Review by THAguyINgta3

"Gangster Paradise"

Respect is everything.

The Grand Theft Auto series has created a cult following around the world. The series has graced many platforms including Sega Dreamcast, Sony PlayStation, Sony PlayStation2, and the PC. It is so popular that it has inspired many other games such as The Getaway (PS2), True Crimes: Streets Of L.A. (multiplatform), and Mafia (PC and PS2). It was loved on the PC and PlayStation, but sales didn't show that until the release of Grand Theft Auto 3 for PlayStation 2 back in October 2001. Grand Theft Auto 3 caused the sales on Grand Theft Auto 2, Grand Theft Auto: London 1969, and the first Grand Theft Auto to rise on the PlayStation. Oh, and what a great game it was. Selling over 7,000,000 copies on just the PlayStation2 alone, it was probably the best game ever, until now at least. Grand Theft Auto: Vice City has to be the best game ever made, because it is a better version of, well, Grand Theft Auto 3, which was the best game ever made until now. It is the next installment in the hit-series, Grand Theft Auto. There were many things wrong with Grand Theft Auto 3 that are now fixed in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. GTA Vice City is not a prequel or sequel to GTA3. It is its own game. GTA Vice City will be a milestone in gaming history and will be cherished for many years to come.

Vice City is based on the real life city of Miami, Florida. Vice City looks so much like Miami it is unreal. In fact, Rockstar Games even sent some designers for GTA Vice City to Miami to video tape and photograph places of interest that they would like to include in GTA Vice City. There were many things people wanted that aren't in GTA Vice City. Animals and children were 2 of the things most people wanted that weren't added. Now that that's out of the way, on to my review of Grand Theft Auto: Vice City.

GAMEPLAY
The gameplay is so awesome! GTA Vice City takes place in the city of Vice City. The time period is the 1980's. The controls are exactly the same as in GTA3. If you haven't played GTA3, the controls will be fairly easy too learn and you should be able to master them in a few minutes. Loading times in GTA Vice City are even shorter than GTA3's almost non-existent loading times. Vice City is around 2 and a half times bigger than Liberty City. The gameplay is almost exactly like GTA3 but with some great changes, and some that would be considered not so great.

There are over 100 missions compared the GTA3's 70 something. Missions are now much more complex than GTA3's. If you fail a mission because you died or got arrested while in a mission, a taxi will appear outside either the hospital or police station and for $9, you can go back to the location of the last job you took. They also give you less money than in GTA3.

You will use a hotel as your hideout and save place when you first start out in the game. Now, you have to buy better hideouts and there are around 8 altogether. You don't start off with a garage which is a bad thing in my opinion, but you can buy a hideout with a garage not too far into the game.

In GTA3, if you shoot a car's tires or windows, it just added to the damage of the car. Now you can shoot people while they drive and shoot out tires. The police can shoot out tires and usually will. The police artificial intelligence is much better compared to GTA3. You won't be the only criminal in Vice City. Now, cops will also go after other criminals and not just you. If you hang around the street, you might see cops chasing a shoplifter, or security guards hassling gang members in a mall. SWAT teams will also repel from helicopters.

The pedestrian artificial intelligence has been updated and has a lot more additions to it also. Now, pedestrians will react to the chaos you cause by running crazily in other directions among other things. There are lots of new things pedestrians do, like skate, communicate, sit down, waiting at bus stops, queuing for taxis, walk in groups, jog, lay down on the beach and sunbathe, and just about anything you could imagine. Pedestrians also compliment and or insult each other. Gangs in Vice City now walk around in groups of people and so do pedestrians. Gangs sometimes beat down random pedestrians also. There are several new gangs ranging from biker gangs to a Cuban gang.

A new ability that you have in the game is the ability to eat. If you eat something, you will gain health. There are lots of new animations. You can now do new motions like ducking behind cars and kneeling. You can also bail out of moving cars. When you bail out of cars, your passenger will also and you will both sustain damage. Your car will just keep going until it slows down enough to stop or it rams something. Speaking of cars, when you jack one, there are also many different car-jacking animations.

The surroundings in Vice City make fun of the 80's and the pedestrians say funny stuff and they wear 80's clothes and general things like that, which makes you feel like you really are in Vice City in the 1980's. There are several islands that make up Vice City. There are 2 main islands and 3 smaller islands in Vice City. There will be shady districts and districts that have towering skyscrapers and people-infested shopping malls. There is greater geographical diversity such as downtown areas filled with skyscrapers, neon-lit boulevards, swamps, the ocean, huge webs of rivers and streams, and run down slums. A new feature that most people have wanted has been added is the ability to go inside buildings. There are over 60 interiors you can go in. Some of the buildings you can go in are malls, skyscrapers, and even a police station. There are around 5 second load times when you go in some buildings but not all of the buildings have load times. Some buildings are low so now you can have shootouts from rooftop to rooftop. Also, the motorcycles now have some access to rooftops since they are so small. You can bring the motorcycle in the mall if you wanted too. There are many different districts in Vice City.

