Review by scrubking

"Another great GTA, but not as good as GTA3"

GTA: Vice City is a wonderful game and a must have for any PS2 owner (especially if you like the 80’s), but there are some setbacks that bring this game down a few notches below the masterpiece known as GTA3.

This game plays exactly like GTA3. You are a criminal in an open, living city and you can do pretty much what you want. This game is worth every penny just for the fact that it immerses you into a gaming world like very few other games can. In this installment of GTA you are immersed into a tropical city with lots of color, flavor and ethnicity. This is the first game I have ever seen with Spanish dialog and even a mostly Spanish radio station. Of course GTA3 had Japanese dialog, but since most games are Japanese that isn’t really a big deal; however peds speaking Spanish is a big deal and I absolutely loved it. The city is modeled after south Florida and Miami, but a Miami of the 80’s. I believe the 80’s factor is the biggest thing going against this game because if you don’t like the 80’s you are probably not going to like this game. The clothes, the music, the style, the cars, the lingo is all from the 80’s. I like to think this game was made for us older gamers who can reminisce of the good ol days and enjoy the game even more because of it.

There are some new features in this one like more weapons, more cars, the ability to fly choppers and ride motorcycles, the ability to dent and maim cars and their tires, but those things come in second place to the story. The story of Tommy Vercetti, which takes place over the course of many missions, is a rich and hilarious tale. Seeing how Tommy progresses is indeed a treat and will keep you completing mission after mission just to see what happens next. An important difference between GTA3 and Vice is that in Vice you take on the role of someone else and help him reach his goal, and in GTA3 you are yourself: expressed by a character with no name or voice. I prefer the style of GTA3, but playing as Tommy isn’t bad.

Now what makes this game inferior to GTA3 is the poor implementation of a some things starting with the code. This game is buggy. I have had it freeze on me a few times and do things that make you wonder, “Was that supposed to happen?” There is even a save point which can completely ruin your game if you choose to save their. The weapons are also poorly done simply because there are so many redundant weapons. It is nice to have a wide selection, but really impractical since many of them will rarely be used. The cranked up police system is very annoying since you can’t escape the cops no matter where you go. Even in your own home the police will spawn and walk around as if they were welcome. Wreaking any havoc without police detection is nearly impossible, and any minor infraction will get you a star. In GTA3 it was possible to kill tons of people before the cops caught on to you, but no more. Kill one ped and they are after you like white on rice even if there are no cops in sight. The street muggers and car-jackers that gave life to the streets of Liberty are now practically gone. I played the whole game through and never saw one mugging or car jacking. It wasn’t until I purposefully looked and waited for it that I saw a car get jacked, and only on two occasions. The missions are on the average easier than in GTA3(mainly because of the helicopters), and although you can now enter some buildings there is barely anything to do in them (Vice is bigger than liberty but most of the space is wasted on large empty areas that are never used). Outside of the primary and secondary missions there isn’t a whole lot to do except enjoy the scenery or get chased by the cops. There is only one gang that ever hates you, and fighting them will only get the cops on your tail. You live in a coastal city, but unfortunately there is little to do on the water. One of my biggest problems with this game is the lack of pedestrians. In GTA3 they crowded the streets and gave life to the city, but you will be lucky to see more than 10 peds at one time in Vice. It is sad because at times you feel like you are living in a ghost town. The presentation is also poorly done, as the lettering on the menus tends to be small and hard to see, especially with their hot pink coloring. Also in question is the humor of Vice City, which is very in your face and blatant. It is funny, but it gets old very easily.

Anyway, in spite of its setbacks GTA: Vice City is a winner and a legend among games along with GTA3.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 10/29/02, Updated 08/28/03

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