Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories, Review PS2, Rockstar
Back to Vice City we go, this time to take control of Vic Vance. The game is set a couple of years before the original Vice City and Vic is the brother of one of the originals main characters - Lance Vance. Lance joins the army, but before you could say boo to a goose, his corrupt commanding officer has him picking up cocaine, ho's and generally blowing sh*t up. Vince is trying to gather cash to help his sick brother and support his family and whilst voices his concerns about his superiors orders, he gets on with them anyway. Flimsy, but ever so Vice City. The most welcoming thing on your return to Vice City however, are the neon 80's graphics and Hawaiian shirts which almost welcome you home.
As with Vice City stories, you should be warned not to expect anything in terms of functionality as was seen with San Andreas. Making an unwelcome return is the old analogue stick camera control, not being able to climb over obstacles, no multi-player mode (as seen on the PSP and to an extent in San Andreas) and the old school R1 targeting system. This is something you would expect for a tarted up import of PSP title but it does contain a few surprises as they swimming element is now included and whilst missions aren't as all engaging as a normal GTA release they are not as over simplified as they were in Liberty City Stories. This said, neither are the characters, with a lot of old familiar faces returning (e.g. Phil Cassidy, Umberto Robina, & Ricardo Diaz) and generally a more engaging cast and all round account than that of Liberty City Stories. Also returning is the 80's soundtrack which I won't spoil for you but again it is a fun soundtrack in combination with the irreverent and insulting DJ chatter.
Vice City Stories is nothing new in terms of Grand Theft Auto titles but offer more of the same. The graphics and game engine are exactly what you would expect. If you played Vice City don't expect anything new in terms of the way the City looks (there are a few exceptions as it is set a couple of years earlier but nothing monumental), how badly the 80's style cars drive (the driving mechanics are identical but for some reason I seemed to fishtail in Vice City much more than in any other titles) or indeed the way the City itself sounds. I suppose some may be disappointed by the fact that it is more a less a PSP release on PS2, but if you realise that before you get into it there should not be any problems. Rockstar have again priced the ported version as a budget title and are not trying to pretend it is something that it is not. If you fancy revisiting an old favourite but with new missions and characters to remember why you enjoyed it so much in the first place, then off you go.
7 out of 10