Review by Cybiolink8000
"Tommy, man, you gonna love this..."
After the world was amazed with Grand Theft Auto III, another game was announced and was coming to the GTA series. It would be called Grand Theft Auto : Vice City and it would take place in Miami, Florida, set in the 80's rather that it's predecessor's Present Day, New York City Setting. Vice City is mostly and upgrade of GTA3, but in some ways it's a downgrade. However, Vice City is in no way a bad game, but sequels usually tend to change too many things in the sense that something that was good is taken out to make room for something new or different, which can sometimes lead to the downfall of a video game series. This doesn't totally apply to Vice City, but a few things that were in GTA3 are missed. For example, in Vice City the roads are all flat. This might be because the Developer wanted a true Florida setting, but hills are far more entertaining than flat roads, mostly because of ramps. That's the biggest let down, but once you get into vice City, it's all about the action.
Graphics - 10/10
Vice City sports nice looking colours that really give the game it's 80's theme. The helicopters, boats, cars and motorcycles all look unique and when you're moving about through the city, you'll see some of all types of transportation in their element, whether it's the road, the sky, or the water. When you're driving down a road and you see a plane flying overhead, it really makes you feel like you're in the city. Most of the cars in the game are modeled after real cars from the 80's but changed to look different. Once night time rolls around, you get to see Vice City's very colorful neon lights and sights. There are also some nice new effects that are not seen in GTA3, such as Tommy's shirt blowing in the wind as you ride a motorcycle down the strip. If you're on of those people that doesn't like a bunch of clutter on the screen, good news for you... You can choose what you want on the screen and what you don't, such as the radar mode, subtitles, HUD mode and even change the screen position and you can turn trails on or off. When you're playing Vice city, it really feels like you're in Florida. There's flat roads, palm trees and the licence plates closely resemble Florida ones. For the most part, Vice City is very colorful and offers a few new effects and never before seen things.
Sound - 10/10
Vice City is one of those rare games that have so many sound effects, songs and extra sound bits, that you could be playing the game for over a month and still hear something new. For example, there are hundreds, maybe even thousands of pedestrian voices which are heard when driving down streets or you could hear a new song on one of the 9 radio stations that you haven't heard yet. Whatever it is, you'll enjoy what Vice City has to offer. Along with graphics, the sound also enlarges the 1980's theme which Vice City is set around. From real songs from the 80's, to 80's style sound effects, the sound fits well in the 80's theme that gives the game it's unique feel. Even with all the 80's sounds, there are some sports cars that sound the same as their newer versions in GTA3. I think the sound effects for those vehicles weren't changed because they are the same car but the 80's(1986 to be exact) of the cars from GTA3. This shows the dedication to make a truly 80's theme. The game really revolves around the music. There are dozens of songs from the 80's, and the rest of the game seems to revolve around them in the sense that the game was chosen to take place in the 80's because of all the permission to use songs for the game that the developer acquired. It works out well too because there are so many songs on Vice City's radio stations(There is also talk radio for those fans of ''Chatterbox'' from GTA3). It's a good idea to center a game around something big or something that you have a lot of, and Vice City is centered around it's 80's music. The hundreds(if not thousands) of sound effects in Vice City, are a nice little touch to the game, but are nothing new. Every Grand Theft Auto game so far has had tons of voices from the dwellers of the city that you roam around. It should be expected because every game in the series so far has had the pedestrian comments, but those extra voices add something to the game and can increase how funny it is when you're driving like a wreck-loose down the streets with 5 cops on your tail and you just miss hitting a pedestrian and hearing what they have to say about your near miss.
Control - 10/10
If you've played GTA3, then you know how the control is because Vice City is pretty much the exact same. If you haven't played GTA3, then you should find the control easy to adapt to. Vehicles and your character(Tommy Vercetti) respond nicely to input and are also not overly sensitive. Vice City, just like it's predecessor, makes use of every button on the controller and most buttons have multiple uses. For the most part, the vehicles handle the same as GTA3, with the exception of the firetruck being not as powerful of a ramming tool as GTA3, but there are motorcycles and helicopters introduced into the game. It'll be the first time you'll use them, so you haven't seen them before. Motorcycles handle very nicely and are a kick to ride. Helicopters are pretty easy to learn to fly although they do seem to have nutty controls, but once you get a hang of the control, they're a heck of a ride.
Overall Enjoyment - 10/10
Vice City has a bit of everything and has a lot of different things for just one game. Some examples are costumes that you can switch between as you collect them so you can change the look of Tommy. Another cool thing is that you can recreate scenes from movies by going off jumps and things in the city which is an awesome part of the replay value. Besides all the missions and extras, you can just drive around and have your own unscripted fun. After playing vice city for a while, there's still lots to do which is why this game possibly has the most replay value for any PS2 game out.
Extras - 10/10
There's so much to do in Vice city that you probably wouldn't notice some of the little things unless someone else told you. An example is in the ambulance, there is a radio. This radio can only be heard in the ambulance or other emergency vehicles and is different than the normal radio. It's pretty funny to hear some of the stuff that is said. Also, just like GTA3, there are massive amounts of stats in the pause menu. Everything from your accuracy to which radio station you listen to the most or least. Vice City brings back the insane stunts, rampages, hidden packages, unique jumps, and also brings a few new things into the stats page such as stores knocked off and pizzas delivered. In addition to the main missions in the game, there are also assassination missions, and vehicle missions where you have to deliver certain things or kill certain people. Motorcycles are new to the game and offer a few stats with them. You can have records for your longest Wheelies and Stoppies which are simply raising your front tire while accelerating, and braking on your front tire. Another truly awesome part of the free roam style of gaming that Vice city offers, is being able to re-create stunts, jumps, crashes and chases from your favourite movies. There are some certain jumps that can remind you of certain movie scenes, but they're not part of the game and you don't get percentage for completing them. They're just there for fun, but extras are what a game should have.
Final Recommendation - 10/10 BUY IT!
If you're thinking of what to get first between GTA3 and VC, I would recommend GTA3 first. The story would fit together better if you played VC first because it takes place in 1986, then GTA3 is present day. To truly feel how good the game is, you should play GTA3 first then VC so you see what's new and how things have changed. No matter what order you buy the two in, you'll have a lot of fun with this one. In it's own ways, it's better than GTA III, but I personally think GTA III was better despite Vice City's excellent additions. Vice City is missing hills and GTA III had those. This game is worth every cent and deserves more than just a rent. It's an excellent way to spend how ever much money the game is worth. Many hours of fun are waiting to be spent. Go ahead and have some fun. Unless you're allergic to the 80's, get this one now!
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 08/19/03
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