Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
The follow up to one of the most popular console games of all time has finally hit the streets and there is happiness in videogame land like never before. Rockstar took the foundation of Grand Theft Auto III and expanded upon almost every facet of the game. For all of the junkies who thought they found videogame nirvana, will take you to a new level of euphoria.
Vice City manages to meld a great story, serious action, and limitless gameplay to produce one of the best games of all time. Trying to describe Vice City is a bit difficult because how you choose to play the game really revolves around the individual player. You can follow a very linear path and complete only the direct missions but in doing so, you will miss out on a majority of the game. One of the main aspects that make Vice City so great is the sense of freedom you have. You can drive around the city, listening to tunes on your favorite 80's radio station, checking out the sites. You can jump in a taxi and make some extra cash driving people around. You can explore all of the hidden nooks and crannies looking for weapons or other secrets to help out on your missions. The choice is completely yours and how fun it is.
Rockstar easily could have half-assed this game and made it a straight port of GTA III dressed up in 80's clothing and it would have sold through the roof, but thankfully, they thought better of it and put some time into making this game outshine its predecessor. The game never feels old or repetitive thanks to well thought out missions and story lines. GTA III suffered a bit from missions that felt redundant but that isn't the case here. You will find yourself speeding off to the next mission area just to see what is coming next.
What would Grand Theft Auto be without vehicles? The inclusion of motorbikes, boats, planes and helicopters all add to the fun. I found myself looking for new vehicles to jack just so I could take them for a spin. The vehicle handling is another area where the game received some attention and while it still isn't perfect, it is better.
My only complaint, albeit minor, was that the targeting system was difficult, particularly in a crowd. When things got frantic, locking on to your target could be a chore. Other than that, this game is so much fun you will have to pry yourself away from the TV just to go to bed. This review has only scratched the surface of the game so I invite all of the readers to use the reader review section to add their favorite (or least favorite) parts of the game. So if you will excuse me, I have a bus to steal and some pedestrians to run down.
A definite contender for the best game of the year, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City makes its appearance on the PC after much success on the PS2. Starting with a mob deal that goes wrong, you, Tommy Vercetti, are left as one of the few survivors. Needless to say your boss is less than thrilled to discover that you dropped the money behind but finds enough love in his heart to not kill you immediately. Looking to get back in his good graces and not end up with cement shoes as flotation devices, you set out to recover the cash and dish out some payback.
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City is an adventure game with a heavy dose of action. Although it uses many of the gameplay aspects found in Grand Theft Auto 3, you will notice a number of improvements and new additions that clearly set it apart. Using the third person view primarily, you'll still be able to explore levels, drive a number of vehicles, and use a variety of weapons. In addition, you'll find the vehicles more numerous including motorcycles, boats, and helicopters, the levels significantly larger, and the story line more engrossing and well developed.
Other areas, although improved, still don't work quite right. The targeting system for instance is still difficult to use especially when multiple targets are present. The camera angle can be annoying as well, giving close views of walls and other things. Since the rest of the game is done well however, most will find these issues minor and won't distract from the game much.
As for the graphics, they could have been better but are still above average. The hands that look like squash are distracting but there is enough detail in the rest of the game to look past it. They also get away with other minor graphical blemishes due to a great physics engine. Driving the various vehicles around town is a blast as they each handle differently, accurately portraying a sense of both weight and size that most games never achieve. Rounding out the experience, the audio is in a class of its own with an immense amount of music, great sound effects, and solid voice acting from actors like Ray Liotta.
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City brings back the success of Grand Theft Auto III with enough new improvements to keep the game from feeling stale. Fans of the Grand Theft Auto series won't be disappointed as Rockstar Games once again combines mature themes with solid gameplay aspects for a highly entertaining and long lasting experience.