Review by Zylo the wolf

"Hey this game is actually pretty good."

It's not strange at all that Grand Theft Auto have become one of the most successful franchises in video gaming history. In at least 90% of all the games out there you play as some kind of hero, either trying to save his girlfriend, family, country or world. So obviously it would feel like a nice change of pace to play as a criminal trying to take over a city once in awhile? To make it even more fun you could steal anyone's car and then drive over them. I had never seen anything like this before the first Grand Theft Auto game, and I quickly fell in love with it. But neither me or any of my friends bothered with the missions in that game, we just tried to kill as many cops as possible. I never gave the "newer" Grand Theft Auto games a fair chance when they were released so I thought I should at least give one of them a try, and Vice City seemed to be the one I would enjoy the most.

In this game you play as Tommy Vercetti. He's been in jail for 15 years on the charges for killing eleven men. But instead of trying to live an honest life he decides to keep working for his mafia boss Sonny and get a mission to make sure that a huge deal of cocaine in Vice City goes as planned. But of course it doesn't since a random group ambushes Tommy and his gang just when they are about to seal the deal and escapes both with Sonny's money and the cocaine. When Tommy tells his boss that he lost both the cocaine and the money Sonny gets really mad and says that he will kill Tommy if he can't get the stuff back. Since Tommy have waited 15 years to get out of prison he doesn't want to die and it's now up to him to go through all the criminals in Vice City.

It's a bit tough to describe what kind of games the Grand Theft Auto series are, but Wikipedia calls them open world action-adventure which I guess is true even if it make it sounds more complicated than what it really is. During the game you will meet many different people that want to you do a job for them, but you are free to explore Vice City just as you want when you aren't in a mission. Most people will at first try to find a weapon and then start to kill innocent people just to get the cops attention and then spread as much chaos as possible, and well even if that can be fun it's actually a bit pointless since you will waste both time and money without getting anything in the game for it.

In order to get a mission you have to go to a place that is marked on the map, and there you will meet someone who has a job for you. It can be anything from driving to one place to kill someone to just get an item to someone. For most of the mission you get a reward when you completed it, which usually is some money. The game gets tougher the further you get in the game and sooner or later you will fail a mission, but then you can always redo a mission. Even if you die, you just lose all your items and some money since the hospital needs some profit for bringing you back to life right.

As you might have guessed you use the money to buy stuff. You can only buy weapons at the start of the game, but you will after a while also be able to buy different buildings. There are only a couple of missions that you have to complete to finish the game but are almost forced to do a couple of side quests in order to get money. You can buy weapons in different shops that also are marked on the map, but it's also possible to either find weapons or pick up from the corpses of people that you just have killed.

There is one thing that more important than everything else in this game and that's to watch out for the cops. You can get wanted by just stealing a car if an officer is nearby and sees your criminal act, but of course you are considered to be a much more dangerous person if you kill some people. Since you have to kill a lot of people in different missions, the cops will chase you a lot and you have to redo the whole mission if the police manages to capture you. To kill the cops is not a solution because that will make you even more wanted, and then even more cops will chase you. The best way to take care of this problem is to drive to a garage that repairs and repaints your car, which will make the police unable to notice you if you lay low for awhile.

One of the most unexpected things I really liked about this game is the radio stations in this game. A lot of my guilty pleasure songs are from the 80's and I love heavy metal so I usually treat myself with an excellent song while I'm driving in my recently stolen car in Vice City. The talk show K-CHAT also have many funny guests that just talk a lot of nonsense. I even parked my car a couple of times just to listen to the radio.

Sadly there are many things that I really didn't like in this game. First of all it's really smooth when you are driving in a car and it's pretty easy to avoid the traffic, but once there's a mission where you either have to ride a motorcycle, drive a boat or a plane the control just feels way to hard to handle the machine. The boat missions is especially annoying. Another thing that can be really annoying is the missions where you have to trust an AI to either not make a important character commit suicide or blow your cover when you are about to surprise an enemy since all the AIs are completely idiots.

It also took a long time, and I mean more than 10 hours of playing before I learned how to master the gun in this game. Some weapons allows you to auto-aim on an enemy and on the more powerful ones you have to stand still and aim in first person view. I doubt this would have been something difficult for Rockstars to fix, I mean was this bad action really passable in 2002? But after much, and I mean much training you will be able to handle the gun almost as you want to. If you can, then try to kill your victims with a car instead of a gun since for most of the time it's much easier.

Even if the game has a huge 80's charm and a kind of funny sense of humour it took me a long time to actually get into this game. But after the slow start I finally got hooked and completed many side quests even if I didn't have to and some of them almost drove me insane, but that also made it more rewarding when I finally completed them. Since I didn't expect this to be my kind of game at all, I'm surprised that I actually enjoyed my visit in Vice City at all, despite it's flaws. I'm sure this could've been one of my favourite games if I played it back 2002, but it's still fun now 10 years later. If this game gets a remake then I'm one of the first to buy it.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 09/26/12

Game Release: Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (EU, 11/08/02)

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