Review by M. Fletcher
"Absolutely amazing. Game of the Year."
It is finally here, and its better than ever. The latest edition of the Grand Theft Auto series takes a new twist in the city of Miami. I'm sorry, I mean Vice City.
Whenever GTA3 came out, people were in awe. They couldn't believe the freedom that the vast city gave you. Imagine the feeling, twice as bad. This is how you will feel once you start to play Vice City. You quickly notice the addition of new vehicles and weapons. The Motorbike, Helicopter and various types of plane are amazing to drive/fly around in. New weapons also include, a Katana Sword, Screwdriver and a Chainsaw. The catch with weapons is that you can only carry around one of each size.
There are now interior areas for you to explore, notably the Malibu Club. Most of GTA3's side missions are back, including Taxi, Ambulance, Fire, Police, RC Toyz etc. and with the addition of delivering pizza's it provides enough side missions to fill a game in itself. Hidden Packages and Rampages also return from the third game and the packages are harder to find now.
When the game starts, you're first home is a hotel room on Ocean Drive. As the game, and your money supplies, increase, you will be able to buy new homes which help unlock new missions. Purchasing all of the homes is essential for 100% completion of the game.
Another new feature is the ability to gun people down in their cars without having to pull them out. You can puncture their tyres and then shoot them through the window, then steal their car and burn it. (Yes, I am mad)
A feature which everyone wanted, and have got, is the ability to jump out of moving cars, even if they are in the air. You are able to bail off of your Motorcycle if it is about to crash into a wall. A nice thought and can provide a unique assassination method by driving towards the target at full speed and jumping out and letting the vehicle hit him.
The AI of the police has been vastly improved, they now use devices such as Stingers to bring you down and implement roadblocks that are much harder to get past. I think the Stingers come out around a wanted level of 4, but I am not sure.
The ability to buy and change your clothes is a great feature inplemented into the game. As you start, you will be dressed in a conspicuous blue Hawaiian shirt and jeans. You will then be able to buy new clothes such as suits and casual wear. These changes of clothes help with certain missions where you have to look the part and can help you evade the police as well.
In GTA3, the Lock-On feature on the weapons focused on the nearest person to you. It now focuses on the most threatening person. Anyone nearby with a gun will be a prime target as opposed to a granny in GTA3.
As you can see, there have been so many changes included in the game. Some which people wanted, and others which people would never have thought of. Best. Gameplay. Ever.
The city is fabulous looking. The palm trees and majestic sunset easily give away that it is Miami. Some of the citys features have been taken from Miami itself. Areas such as these include the Malibu club etc.
The guns also look alot better now. The new Tommy Gun looks really life-like and the MP5 is also spot on. The vehicle graphics have also been vastly improved. The hearse looks great and other cars, such as Sport Cars look amazing and are amazing to drive.
The peds just don't walk around by themselves and have a nice little cosy chat occassionally. they walk in pairs, rollerblade, read the paper on park benches. Superb thinking on the part of Rockstar. A feature people didn't think about, but love now that it is in.
The animation of the game is fluent. No doubt about it. The game never suffers slowdown, even though it flows at 60fps (frames per second).
OK, the graphics aren't exactly the best ever on the Playstation 2, but they still look absolutely amazing. It really looks like Miami.
Yes! Lazlow is back! There are now 7 stations on Vice City featuring 70 or 80 authentic tracks from people such as Michael Jackson. Fernando now hosts a radio station and Toni returns to the airwaves. (NOTE: Anyone who owns GTA3. If you listen to Chatterbox, you will here Lazlow say, ''Because I got kicked off the rock station'' Thinking ahead by the producers there.)
The characters now speak more clearly and the lead character can talk. The Godfathers Ray Liotta does the voice of Tommy and other celebrities voices will appear throughout the game.
The car and people sounds have also been improved with a unique car sound for each type of car. The helicopter sound is excellent and the motorbikes each have their own distinct pitch. The pedestrians also have a vastly increased vocabulary. There is now over 8 hours of Pedestrian Speech crammed into the game, and you will hear most of them throughout the course of the game.
Still the same as GTA3. Triangle is jack a car, O is shoot, Square is Jump, X is run. It is all the same. Veterans of GTA3 will have no trouble whatsoever in picking up the controls. People who haven't played the previous game shouldn't have much bother picking it up though.
Tommy Vercetti has just done 15 years in a Maximum Security Prison in Liberty City. Sonny Forelli (Local Mafia, and his boss) sends him to Vice City to continue his drug deal. When it falls through, important people in Vice City want Tommy dead. The only thing for him to do, is to fight back.
It is a superbly done idea. About a fifth of the missions are directly linked to main plot of finding out who double-crossed him, but there are a ton of other missions that are not linked to the actual plot and can provide a welcome break from the main game.
OK, in theory, this should be the most replayable game ever. Completing the missions, completing the side missions, exploring the city etc. There is so much in this game to contend with that you'll won't have it completed for a while. Even, in the distant future, when you successfully achieve 100% you'll still love to whip out your gun in the Malibu club and gun them all done. Excellent replay value.
This is game of the year. No doubt about it. Buy it. The bikes and helicopters alone would be enough to warrant buying this game. If you buy it, you will not be disappointed. Trust me.
The game is so non-linear, you will never get bored with it. There is so much to do, that you will be at it for months. And it won't be a miserable few months, it will be an enjoyable few months. Trust me, buy this game. You will not be disappointed.
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 11/01/02, Updated 11/01/02
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