Review by Yari the Inari

"Grand Theft Auto comes back in this stunning Grand Theft Auto Sequel."

Grand Theft Auto comes back in this stunning Grand Theft Auto Sequel.

The Grand Theft Auto series is just a line of video games made truly to the point of fun. Grand Theft Auto 1, for the Playstation, started it all with you, a small little man and you were given the order to hijack cars, drive around causing chaos, therefore simply having fun. Rockstar games followed up with a cheap game called Grand Theft Auto: London 1969. Pretty much the same thing as the first one, except smaller and with worse graphics. People were starting to think this series was a failure. Wouldn’t you after a game like Grand Theft Auto: London 1969? I mean, Rockstar starts out with a violent approach, making Grand Theft Auto 1, with its aspects of hijacking cars and killing people. With it’s decent to bad graphics, its not exactly that promising. Next on the line up, Rockstar gives you Grand Theft Auto: London 1969. Combining worse graphics, bad story line, cluttered with ideas trying to make it a better Grand Theft Auto just made it worse. From this point onwards you don’t think Rockstar is doing very well.

But then, the series lighted back up again as Grand Theft Auto 2 was put up on the market. Although the graphics didn’t have an immense change, the game was huge and put up a good fight selling. It was twice as fun as the first and an amazingly large big update over Grand Theft Auto: London 1969. Next to come along was the most memorable and great game. With amazingly updated graphics of 3D features it truly shined as a Grand Theft Auto from a different view. Most argued of the adult content in the game, whether it be the mass killing you could do, or the fact you could hijack almost any car and run people over with it. You could pull out a baseball bat, or an M-16 and walk down the street murdering all you see. But the most controversial act of crime you could commit in that game was the scene about picking up hookers and having sex with them in your car. Strange that it wouldn’t be the mass killing, the hijacking, or the random killing, but the sex scene. That is what deliberately got it banned from a few countries. Although the game shined, Rockstar had to add the scene in, hence stopping thousands of people from buying it. Otherwise, it did sell extremely well here in USA, which is why it wasn’t banned here. The Grand Theft Auto series had seemed fun enough…or had it?

Suddenly, I stumble upon Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, the newest addition of Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto Line up. Whether it be Grand Theft Auto: Vice City’s simply gorgeous graphics, its stunning story line, or even it’s great amount of fun, Grand Theft Auto is simply the best Grand Theft Auto game out there. Getting Grand Theft Auto 3’s aspects and updating them greatly, while at the same time, making better story line and graphics might not be such a bad idea. And I would have to say, stumbling upon it might have been one of the greatest gaming histories in my life, and most likely that of Rockstar’s game producing career.

The story line of Grand Theft Auto: Vice City is done with nice effort. I like the twists and turns the story line takes as the game progresses. Many things happen and stuff like gangsters and mafias from the Grand Theft Auto 3 setting return for this one. The ghetto, mafia, and other gangsters play a large role in the story line, as you will uncover yourself as you play through the game. The game takes place in the setting of Vice City, much like Miami. Anyway, a man by the name of Tommy Vercetti leaves Liberty City down to Vice City to the command from his boss, Sonny Forelli. Liberty City, after all the events of murdering and gangster crimes, had become too uptight with it’s security. Tommy decided life would be much better down in Vice City. Upon his arrival, he finds he is desperately broke. Sonny Forelli, of course, gets the job down by asking Tommy to complete some jobs for him down in the ghetto for him to receive some money. Interestingly enough, many obstacles stand in his way to complete the task. Down in Vice City, Tommy isn’t very popular. Most people hate him. Tommy wants revenge. And at the same time wants his paycheck. So he ventures out into Vice City, hijacks his first car in the city, and starts his rampage of fury.

The gameplay of Grand Theft Auto is equally done with nice effort. Hijack, Murder, and do anything else possibly involved with crime to get yourself through the great beach like atmosphere of Vice City. Enhanced weapons in this game, with 40 weapons. (Compared to Grand Theft Auto 3's 15) These include a knife, machete, six-shooter, Uzi, and many more. There will also be new character animations are included for each weapon, such as a stabbing animation for the machete. Even a better improved targeting system, which will change color depending on threat, and tell you if a pedestrian is armed. On the subject of pedestrians, they do more action, Such as jog, lay on the beach, roller-skate, sit on benches, cross streets, and walk in pairs. Pedestrians will also crouch down behind cars when a gun fight ensues. Mafia gangs will now walk in groups instead of in single file or on their own in Grand Theft Auto 3.