In GTA3, you always had loads of money but nothing to buy, right? Well in Vice City, missions give less money than they did in GTA3. When you earn enough cash, you can buy tools that can be used as weapons, cars, clothes, new hideouts, businesses, and weapons. If you have 1 or 2 stars in your wanted level, you can change clothes to get rid of your wanted level so the clothes actually do have a use. Wow, now we have something to spend our money on! Also, another way to make money besides missions is to rob stores. Yes, you heard me right. Rob them. Not all stores can be robbed but there are a good bit that can be.

There are now over 40 weapons compared to GTA3's 15. Weapons are categorized in many categories and now you can only carry one weapon out of each category. Some of the melee weapons are the golf club (there is also a golf cart in the game that you can drive), katana, chainsaw, baseball bat, kukri knife (looks kind of like a big bowie knife but with a bent blade), tear gas, Molotov cocktails, grenades, brass knuckles, nightsticks, meat cleaver (kind of like a butcher knife), sledgehammers, screwdrivers, hammers, and a machete. Most of the melee weapons let you damage vehicles. With the chainsaw, you can even saw off car's doors! Some of the bigger weapons are Sniper Rifles, an AK-47, a M16, Shotguns, a Rocket Launcher, a Flamethrower, and many more great weapons that you can use to cause mass destruction. Now there are more weapons to use to do drive-bys, including MP5's, Uzi's, and other submachine guns. Now when you pull out a weapon in front of people, pedestrians will react by running in fear and cops will start trying to gun you down which is an improvement from the pedestrians just wandering around while you shoot people and cops letting you just walk around with a rocket launcher. The targeting system is much improved and will target your biggest threat first.

There are around 100 cars compared to GTA3's 60. Cars range from Lamborghini, Corvette, and Hummer look-a-likes to a station wagon, an old beat up truck, and hot rods. There is a car for everyone. There are now multiple people driving around in vehicles. Boats are used more in Vice City and there are several types ranging from racing boats to sail boats to huge yachts. Some new ways of getting around are motorcycles and helicopters. There are several different types of helicopters and airplanes also. There is one helicopter that looks like the helicopter from the 80's show Magnum P.I. which is pretty cool. The types of motorcycles are: dirt bikes, Harley Davidson look alikes, crotch rockets, and mopeds. While riding the motorcycles, you can also shoot sideways like in the drive-bys in GTA3, or you can even shoot forward. There are great physics for the motorcycle. If you go too fast you will fly off or if you hit something you shoot off of the motorcycle. It is rather funny. You can also pop wheelies on the motorcycle, which looks awesome. There is also a new way to steal a motorcycle, and that is by drop kicking someone off of their's, which is quite funny.

In some missions, you get to work with a partner very similar to like you did with 8-ball in GTA3. Your partner's name is Lance Vance. Sometimes during the story you will get to change clothes. There are still hidden packages (you get something for collecting them all too but I won't say what and ruin it for you) in the game and there are lots of new unique stunts. Some vehicles are required to do some jumps, too. Unique Jumps are much better than in GTA3. If your jaw dropped from some of Liberty City's larger jumps, you will be blown away by Vice City's. Overall, the only thing that isn't good about the game is how you can only carry one weapon in each category, but I guess that shortens time that you have to cycle through weapons so it might be a good thing for you. Just depends on what you would prefer: having all weapons available at once or having shortened cycling times. GTA Vice City is my favorite game of all time and GTA3 is right behind it.

STORY
You play as a former Mafia hit man, Tommy Vercetti. Vercetti is no street chump. In fact, Vercetti has just gotten out of a maximum-security prison after 15 years of isolation in Liberty City. During his time inside the prison, he never talked. He never admitted to his connections in the Forelli crime family, who, from the 1960s to the mid-1980s, have been the dominant crime family in Liberty City. Now that he is out, he wants to get back to doing the things he does best, working drug deals and spending money on drugs, booze, and women. The Forelli hierarchy thought Vercetti would never be released. But upon release, the Forelli hierarchy is nervous about him being on the street and unsure what to do with him. The incident that landed Tommy his own private cell in prison was very gruesome, and there was talk that Tommy might have been set up by the Forelli's. Tommy has never voiced any dissatisfactions with the Forelli's or questioned their integrity, but Sonny Forelli, head of the family and childhood friend of Vercetti's, doesn't want Tommy in Liberty City, so he arranges for Tommy to go to Vice City for business after being released. On arrival to Vice City, all does not go well. While there, Tommy is doing a drug deal for Sonny Forelli, who just happens to be one of the Forelli brothers from GTA3, and something goes wrong. Tommy is betrayed and all of his allies turn out to be his enemies. Tommy loses all of his money. Forelli then demands for his money back, so Tommy sets off with a corrupt lawyer to fight back and take over the glamorous paradise known as Vice City. Now he has to do missions for a few low lifes in Vice City to get it back, no matter who he has to step on to get to the top and be the king of Vice City.

