzz” come. Also, you have more cars, more boats, more planes (not just the Dodo) and now you have motorcycles, which means that you can hurt yourself easier (when you hit something, you go flying out at high speeds) but they are much faster then cars, so it evens out. It also comes with a minigame (other then taxi, ambulance, and fire truck) is that you can no deliver pizzas from your motorcycle. A bit of a stretch (since it’s just the same thing but on a motorcycle) but it could be new and interesting for some people. The last new thing would be about high-tailing it out of your car. Before, you needed to complexly stop your car, and run to get a new one. Now, you can just jump out, but you lose about 10 health for doing so.
Overall, with a few things added in, you cannot go wrong with that Rockstar has added the game. Improving on a great formula is hard, but them came through.

Sound: 9
Don’t get me wrong the radio stations rocked (and rolled) but the real sound effects are lacking. When you go driving, you can listen to the radio, which has many different types of stations to listen to. DO want a sexy Latin beat? Or maybe some hardcore rock? You have a New Wave, Rock, Chat, public service (like National Public Radio for people who listen to that) Latin Salsa, almost all types of music, each having all the SUPREME 80s bands to listen to. Quiet Riot, The Buggles, Cutting Crew, Tears for Fears, Twisted Sister…the list goes on and on. Each station has about a two hour loop (compared to about 90 minutes for GTA3) so if you switch stations a good deal, you could, in theory, never listen to the same thing again! (Besides commercials) However, besides the radio, the sound effects are sub-par. everything seems to be made of glass (even the street lights) and makes the same breaking sound. All the weapons do have the real firing sound, so when you want to “bust a cap” in someone’s’ ass with a Mac-10, it sounds like a Mac-10, not some pellet gun. (I bet soccer moms will have a field day with this, but hey, you knew it would happen.) It also seems that every car, from the Admiral to Banshee, have the same tires. Same screeching sound, ever time. But, now I’m just getting picky about the game’s physics, which are top notch. However, each person’s voice is done beautifully, with large amounts of phrases to be said. No more “My Tuba!” twenty times in a row. They picked a cast of very high-class actors to do the voices, and it suits the people perfectly. Good show.
In the end, you will get annoyed by the same sounds over and over again, but the radio and voices that everyone has in this game make up for it.

Fun Factor: 9
Though you may love all the new ideas that they added, it is still the same game except with some graphical updates. The biggest leap was that of the auto-targeting system, which does make it easier, but it also gives a better reason to have the cops come up from behind you and bust you. There is nothing wrong with the camera, or, in fact, anything wrong with this game. You have a great game to play for hours on end, or you can just listen to KCHAT for 2 hours. However, the same problem comes up with every game like this: Once you beat all the missions and tired of beating the living heck out of people, you do not have that many things to do. Unless you are some sort of freak and like taking a meat cleaver to someone’s head all the time, it gets old in about if you play for a considerable amount of time. It’s fun for it’s time; I do not think anything besides Pokemon had the success in one year that the GTA series has had, but once people begin to see that you cannot play one game forever (no matter what the casual gamer says.)

Now that you see that there is much to love about this, we get to the bad parts. Well, the main problem is that, well, they really didn’t change any large part of the gameplay mechanics. Though for a few people, this would be...
“GREAT WOO HOO I LOVED GTA3 WOO!!!!!!!”
For others....
“Not anything changed! At least try and bring something that would make the game seem new!”
For the most part, they did not add anything new to the game, other then a few luxuries. You could of lived without the extra weapons! One of the few times the things that they added in are needed are in case sensitive missions, or just walking around in the building (which I must admit, pretty cool) but it cannot save the game for what it is. They really wanted to keep the fans happy, so they just added a new perspective to the game, more items to kill people and such, but after a while, wears thing around the edges.

Buy Or Rent?
If you haven’t gotten this game yet (which I’m sure most of you already have) Then I would suggest that you buy it. However, if you have already tired of GTA3, then you should try it out for a rental, and breeze on though it.

Graphics: 8
Gameplay: 10
Sound: 9
Fun Factor: 9

Reviewer’s Score: 9/10


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 11/01/02, Updated 11/01/02


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