Review by Hellraiser234
"A great return to Vice City"
I am a big fan of the Grand Theft Auto series. I have played the hell out of every game so far, and my favorite has always been Vice City. Something about the time, setting, and characters just grabbed me even more than the other games did. I am happy to report that Vice City Stories makes everything about the original a whole lot better.
Vice City Stories serves as a prequel to the original GTA: Vice City. It's 1984. Vic Vance is a new military recruit stationed at Fort Baxter Air base in Vice City. Then something goes wrong. What begins as a man trying to simply make enough money to get by becomes a quest for revenge. I won't spoil the story for you here, but believe me when I tell you that this is a story that GTA fans don't want to miss.
Now, as GTA players all know, it's very important to have some good tunes playing in the background as you commit various "acts" against the people of the Grand Theft Auto universe. Vice City Stories delivers on this front just as well as the story. All of your favorite radio stations from the original Vice City make a return, each with all-new playlists. Many of the original DJ's return as well, making it sound much like the Vice City we all know and love.
While I'm talking about the sound, the voice work in the game is as well done as ever. All of the returning characters have their original voices, and the new characters sound just as perfect. The usual one-liners your character spits out during shooting, stealing cars, etc., sound great as always.
The gameplay is, by and large, the same as always in GTA. This is mostly a good thing. I did experience a few problems here. For instance, some mission objectives can be very frustrating, especially missions that involve protecting someone who insists on jumping in front of your bullets...
One addition to this iteration of the franchise that is both a blessing and a curse, is the Empire building. Other GTA games have featured this in some way, but it is fairly deep in this game. You must first attack a business owned by a rival gang. Once your attack is successful, you can buy the business for yourself, and turn it into your own business. You have 6 different business types to choose from, and also the scale of the business, ranging from small-time to high roller. This aspect of the game is very fun and addictive, but not without it's problems. At times, your businesses will come under attack by rival gangs, and you must defend them. These attacks happen all too often, sometimes even happening a few seconds after one another. It gets pretty repetitive.
As far as replay value goes, it is much the same as previous GTA titles. Once you have completed the main story, the only things really left to do are to try for 100%, or simply just go on the occasional 6-star killing spree. Final Score, 9/10. The flaws in the Empire system and a few frustrating missions keep this from reaching perfection.
Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 04/09/07
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