Review by Vortex268

"This is it. The greatest game of 2002. No question."

Introduction
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City is the prequel to Grand Theft Auto III. It was undoubtedly the surprise hit of 2001. Vice City, undoubtedly the most highly anticipated game of 2002, retains the same formula but improves on it in almost every way imaginable.

Gameplay
You play the character of Tommy Vercetti, free after 15 years imprisonment. Tommy actually talks and has his own personality, unlike the character from the previous game. In fact, he is voiced by Ray Liotta, famous for his Gangster movies. Once again, you work for 'bosses' who hand you missions, in return for completion of these you receive a cash reward. Missions generally involve killing people, bashing cars and the like. As you progrress through the game, these missions get harder.

Of course, you can spend time 'moonlighting' in other professions. Hop in a fire truck and start putting out fires for progressively huge rewards. Try your hand at being a law enforcer by entering a police vehicle. You can even jack a taxi and start collecting fares. New vehicles have been implemented in Vice City. Mororcycles are now commonplace, ranging from Harley-types to high performance sporty models like the PCJ 600. Several new boats have been included. Perhaps the greatest of all, however, are the helicopters in the game. Later in the game, you can obtain your very own Army Apache chopper with mounted chain gun and missiles. The fun of flying this beast (once you have mastered it) is worth the $50 alone.

Moving on to other issues, the AI of the police in this game has certainly been given a boost. The cops are a lot more relentless, and a minor offence can soon develop into a full scale shootout. Eventually, the military are called in with their Tanks and Barracks OLs. Death is the only result.

I must also mention that you can now purchase apartments and businesses etc, ranging from Strip Clubs to Taxi Firms. After completing a few missions for these places, they begin generating revenue for you to collect each day. Theres also another bonus of a save point at these propertys.

The storyline in Vice City is exceptional and gripping. The bosses you work for range from a larger-than-life Haitian, to a boomshine-loving ex-army serviceman. They all have their own personalities, and are wonderfully voice-acted.

However, there is one miniscule flaw. Tommy cant swim. If you fall in water you perish no matter what. Other than this, the gameplay is essentially brilliant. A huge thumbs-up is well deserved.

Sound
There is a whole new set of Radio Stations in Vice City. The 80s soundtrack is fantastic, with hits such as Kim Wilde's 'Kids in America'. As a matter of fact, the soundtrack is so huge and varied, there is a 6-CD box set available. I feel Vice City quite frankly has one of the greatest soundtracks to ever appear in a game. It is unbelievably diverse and varied, and only adds to the sheer brilliance of the game.

As I mentioned earlier, the voice acting is phenomenal. All of the characters are voiced by fine voice actors. Tommy will often let his feelings be known while walking the streets of Vice City. Some of his quotes are hilarious. When pointing a Colt Python at a bystander, he says something along the lines of ''Do ya think prison reforms people'' ^_^. Even on the gang-ridden streets of Vice City, humour such as this can be prevalent.

Graphics
Vastly improved from Grand Theft Auto III I feel. The game is now a lot more bright and shiny. My only gripe is that the character textures look rather bland with poor detail. Weather effects look cool, and explosions/pyrotechnics are highly impressive. Then there is the blurring effect which occurs when you pop an adrenaline pill. The world just slows completely, helping you out of sticky situations.

Overall
I have no qualms in hailing Grand Theft Auto: Vice City to be the greatest game of 2002. Every ounce of hype is justified. It is a truly amazing experience. The only thing what may hamper its success is people's morals. Killing prostitutes and the like won't go down well with some people. However, if you are a mature player with no problems with these things, I'm certain you will love this game as much as I do.

Gameplay = 10/10
Sound = 10/10
Graphics = 10/10
FINAL SCORE = 10/10.


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 11/21/02, Updated 11/21/02


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