Review by ElBombero

Reviewed: 02/17/06

The anticipation was worth it!

When I heard about this game I was stuck in two emotions. Firstly I was excited that Grand Theft Auto was coming to the PSP and began saving the money to buy but I had doubts. Would the game stay faithful to the console series in 3d? Was it just going to be an attempt to cash in with a quickly made game, which would be a waste of time. I was very glad however when I bought the game and found my fears had not come to be.

Story: 9/10

In the game you play Toni Ciprianni, which GTA fans may remember from GTA 3. The game acts as a prologue to GTA 3 and so fans of the series will be able to see how everything slots in. The story line is that you have returned to Liberty City and you are trying to rebuild your reputation in the Leone family after your “vacation”.

Graphics: 10/10

The graphics on this game are truly amazing for a handheld. Although they lack the gloss of San Andreas it is almost exactly like the GTA games on the consoles. The buildings appear at a good distance and so a problem I find annoying with some games- buildings appearing out of nowhere, is not apparent. The emotions on the face are impressive and the detail is amazing. Truly a brilliant show of the PSPs graphical power and will serve as a marker for all future PSP games graphics.

Sound: 10/10

The sound is ,as always in GTA games, brilliant. There is a wide variety of music stations to listen to as you drive or ride around Liberty City or if you do not like any then a feature called Custom Soundtracks allows you to put your own music into the game. I absolutely love this feature as you do not have to worry about the music options as you drive. The voice acting is brilliant and you feel like you are in a mafia film in the cut scenes.

Controls: 9/10

This is the games weakest area. The problem is the lack of a second analog to control the camera but this is not Rockstars fault so I did not mark the game down highly in this area. Another problem is the driving controls due to the positioning of the analog stick. In my opinion though once the setting is set to how you like it and you get used to it, which does take time but when you have the hang of it you will wonder why you moaned in the first place. The other controls all work well and GTA fans will not have to learn to many new controls.

Gameplay: 10/10

Like all GTA games this is the strongest area. The game has two main sides: Missions and free roam. The missions are not as detailed or as long as on the consoles which is a downside. Another problem is the fact they are too simple. Most missions are just drive somewhere and then kill/pickup person and drive somewhere else. There are some new missions but the missions lack the originality of the console versions.

All the old side missions are hear from Vigilante to Fire Fighting and they all help to add to the length of the game and give a new twist to the game if you are bored of the missions.

The other side of the game free roam makes up for any missions deficits. The cities are large and there is lots to explore. The new dirt track allows you to do stunts and with the motorbikes a new dimension is added to the game. The rampages are as fun as ever as there is little slow down and pedestrians spawn regularly.

The in game maps are as useful as ever and clearly shows the areas around you with places of interest. If the small mini map while you play is not useful enough then you can use the bigger map accessibly from the start menu. It is impossible to get lost or not to know where to go which is really helpful and new timers to the series will not have problems here. A feature I like with the game is that you are not tied in to having to do all the missions. If you want a break from them you can free roam to your hearts content or maybe do some side missions.

Multiplayer: 10/10

This is an impressive part of the game and the multiplayer is very enjoyable. There are a number of modes from Capture the flag to deathmatches and as long as you can find someone else with the game you will have amazing fun playing these modes. Slowdown for me was rare and so will not cause problems while you play. Set up is easy to do and the modes are well explained in the manual as well as set up and so you should not have problems starting a multiplayer game.

Lifespan: 10/10

This game will never make you bored. The games missions will keep you occupied for a bit but when they are done a whole load of new options are there for you to choose. Getting 100% will take a long time and even when that is done there is still the free roaming and multiplayer to keep you occupied. There is a lot to unlock for the multiplayer such as new outfits for you to be in as you play and a variety of bonus for doing the side missions. People have started to make mods for the game so if you tire of the city you can download a new area to play with. One snag with the lifespan is that those that have played the game before may feel they have already explored all of Liberty City but to those people I recommend the mods to give you a new challenge.

Plus Points

Stays loyal to series
Good multiplayer
Lots to do
Brilliant sound and graphics

Negative points

Lack of imaginative missions
Controls take time to get used to
City more or less the same so GTA 3 fans may lack places to explore

In all I gave this game 10/10. This game is an absolute must for any PSP owner’s collection but I would recommend borrowing or renting first purely because you may not agree with what I said. GTA Liberty City Stories is a brilliant addition to the series and I feel the PSP now has a must own game! My last point is to thank you for reading the review and I hope you found it useful.

Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

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