Review by BruPal

Reviewed: 11/14/06

If you thought that LCS was great, you haven't seen nothing yet my friend...

As everyone knows, last year, the widely known GTA franchise made it’s debut on the PSP hand-held system which delivered us a great experience. But this was just a test since the best was yet to come… A few months later, the development of a new PSP GTA has been announced but no details concerning the place in which was going to be set still were a mystery at the time. When the E3 2006 came, R* announced that the next PSP GTA would be called “Vice City Stories”! It was with great joy and anticipation that I (and many others) awaited this new entry in the series and now, it has finally come to our hands. This time, R* Leeds wasn't playing around and improved upon its predecessor in many aspects and they included stuff which we thought that was impossible on a hand-held system…So, what’s new in Vice City Stories you ask? Let’s find out shall we??

As the title suggests, this new chapter is set in the crime-filled tropical metropolis of Vice City during 1984 (2 years before the original Vice City which was beloved by many GTA fans including yours truly). The main character this time is Victor Vance (Vic for short), a 28 year old ex-marine who has been thrown out of the army because of his corrupt superior Sergeant Jerry Martinez. Now it’s up to Vic to control the streets of Vice City, to survive in this business and to take care of his idiot brother Lance (which you might well remember from 2002’s original Vice City). If you remember, Vic is shot at the beginning of the original Vice City during the drug deal with Tommy Vercetti (don’t expect to see him since he was in jail in Liberty City at the time). You’ll re-encounter other characters from the original Vice City an meet new ones…

The graphics have been a little improved (the characters have fingers now) with a better draw distance ,nice light effects and better textures. Although there are some slight technical problems like glitches, bugs and slowdowns, it didn't ruin the game experience to me at all… The game-play is what you could expect: car-jacking, killing and even more than LCS. If you played LCS before, you’ll feel like home in VCS! This time, Vic can swim in the blue and clean waters of Vice City (only for a short time at the beginning but after you complete a certain side-quest, you won’t drown anymore) and pilot aircraft like helicopters (there’s even a tiny gyro-copter). There is even a new fighting engine which allows grappling and breaking necks or shoving people to the side of the road. As for vehicles, there’s an even bigger variety than LCS including something totally new to the GTA series which makes it’s debut on VCS: jet-skis. They might be a little harder to handle at the beginning but once you dominate it, you will love it! Something which is also new in the GTA universe is the Empire Building mode which is more or less like the gang-territory thing in San Andreas: you have to bring down other gang’s business to make it your own and also defend your businesses. There are 6 types of businesses to choose from and you’ll have to trigger the side-missions corresponding to that certain business type to develop that site and to gain more respect (and money)!

The soundtrack in the game is awesome with the return of your favourite radio-stations like V-Rock and Flash FM and new ones like Paradise and Fresh 105. Like in LCS, if you’re not happy with the soundtrack, you can still put your custom tracks in the game… The voice acting is also better this time with the return of the original voice actors from previous characters in Vice City (like Phillip Michael Thomas as Lance Vance “Dance”) ! There is also a cameo from a certain drummer/singer who was very famous during the 80’s (I’m not telling because I don’t want to spoil it for you). Something that I didn't mention before is the fact that the missions are longer this time and with a bigger variety (which is good compared to LCS’s missions)! There is something for everyone in this game: the wide-open game-play, the 80’s feel or the amazing story. Like every other GTA, there are also the usual side-missions (Taxi, Ambulance, etc.), the rampages, the unique jumps and the red balloons (which replace the hidden packages). There’s also multi-player which was introduced in LCS but with more modes this time like V.I.P. R.I.P. and Grand Theft Auto (there are 10 modes in total)! Just amazing!

So now it's time for the final verdict: to buy or not to buy? I guess it’s not that hard to answer… If you’re a hardcore GTA fan, this is one amazing title you should add to your collection! Or those just looking for an incredible PSP game, well, this is it… It will last you for months as long as you keep your batteries in full power! Let’s see what R* Leeds has in store for us after Vice City Stories in the future. Maybe a San Andreas Stories? Only future will tell…

Graphics: 10/10
Replay Value:10/10

Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

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