Review by DOA
"Life in Vice City doesn't get much better then this."
Following in last year's smash hit, Grand Theft Auto 3, selling a recorded 7 million copies, and thus making Rockstar the hottest video game company out on the market today. Now, we have a follow up, well, not exactly a sequel. This is more or less an expansion on the GTA universe. Welcome to Vice City. A place almost as corrupt if not worse then Liberty City.
The plot of GTA: Vice City goes something like this: Tommy Vercetti has just been released from a 15 year prison sentence. The local mob in Liberty City do not want to deal with him and they ship him off to Vice City. After a drug transaction goes wrong it's basically up to Vercetti to find out who took off with the dope and money. The odyssey into the seedy underworld of Vice City commences.
Visually, Vice City is HUGE. Three times the size of Liberty City from GTA 3. Rockstar did an amazing job of capturing that 80's feel authentic. But most of character models are just caricatures of real people. What I'm trying to say is that the character models can be a bit generic at times. I mean, not everyone is going to look different, a lot of people on the streets, walking and driving, look exactly alike. Onto other pressing issues.
The game boasts an all star cast of Hollywood celebrities. The absolute best thing about this game is that they actually made the main character talk. Unlike GTA 3, where the main character was nameless and didn't speak a word. Tommy Vercetti is voiced brilliantly by Ray Liotta in arguably his best role since Goodfellas back in the day of yore. Other cast members include Dennis Hopper, Tom Sizemore, Burt Reynolds, Gary Busey, Lawrence Taylor, Miss Cleo and Jenna Jameson. But where everything shines is the fact that there's every 80s song worth listening to. Run DMC, Michael Jackson, Ozzy Osbourne, Frankie goes to Hollywood, Slayer, Megadeath, Anthrax, Judas Priest, just to name a select few. A game doesn't get much better then this other then some hysterical radio commercials that are just made for the sheer laughs. It doesn't get much better then this.
What really put Rockstar on the map is the free-roaming gameplay they have used over the years. Where you can do anything and everything imaginable. Legal or not. Hijack a car, take a helicopter out for a spin, no more trying to fly the chopped down Dodo from GTA 3 for a total of 5 seconds. You could go on a killing spree getting a wanted level so high that the local police, FBI, and the Army wanting you dead or you could climb the corruption ladder to where you OWN Vice City. This is basically the same formula they used for GTA 3. But here, you can do so much more. Ride a motorcycle, which were non-existent in the third one, run your own businesses (print works, a car show room, a dance club, strip club, taxi business, ice cream factory, film studio and since this is a mob related game, running protection), commit random acts of violence, etc. etc. etc. There is so much to do within this city that it would be almost impossible to name them all.
There are a few downsides to this game. First, it feels a little rushed. At certain points within the game, it froze. Almost like a Microsoft computer. Just no blue screen of death. The targeting system has been fixed up a little. But that's not saying much. It still needs a little more work. Car doors do not break off as easily as they did in the third one and you can't whack people with them, either. At certain points in the game, I also noticed a few of the billboards blinking and what not. I would have delayed this a few more months. Just to fix most of the bugs.
For and foremost this game reeks of replay value. Just listening to all the radio stations is a treat. Driving around Vice City is enough to keep you going for a few days. It's all good. Finding all the hidden packages, to performing all of the insane stunts. Even making them up as you go is half the fun.
A gigantic city, loads of 80's style cars. All of it's good, the characters could have used a little more polish.
From the all star cast, to all the best songs of the 1980's. You can't help but praise it.
You can do literally anything you want. Let me count the ways.
Replay value: 10
Just cruising around to causing a full scale gang war. This game you can just play over and over. Again and again. Finding new and unique stuff at every corner. This game may be one of the best games of year. But it's not without it's flaws. In Vice City you can do just about anything you want and then some. This game is a must have for anyone. Even if they have never played a Grand Theft Auto game. This one is a definite keeper.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 11/06/02, Updated 11/06/02
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