Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories
The 80′s… Sigh… When it was hip to be square. Why didn’t I live my youth back then. To drown in a pool of bad taste. Who doesn’t dream about that. To have a head rush on the music of Nik Kershaw or the crazy over the top version of Depeche Mode. To party down in a green-purple tracksuit. Sigh… the 80′s. What a decade. To alleviate my strange obsession with decadence, the nice people of Rockstar invented GTA Vice City. I’ve always liked this one more then other GTA games. I think the atmosphere did it. You can understand I was curious about GTA Vice City Stories.
Vic Vance is an officer in the army. He is certainly no pussy, but also not the killing maniac type. He does some dirty jobs without thinking properly to support his junk mother and his sick brother. Meanwhile, he keeps repeating drug abuse and criminal acts are very, very, very bad. It’s GTA, I don’t want to hear that from the main character. Tommy Vercetti was a mean gangster and he was proud of it. Vic Vance is just some crook who doesn’t know what to do. He goes from totally anti-drugs to driving drugs to every part of the city without asking questions. And how can you say you aren’t a criminal just after shooting the street to smithereens. He actually believes is, or so it seems. Some good advice, Rockstar: leave the main character as he is. Why make him a regular guy with feelings? He doesn’t have to worry about old people and babies.
Vice City Stories is a port of the original PSP game. Good fun for people who haven’t got a PSP, but want to enjoy themselves with some Vice City violence. Of course, there are more than enough reasons you shouldn’t port these games this easily. Don’t expect nice graphics, for instance. The engine clearly needs an update. I think Vice City has even looked better before. The bright colours combined with the lively streets compensate this. Too bad it was rather impossible to drive with the sun going down or up. You only see yourself staring at a bright dot on the screen. No disaster while just joyriding but very irritating while on a mission.
Nobody expected any innovation from this game. This wasn’t really necessary of course. As long as there’s enough fun and possibilities to be a jackass, it’s fine with me. Luckily, it’s the case with GTA Vice City Stories. The city isn’t as huge as San Andreas, but there’s still a wide environment to be seen. The missions are more or less the same: a healthy mix of shooting, driving, beating and pursuing. Not every mission is as good as promised. Some are quite stupid, yet the better missions make up for the dull ones.
The biggest addition to the first Vice City is the Empire System. You can compare this system with a criminal version of monopoly. It’s fairly easy to buy or take over buildings and begin a business in it. You can choose between different activities like robbing, protection, prostitution and many more. The more buildings you have, the more money you can cash in. If you want, you can accept missions to make more money, but these missions are rather pointless. You can earn enough money buy just buying and upgrading your building.
The music and soundtrack is by far the best I’ve heard in a long time. After the slightly disappointed soundtrack from Liberty City Stories, Rockstar hits the jackpot. Nik Kershaw, Depeche Mode, Blondie, Marvin Gaye, Motley Crue, New Order, Phil Collins… I can go on and on… And I haven’t even mentioned the crazy hosts of the stations. The radio advertising is as cynical as you’re used from GTA.
Too bad the rest of the game hasn’t got the same quality. The story is really weak for a GTA, but hey, it’s a budget game, what did you expect? Of course, there’s the fact that it’s just an add-on. The only nice thing in the story are the familiar characters and the psycho idiots who walk around Vice City. It’s a shame Vic Vance is such a worthless character. In other news, the game has an allround been there, done that feel. Been there graphics, done that gameplay. Let’s just remember it was nice to have been there again and do that again.