Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
When the original Grand Theft Auto got released at the end of 2001 two things got my attention, the number of good reviews and the number of worried parents. Everyone that had a clue about good games loved it resulting in monster sales but, on the other hand, there was a lot of resistance against the violence and language abuse resulting in a sales ban in several countries.
With the release of this successor it was remarkable how absent the resistance was. It looked like the atmosphere around this game changed and it was OK to like it. Except from some conservative countries it got banned nowhere and that’s a good thing to be honest. Censoring a game is not the solution if you ask me.
Over to the game now, if you want to skip the review and just run to the store and buy it, go ahead because it’s a great game.
You play the role of Tommy Vercetti, a member of the Forelli clan that just got back on the streets of Liberty City after being locked up for fifteen years. Your boss, Sonny Forelli, is a bit nervous about you being free and sends you down south to Vice City. Your first deal goes horribly wrong and you are left behind without money and with a fairly pissed godfather. What follows is a great adventure in the 1980’s set in a Miami Vice style.
The first thing you notice is, of course, the cool 80’s songs on the radio stations. It goes from 80’s pop to hard rock, from Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean to Nena’s 99 Luftballons. What’s cooler then cruising down the road in your convertible with some sweet 80’s tunes coming from your stereo? Another great aspect of the sound is the nice voiceovers. Tommy is played by Ray “Goodfellas” Liotta, other famous people doing a voice include Jenna Jameson and Dennis Hopper. Other than that, nothing changed compared to GTAIII but why would you want to change a perfect thing ? The sound in this game can compete with the best out there and maybe even do better.
Vice City uses the same graphics engine as the original GTAIII with some tweaks and modifications. You have better rain effects, car windows reflect the sun, higher resolutions and some other small changes. Those small changes make the game ever more playable than it already was. Two negative points are the high system specs and the low detail in-game models. Another remarkable thing is the fact that they made Vice City a lot bigger than Liberty City, yet the loading times are really short.
By creating a bigger city they created a better gameplay if you ask me. There is way more to see and do in Vice City. Not only did the number in missions get increased, they changed the setup a bit too. You are not confined to doing other people’s dirty work anymore. After getting enough cash you can buy your own properties and start defending your own interests. Every time you acquire a new building, your own men are present in the surroundings taking out members of rival gangs. This way of completing missions suits me a lot and I think many other gamers agree.
One of the biggest changes in the game is the presence of bikes. They come in four flavours: race, chopper, booster, and cross. The cross bike was my favourite because of the smooth handling combined with enough speed for doing trick jumps.
Rockstar also listened to the community this time and they put more variation in the missions. It’s not just killing and racing but you have to take photos, fly radio controlled helicopters and planes and other neat stuff.
Most of you already know all of this because of the PS2 version that got released some months ago so here are the changes they made for the PC version.
- Skins for the main character.
– MP3 radio station that plays your own MP3’s.
– Generate a statistics file.
– An extra mode that enables mouse control for your main character and vehicles.
– A Replay option.
I don’t know whether that’s enough to justify buying it when you already own a PS2 version but it is an extra motivation for those who don’t.
Conclusion: Up to a couple of weeks ago I only played two games regularly: Quake3 (urban terror) and Warcraft3. I couldn’t do anything but add this great game to my list and it will stay there for some time.
Too bad there is no multiplayer option because that would make it stay there for years. I’m just hoping there will be a multiplayer mod just like they are making one for GTAIII.
Nice graphics, amazing soundtrack and voiceovers, awesome cars and physics model, variation in gameplay and not to forget: A sweet 80’s setting that leaves no one untouched. In short, one of the best games I’ve seen in months.