Review by Fraghappy

"Rockstar does it again!"

In response to the widespread success of the first Playstation 2 game of the series, Rockstar is back with the new Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. The hype for the game seemed huge, and thousands of gaming fans counted down the days until the release. To secure my chances of playing this game as soon as it came out, I was sure to run down to the local electronics store months ahead to reserve a copy. Did the game live up to the hype? I would say yes, especially for diehard Grand Theft Auto III fans.

Storyline - 9/10
Instead of the hustle-bustle of the New York style Liberty City, the new game takes place in the laid back city of Vice City, loosely based on 80's Miami. You play as Tommy Vercetti, a well-known criminal who is just released after a long stay in a maximum security prison. While before he was based in Liberty City, he is sent by his boss Sonny Forelli to Vice City to gain control of the drug business down there, but his first deal goes horribly wrong.

Graphics - 9/10
The graphics of the game at first may seem the same as the previous game, but I quickly noticed more detail in the cars, people, and buildings. The frame rate is also somewhat faster, which provides a smoother look for the game. The lighting used in the graphics produce a genuine Miami feel, with a dazzling effect of the sun and the deep blue skies to produce a realistic effect. Vice City's map size is about twice that of Liberty City, allowing Rockstar to show off their stunning new work with great ease.

Sound - 10/10
Yes, the radio stations are back. We now get to hear a wide variety of stations, some of which play some real 80's songs from artists like Michael Jackson, REO Speedwagon, Yes, and Ozzy Osbourne. For Grand Theft Auto III fans, remember how Lazlow on Chatterbox said he got kicked off of the rock station. It turns out that that rock station, VRock, was in Vice City. Along with Lazlow, Fernando Martinez from ''Fernando's New Beginnings'' makes a comeback hosting the station Emotion 98. In addition to these we have a few other stations such as Wave 103 and Fever 105. Sound effects have also not been forgotten. Of course there is a wide variety of realistic sound effects for the various weapons and cars, but we also get to experience loads of new comments from the pedestrians.

Gameplay - 10/10
Vice City certainly didn't lose that fun factor brought on by Grand Theft Auto III. With all sorts of new features, the game has a new edge allowing for tons of new fun little surprises to find in the game. Probably the easiest to spot is the whole new line of weapons. Along with old favorites, you can take out your enemies with things such as brass knuckles, sawed-off shotguns, katanas, golf clubs, knives, or even a chainsaw!

The list of vehicles has also been greatly expanded. You can now steal things such as motorcycles, several types of airplanes and helicopters, and you can even take a trip to the golf course and steal one of the several golf carts driving around. There are also several new ways to hijack cars, and it is now possible to shoot someone who is inside a car (and the same applies to you when you are driving.) And possibly the coolest new move, you can bail out of the car even while it is in the air. You can do it with any type of car, even motorcycles.

The realism of the game has been worked on a lot also. While in Grand Theft Auto III, the pedestrians had the occasional interaction with each other, in Vice City the whole city is alive talking to each other. There are also a wide variety of inside areas you can explore, such as malls and shops. You can rob these shops, are you can purchase various things. One of the most notable is the ability to change clothes. You can buy clothes at shops, or complete special events to get others.

Rent or Buy? Buy
Rent it if you want, but it is wiser to go ahead and pay the $50 and buy it. It is a game that takes a long time to beat, and it has amazing replay value, therefore you can't get enough out of one, even two rentals.

Score - 10/10
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City is a game that easily lives up to its hype. Having the subtle ties to Grand Theft Auto III, there are many small surprises for those who have played the game. It greatly expanded on the great game that Grand Theft Auto III already was. A definite good job by Rockstar!

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 10/29/02, Updated 10/29/02

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