Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Review

Vice City is a city filled with hidden areas, bonus items, and secret jumps, and a big part of the game is finding them all.  Finding and hitting the jumps is particularly fun, and the game will track of all of your jump's stats - height, distance, etc. - and financially reward you accordingly.  There are also plenty of optional bonus missions not tied to the game's storyline that you can find and take on for additional cash or other bonuses.  Particularly violent but wickedly enjoyable are the rampages which challenge you to kill a minimum number of rival gang members in a set time limit.  Some missions are also unlocked by buying property, a feature new to Vice City.  Complete the missions for a property you've purchased and it will start generating an income stream for you.  Other properties give you places to store cars between missions or play sessions, save locations, or access to new vehicles such as helicopters and speed boats.

Vice City was first released as a console game, but in a switch from the usual state of affairs control in the PC version is actually better than that of the PS2.  Driving in both versions is easy to do, with nice responsive control.  The cars in the game all handle differently though, so don't expect to weave through traffic in a delivery van the way you can with the game's equivalent of a Ferrari.  Where the PC version beats the PS2 version is the control when you are on foot.  The free-look capability of the PC version gives you a lot better control in gunfights than you get with the PS2's target-lock system.  In addition to the control, the graphics have been improved as well.  Vice City has a new graphics engine on the PC that takes advantage of your computer's ability to deliver higher resolutions and more detailed textures than is possible on the PS2.

Vice City's missions take place on land, in the air, and on water.

If you enjoyed GTA3, then you'll definitely love Vice City.  GTA3 is a great game, but Vice City is even better.  Not only do you get the new features already mentioned, plus others like the ability to steal and ride motorcycles,  you get an even better storyline and a city with a lot more character.  The radio stations are still in the game, and along with the hilarious commercials, DJs, and listener phone calls you get a great variety of 80s music.  Whether you prefer new wave, rap, metal, pop, or even Latin music for your nostalgia fix, Vice City has got you covered.

Vice City can be occasionally frustrating as some of the missions are pretty difficult.  One that especially comes to mind involves piloting a remote controlled toy helicopter while having to manage its rotor speed, pitch, and rotation with a non-intuitive key layout that can't be re-mapped.  However, none of the missions are impossible and with a little work you'll be able to complete the more difficult ones, move on, and instantly forget any frustration that you felt.  The gameplay is so open-ended and enjoyable, you'll find yourself playing the game for hours and coming back to it again and again.  One word of warning though, if you haven't guessed it yet the game is quite violent.  You'll do plenty of killing in the game, using a variety of weapons including guns, cars, golf clubs, katanas, and chainsaws.  The violence is constrained to splashes of cartoon-like red blood, with the exception being head shots which cause the victim's head to disappear and blood to spurt from the neck.  It's definitely not for kids, but you'll see far more graphic and stomach-turning violence in many mainstream movies these days than you will here.

In The End, This Game Hath Been Rated: 96%.  If you thought Grand Theft Auto 3 was good, just wait until you hit the streets of Vice City. 

System Requirements:  Pentium III 800; 128 MB RAM;  32 MB Video RAM; 8x CD-ROM;  915 MB Hard Drive Space;  Mouse.


Also reviewed on:
  •  · PlayStation 2 

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