In conclusion to Vice City being larger, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City will be all open from the start! (Meaning you can explore the whole city without limitations.) Which is a great improvement over Grand Theft Auto 3. The game now has the ultimate ability to enter about 50 buildings. The buildings include: the bank, coffee shop, hotels, shopping mall, airport, and night clubs. The buildings are multi-leveled and have fully decorated interiors, meaning you could walk upstairs and back downstairs with ease. An addition to the great gameplay, is the well over 100 missions. These missions are more complex and harder, and yet even longer. More available things are now operational in the missions. Of course, there are new side missions, such as pizza delivery, the rumored SWAT, limo, and ice cream missions. Throughout the game, you can play as different characters! Not just Tommy, as if he wasn’t cool enough for you.

One last addition to Grand Theft Auto: Vice City is the huge variety of sportcars, trucks, and cars. About 120 vehicles in all (Compared to Grand Theft Auto: Vice City’s 50) including the Inferno, Banshee, and more professional cars to top it off. While driving in the cars, you can now jump out while it is moving, which is more convenient. Of course, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City wouldn’t be Grand Theft Auto: Vice City without the sportscars and trucks inspired by the 1980’s. An amazing vehicle addition is two more opportunities. You may control a motorcycle and a helicopter- and shoot from both of them, too! Snipe someone, right in the neck, from your freshly hijacked helicopter. Or, speed up behind pedestrian cars and fire at them from the motorcycle. Which brings up another great point about civilian vehicles. Now multiple people can be seen in the car, such as a man driving and two of his friends in the back. Last words for gameplay in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City is that the game is huge, likely to take you over 110 hours and 2-3 months. Great gameplay aspects in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City really helps this game in the long run.

The graphics in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City are done with very nice colors and attributes. The Image quality is much cleaner and sharper, as in comparison to Grand Theft Auto 3. The people are all amazingly detailed with exquisite 3D layers and graphics. The models of the characters no longer have a ''blocky'' texture, making the characters clearly visible. The buildings and other structures are amazingly accurate. I love how the bright, neon colors always stick out, especially on casino-like buildings or other structures with logos. When you walk along the bay, or the shore of the ocean, it seems that the water was vastly improved! It’s much more realistic, and in conclusion, much better than Grand Theft Auto 3’s water graphical system. It’s also extremely detailed-you can see the fish swimming around, and the tiny ripples, and sometimes, even a shark or two looming around.

The pedestrians are done amazingly well. Most are done with a toned skin of brown, because of the Mexican American race going on down in Vice City. Their mustaches and beards match accordingly to the ethnic race, therefore reaching the maximum effort for the graphics aspect in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. Although, at times, it may seem that the camera angle makes the graphics look bad, nearly 95% of the game has sharp and crisp looking graphics. My compliments to Rockstar for working nonstop at getting this far with graphic design in technology.

The audio/ sound is done very well in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. It has very little problems with its intense speaking parts of nearly every single main character. Grand Theft Auto: Vice City provides something no game in the Grand Theft Auto series did- a protagonist with voice parts. Yes, Tommy Vercetti (The main character) is confirmed to have various speaking parts, as compared to Grand Theft Auto’s main character. (Formerly known as the Grand Theft Auto 3 Guy) Overall, I like Tommy much better because I believe he has a much better personality and just a great main character.

Back to the aspects related to audio/ sound. While driving in a car, there is of course a radio feature. Last time, in Grand Theft Auto 3, there was a nice amount of 3 and a half hours of radio music. Well… in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, there will be a whopping 9 hours of total running time for the radio. There will be 87 songs in total, which is a great deal of songs. They are actually real songs this time, as apposed to Grand Theft Auto 3. The songs composed are from artists such as Judas Priest, A Flock of Seagulls, and even Michael Jackson. The pedestrians in this game will have an amazing 8500 lines of dialogue, nearly tripling the dialogue of Grand Theft Auto 3’s pedestrians. (3000 lines) Even a Grand Theft Auto: Vice City soundtrack will be produced because of the sheer greatness in the audio part of the game. Amazing work by Rockstar.

A Closing Statement. Grand Theft Auto: Vice City for the PS2 is by far the greatest game to ever come from Rockstar, possibly ever placed on the Sony. I really love all these aspects in the game, of so much fun and at the same time great graphics, sound, and gameplay. A downside to Grand Theft Auto: Vice City is that the game is not for everyone- I repeat, not for everyone. Most people find the killing, hijacking, and temperamental sex scenes very un-appropriate for a video game. That’s while I highly do NOT recommend this game to anyone under the age of 14. It would be an extremely foolish mistake for someone at a young age to pick up this game, as it violates many rules that a video game could regulate. Aside from the controversy, this game is well- thought out and plays great. It loads fast, has great audio and graphics, and with great gameplay to boot, it definitely may be one of the best sellers to ever come across the Play Station 2. The only thing that’s stopping it is the un-appropriate violence, crime, and other nonsense. But for older gamers, this is one game that you shouldn’t miss. Certainly, my favorite Play Station 2 game, and Rockstar will have great sales for this game. Spending 110 hours on this game may gain you infinite fun. Or it may influence you the wrong way, depending on your age.

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 11/08/02, Updated 11/08/02

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