Review by Archmonk Iga

"Italian stereotypes? Killing hookers? Count me in!"

You know, if that Jack Thompson guy wasn't so idiotic, he might actually realize how harmless GTA looks in comparison to other games. But no, killing hookers and stealing their money, running people over for pleasure, and hate language are apparently enough to stir up controversy. And Jack! Now you can complain about it, say, whilst on a road trip, because now it's right in the palm of your greasy little hand. Oh, and you can play it like that too, Mr./Ms. gamer who is reading this little review. Does mini-GTA give you as much of a good, Italian time as its console daddy? Well, I guess you kind of already know what I think after seeing the big ole 7 next to my tagline. But regardless, go ahead and read on.

You are Tony Cipriani, an Italian guy who is just getting bad luck. You wonder, "is the world out to get me?" Hell, even your mother hates you and has hired hitmen to take you down. You take on missions from men and women who are too cowardly to do them on their own, and you get paid. What do you expect from a GTA game? The story is nothing new, but the places it takes you make it somewhat worth it.

Sarcasm aside, one thing I really liked about this installment is that your character, Tony, actually has a personality. He means well for his bosses, and is a loyal friend. Still, with all the betrayals you'll witness, you'll really feel terrible for the poor guy.
STORY: 7/10

The graphics for GTA are known for not being one of its high points for the consoles, but for the PSP, we will give Rockstar a break. They really don't look too bad at all, especially since you'll be traveling through humongous cities. Tony and the rest of the crew look very nice, with realistic facial expressions and hand gestures. The cities, while not completely interactive, are nonetheless huge. Not to mention the hundreds of pedestrians and cars that are constantly passing by, with no slowdown to be seen. So the game lacks detail, who cares? It still fits a ton of stuff in it for us to look at.

Each character has his/her own voice. They sound like the stereotypical Italian men and women--they pretty much yell instead of speak. But I do love the Italian accent. And nothing is really wrong with yelling if the voices match the characters, which they do. No big complaints.

The music you hear will be while driving. Okay, I can only take the same "funny" commercial so many times, and with the lack of songs and talk shows on each station, it really gets on my nerves. There's the pop station, a rap station or two, a classical station, some talk show stations, and then there's the "Radio Off" option. I choose that one. I can't stand it. Somehow, some way, it is possible to put custom tracks onto GTA: LCS. But it requires some sort of intentional glitch, or some annoying “connect your PSP to your PC and go to this website and download this and install this” or some crap like that.

The sound effects sound nice. Tires screeching, vehicles accelerating, guns being shot, they all sound expectedly acceptable.

Take missions. Complete them. Get money. The end.

Okay, for real now. FOR REAL, I'm serious. As you'd expect, GTA: LCS has lots of things to do in the areas you'll be. There is money to be made! What would you like to do? Race motorcycles? Have sex with hookers and then kill them to get your money back? Be a fireman/taxi driver? Those are among some of the optional things to do in Liberty City, but there is still more. Also in Liberty City we have Ammunation, a gun store, not to mention 100 hidden packages to collect. And would it really be GTA if you couldn't run/drive around on a killing spree? Cops chasing after you and pedestrians running away is a beautiful thing.

But in order to advance the story, you must visit your client people… or whatever they're called. There are a bunch, some who will really piss you and Tony off. The missions are pretty various I guess. Just expect a lot of driving and shooting as quickly as you can before getting killed. Yeah, that kind of sums it up. A lot of the time the cops will come, making the mission even more challenging. This is really cool, but at times the cops seem to have quite an unfair advantage, no matter what type of vehicle I'm in.

I also hate the overwhelming challenges some of the missions give you. Quite a bit of the missions are so incredibly difficult that you just want to shut your PSP off forever. And it doesn't help that you have to tediously travel all the way back to the client's residence every time you fail (which will happen a lot). Still, the missions are usually pretty fun and exciting.

The biggest problem with this game, however, is definitely its terrible control. With no second joystick to control the camera, you actually have to stand still to rotate it. Combine that with the weak control you have over Tony's movement with the single joystick, and you are in for a crappy time—especially during the many difficult missions. Another control issue is the lock-on for fighting. Too many times did this button lock on to some random pedestrian instead of the person/people I am trying to shoot. It just made the maddening missions that much worse.

So as you can see, there's not much different about this GTA when placed next to its PS2 counterpart(s), aside from the unfortunate control difficulties. It's pretty much everything you'd expect from a portable GTA.

The main game will take you hours and hours to complete, and if you want to master the three areas (hidden packages, sidequests, etc.) that will tack on many more. Rockstar also added some multiplayer, which is okay. Lessee… we got our KILL EVERYONE!!! mode, your “I'm the best!” mode, etc. Nothing very surprising, but maybe you'll get some more playtime with it. Multiplayer isn't too shabby, but no doubt the reason you should buy LCS is for the main story, which is quite bulky. But then once you're done with that… there probably won't be much else you'll want to do.

Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories is far from being a mediocre game… but it simply gives us all just what we'd expect from a portable version. It's fun, but the reduction in quality (aside from the amazing locations) doesn't make it the best reason to play it on a PSP. I'd say rent it, see if it matches your expectations, and go from there.

Thanks for reading =)

Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 10/17/06

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