Review by ReviewJoel

"Wow sony must love the guys at Rockstar. Fantastic psp launch."

Grand Theft Auto hits the PSP. Wow what a day right? In a way yes but this game suffers to its predecessors on the playstation 2. Ok fair enough it is a smaller chopped down portable version for use of carry in your back pocket but it suffers in lack of story and missing out on vital parts of the GTA series like planes. But read on and understand the games up's and downs and find out why it is one of the best games on the PSP.

Graphics: 10/10 Liberty City Stories graphics are absolutely fantastic especially when you are playing it on your little PSP screen. The buildings look fantastic and are very nicely detailed. Not to mention how many objects sit on your screen at once without any drawback or lag. Now you can't compare it graphically wise to the likes of San Andreas but when it comes to a PSP than these graphics are just top notch. From all the cars that are designed to look like the late nineties to the pedestrians walking around minding there own business this really is one of the strongest points to Liberty City Stories.

Sound: 10/10 Is it really going to be a surprise to you having a 10 score for a GTA game. I think not, the sounds on this game are just brilliant just like all its predecessors. The cars sound authentic and the sound responds to the way that you drive them. Not to mention all those radio stations. Remember Lazlo. Oh sure you do, well he is back in the portable version now with his own radio show. The tracks that are on the radio stations cater for any music enthusiasts needs. From Hip Hop to rock and even some alternative, believe me you will find something to listen to. Now to the gunplay, each gun shot sounds great and you will notice that the sounds will move from one speaker to the next. A nice little touch for the PSP. The pedestrians on the sidewalk are still very funny and it is just a laugh to listen to what smart ass thing they say to you before you blow their head off with a gun or cut them up with a chainsaw. The choices are up to you. But overall you will not be disappointed in the sounds of Liberty City.

Controls: 9\10 The controls are very responsive with only one or two little drawbacks. The one big problem to me was the turning around. The camera never followed quickly enough and it would sometimes get stuck behind a building or something. But you can get around that with the automatic lock-on. But there is one small problem with the lock-on. It sometimes will lock onto the wrong person and by the time the camera swings around to see who you have shot it may be a pedestrian while 5 cops are shooting at you. I encountered this problem quite a lot when I played through the game. But to fix the problem you can choose who the next lock-on target is by moving the keypad to your designated target. So with those two little bumps being in the way of a perfect 10 here the rest of the controls are just fine. Considering how much can be going on at once and to not suffer any lag is a victory in its own. The cars are very responsive and each vehicle handles differently from the next. The control pad is also very responsive and you really should have no trouble at all in going and doing what you want in this game.

Gameplay: 8/10 Ok in a way you really can't compare this game to its predecessors on the PS2 but when it comes to a full story length game, it falls a bit short. There are quite a few side games as well but really it the same thing again, vigilante, ambulance, pizza delivery. But on the same note though there has been a few more new ones dropped into the mix. For example you can take people out in a test drive to see if they want to buy the vehicle. So it is your mission to make them like the car enough to buy it without running out of time, murdering them or having the cops capture you. It actually is quite a fun little game compared to the average vigilante missions. Not to mention that there will be no more vigilante missions in your favourite air vehicle the hunter, oh no, they have totally taken all flying objects out of this game. Yes so that means no planes, or choppers. Hell they don't even have the dodo. Supposedly this was a last minute change to the game because the tops of the buildings were not flat and you would not be able to land on them. That to me was the biggest disappointment to me alongside the fact that there is no property ownership at all. Man there was nothing like running your own nightclub or nude club like in Vice City. But that really is only where it falls short on the terms of its game play. Really it has pretty much all the same things from the original games in it. Look at it like a mixture of Liberty City and Vice City if you would, so yeah that does mean that you can not swim. But it also means that you can speed around on motorcycles in Liberty City unlike the PS2 game. Overall you really will not be disappointed with this game and after paying it I am sure you will understand why it is one of the best PSP games out at the moment.

Story: 7/10 Probably one of the worst parts to the game is its story line. As a fan of mafia based movies and programs then maybe I am being a little too picky. You star as Tony Cipriani, a mafia henchman who goes to work for the biggest crime lord in Liberty City, Salvatore Leone. But not all is sweet, there are a couple of members of the gang who do not think you have what it takes anymore, for instance Salvatore's son. While the story line is nowhere near as good as the console versions don't let it steer you away. It is a good story don't get me wrong but if you are looking for a story with as much depth as San Andreas than you will not find it here,

Lifetime: 8/10 The story itself may not be as long as you may anticipate, but note that the story doesn't even cover 50% of this game. For a PSP game this is massive. There are plenty of side quests for you to occupy yourself on long bus trips and it is just a fun game to play. You can make your own fun with it by doing virtually anything. Don't like that pedestrian who is eyeing you up, than run him over, chop him with a sword or chainsaw or heck just do it the easiest way, pop a cap in his ass. All of the hidden packages are lying around just looking to be found. And yes you do unlock weapons for those packages. All the insane stunt bonuses are back and some of them are great fun to do over and over in a numerous amount of cars, bikes, trucks and pretty much whatever else has a wheels and can move at a steady pace. The optional race mini games are also here. But overall there is plenty to do and the only reason it did not get a 9 or 10 is the lack of the length of the actual story itself. And if you have played all the previous titles and already scored around 90-100% than you probably will not be bothered doing it all again.

Playtime/Replay Value: 8/10 Playing this game through once is probably more than enough for any gamer so it has really no replay value. But the playtime on the other hand can last as long as you want it to. In theory you really should be able to get around 40hrs worth out of this game. It would take a very long time to achieve a 100% ranking but I am sure that by the time you have that 100% that you will not really want to play it again and will move on to another title.

Buy It or Hire It: Liberty City Stories is a buy now game, mainly because there is absolutely nothing like it out on the PSP at the moment. This game is sure to keep you occupied for hours on busses, work breaks or whatever the hell you do with your PSP. I can strongly recommend it and the only other game that actually comes close to comparison with a rating for the PSP is Burnout Legends. And that game is in a completely different category. Plus look who made it, Rockstar. So there is a company that really only makes quality games because they know what we the players want.

Overall: 9/10: This game really is brilliant even if it suffers slightly because of a dodgy story line. As a recommendation this game should be bought by anyone who owns a PSP and is old enough to play this title.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 04/12/06

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