Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories
When we first encountered Liberty City Stories on the PSP late last year, it felt familiar, with good reason: The game takes place in GTA3's Liberty City but features a different story and characters. And here we go again with this PSP-to-PS2 port. Wait—PSP to PS2? Rockstar sees no reason for fans of the criminally successful series to be shut out of this side story just because they don’t have a PSP. Oddly enough, the PS2 version loses something in the translation: multiplayer. Where the PSP LCS features a suite of six-player Wi-Fi matches, PS2 players miss out on their first chance for more-than-a-minigame multiplayer GTA action. And since nothing else changes (though the switch to the DualShock 2 pad is welcome), it sounds like a rip-off...until you consider the budget price.
If you have the PSP game, you’ll find nothing new here. But for the millions of GTA fans that don’t, you get a lot of game for your $20.
The good news is that Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories pulls off an impressive feat. Taking a game that has an extreme dependency on console/PC gameplay techniques and jamming them into a handheld is not going to be an easy or clean process. Only having one analog stick for instance can cause significant camera problems and really be challenging to overcome with the limited controls of a PSP. I can tell you that it's not going to be problem free, but have no fear, this game is a must have for the PSP.
Without going into the details too deep, the story revolves around Toni Cipriani who is a big player in the Leone family. As you might guess, the Leone family has some out of the ordinary business interests and techniques that require the Leone family to find ways to 'motivate'? their customers. Anyway, the missions that you undertake are classic Grand Theft Auto style. However there are a number of missions that don't work well, either because of the design of the mission or restrictions from the PSP, but overall you'll be able to overlook those as the rest of the game more then makes up for it.
The other parts of the gameplay will be familiar and transferred to the PSP beautifully. The huge sprawling city to move around in is represented with plenty of side missions, the control system (especially the camera) has some glitches but generally can be worked through, and the multiplayer capabilities have to be experienced to fully appreciate with full functionality similar to what the console versions of GTA offer'full freedom.
Besides the gameplay, the graphics and audio also make comparable showing to the console versions with amazing detail and quality. The environments are beautifully rendered and there are numerous sound tracks to listen to while driving through the city. Other areas like the cut scenes also bring the game to life and will impress.
Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories will stay in your PSP for a long time. Besides the story mode, there are tons of things to discover and unlock with seven multiplayer modes to keep things interesting. If these are the types of games we can expect to see coming to the PSP, Nintendo is going to see their market dwindle away.