Your partner's name is Lance Vance. Tommy's connection with Lance Vance is in the drug deal where everything went wrong for Vercetti. Lance's brother was also in the deal and he ends up getting shot. Lance's brother and Tommy were also very good and close friends before that. So now Tommy and Lance are out to get revenge on those that betrayed them. It is such a great story and I really don't want to ruin it for you in this review. Just a few of the bosses you will work for are: Ken Rosenburg, Ricardo Diaz, Phil Cassidy, Steve Scott, Gonzalez, Auntie Poulet, Big Mitch Baker, and Avery Carrington. There are so many twists and turns in the story it is unbelievable. Also, some of the characters you learned to love or hate are going to be in Vice City, but I won't say whom and ruin it for you. This is one of the best stories ever in a video game in my honest opinion.

GRAPHICS
The graphics are great compared to Grand Theft Auto 3. The graphics are very detailed. Cars look great and are very smooth and shiny. The disappearing of cars and people that are out of the screen has been eliminated. The water looks great and so does all of the scenery. You can see all the way to the bottom of it and it isn't dingy and fake looking like in GTA3. There are twice as many polygons being used in Vice City than in GTA3. When wind blows, sand blows around on the beach and clothes move in the direction the wind blows. When riding the motorcycle, your clothes will also move in the wind. There are lots of new lighting effects like neon lights etc. and they look so awesome. Gives it a real 80's feel.

AUDIO
There is a lot more music now on the radio. There is over 9 hours of music compared to GTA3's 5 hours. The radio stations are: V-Rock, Wave 103, Flash!, Vice City Public Radio, K Chat, Wildstyle, Emotion 98.3, Fever 105, and Espantso. There are around 80 authentic 80's songs licensed by Rockstar on the radio stations. Some of the better-known artists are: Michael Jackson, Judas Priests, Grandmaster Flash, Kool And The Gang, and Ozzy Osbourne. Now I know some of you are thinking, ''Why would I want to listen to 80's music?'', but the music is rather good. I like it and I would probably never listen to 80's music if I didn't have to, but now I really think it gives the authentic 80's feel to the game. There is a station for everyone. There is a techno, rock, rap, Spanish, and many other stations. Rockstar Games has also made a deal with a record company to put out a series of cd's, which features all of the tracks from the radio stations in GTA Vice City. But hey, if you don't like the music, you always have Vice City Public Radio and K Chat to listen to.

The voice acting is great. Some voice acting will be provided by the famous ''movie'' star Jenna Jameson and football player Lawerence Taylor. The main character also talks now. None other than Ray Liotta voices the main character, Tommy Vercetti. There are now over 6 hours of pedestrian sayings compared to GTA3's 3 hours. Overall, the best sound on the game however, is the sound of the pedestrians running and screaming in terror as you cause chaos. The sound is great. The guns sound awesome and so do the explosions.

REPLAYABILITY
There is loads of replayability. You can just go around driving, do side missions, which includes being a paramedic, vigilante, fireman, or even a pizza delivery guy! Or you could just go on random killing sprees to see how much chaos you can cause. This game never gets old. I played GTA3 for months without it getting old. And since GTA Vice City is much better, the replay is much better. You can try new and different ways to do missions. You could also play a game with your friends and see who can stay on a certain wanted level the longest without cheats, which is what I do with GTA3 to keep that game alive.

You could also try to get 100 percent, which will take hours. Hidden packages are still in the game also, which could be a very good or very bad thing for you. Just depends on if you liked them in GTA3 or not. Something that would take a long time to do is trying to explore all of the places in Vice City. There are many alleyways and rooftops that are waiting on you to find them. Vice City is so much larger than Liberty City it is unreal.

TO BUY OR TO RENT?!
I would say buy it if you can find it. This game will be very hard to find in the first few months of release considering the large amount of people that want it. GTA Vice City had over 4 million preorders by the time it was released on October 29, 2002. If you liked GTA, GTA London, GTA2, GTA3, or any crime simulators for that matter, this is a must own since it is the best GTA ever made and is a really revolutionary game considering the amount of freedom it has.

GTA Vice City is a must own for all PlayStation 2 and PC owners. Rockstar has really outdone themselves. Any and every gamer should own this game. GTA Vice City will be a classic game. If you didn't like GTA3, you might as well try Vice City out anyways since it is so much better. Vice City is 10 times better than GTA3 in every aspect of the game. Take my advice and buy it. You will not be disappointed, however, you will be disappointed if you don't give this great game a chance. It is better than Grand Theft Auto 3. Even though Grand Theft Auto 3 is a classic gaming experience, you will soon forget about it after popping Grand Theft Auto: Vice City into your PC or PlayStation 2. Boys and girls, we are in the presence of greatness.


Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 01/04/03, Updated 01/20/03


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