Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories
Review by GRC18
"Second worst of the PS2 era, but still worth it"
It's a GTA game, It's got a $20 price tag, it's worth the $20 price tag, and even if only for a short while, it's mildly intriguing. But I'm going to be honest: in comparison to every GTA title on the PS2, the only one it has the upper hand on is GTA III. Minus the story and the radio. Still interested in my review? Read on:
You play as Tony Cipriani. A Capo for Salvatore Leone in Liberty City's Leone Mafia. If you've played GTA III or GTA: San Andreas, you would undoubtedly recognize them. Tony has made it back into the city after four years on the lam, having killed a made man who's identity or origin is never explained. Now he is looking to regain his status among his brethren, and gain favor with Mr. Leone himself. In the midst of everything else, not to completely spoil everything, the city is also falling apart under the weight of political corruption, gang wars, drug trafficking, and union strikes.
It's your typical GTA situation, which normally works. But with the same tired setting of Liberty City, it doesn't seem to have that same feel it should have. Being set only three years before GTA III doesn't give it many points either, as the city feels mostly the same as it did then. Like it was hardly even touched by the sands of time. I, for one, would've been an advocate for maybe 1994, or something like that. Even 1996 could've shown a more interesting change to the geography of everything. We all see how much can take place in just 5 - 7 years in our own lives, anyway. How much more could this have been true for LCS? Come to your own conclusions.
For the PS2 era, what happened here should've been expected. Nothing phenomenal, nothing groundbreaking, and certainly nothing revolutionary. And for the PSP, while making it's mark in handheld gaming, maybe even earning more points overall in that category, it's not exactly the second coming there, either. In fact, while this may just be the vibe Rockstar was gunning for, by the time of LCS, when you also combine them with virtually the same environment as GTA III, it's another bored, dull, and tired feeling you just don't get over that easy. It can't be stressed enough. Sure, some small improvements have been made. But only in the sense that everything seems more "clear" as far as the particle effects go, and reflections seem to have improved a bit. That's not bad. But the lack of any real change is.
Now this is where it comes out decent. The story and the graphics may not be all that, but when you get into the gameplay, like I said previously, it is mildly intriguing. In fact, this is probably the most intriguing part about the game, despite it's severe lack of features coming off of San Andreas and it's ultimate success. There's plenty of mini-games to keep you going, the vigilante/paramedic/taxi missions are still there, some of the storyline missions are actually challenging enough to keep a little bit of interest going, and who can forget the usual hidden packages/rampages/driving around/running people over/et cetera? With all it's flaws, things like these at least keep the motor running.
This comes out with flying colors, as well. Mostly. My only two problems with this lie in a couple details, as big or as minuscule as they may be to you. First off, the voice acting. While Donald Love was really the only bad performance in the game, I still don't like how Michael Madsen and Debi Mazar weren't signed on to reprise their roles as Toni and Maria, respectively. Instead, you get two hired hands to take on the task: Danny Mastrogiorgio and Fiona Gallagher. Other than this, while sounding slightly compressed (obviously from being a PSP port), the sound is just as good as in the other PS2 titles. No big complaints in this department.
Usually, this is one of THE best parts to GTA, without a shadow of a doubt. This could've been, too. Especially after how Vice City Stories turned out, I KNOW Rockstar could've done a better job here. So I am unapologetic in my 5 out of 10 rating here. The stations all seemed either too short, lacking in true variety, or they just weren't catchy enough to keep my interests for long. Back to the time it was set in, again, there just wasn't any good music at the time with what was popular, anyway. Even trying to make up for it with fake music, if you can call it that, didn't do much either. It saved us from having to listen to Britney Spears and N*SYNC all over again, yes. But there's just no making up for the atrocities made in the style of music that year. It CAN'T be made up for. Beg to differ as you may.
The game gets a 6 out of 10. It's an alright installment into the series, giving us a little bit of insight to Toni Cipriani's past, and providing us with something to do in the event that we get bored. For $20, definitely pick it up. You might be disappointed, but if you're easily amused, you might actually like the game. Personally, if you want something with more substance to it though, and you don't have a PS3/360 or the money for GTA IV, I'd recommend Vice City, San Andreas, and even Vice City Stories. Primarily, San Andreas.
That is all
Reviewer's Score: 6/10 | Originally Posted: 10/07/08
Game Release: Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories (US, 06/06/06)
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