Rating

A+

Specific Ratings

GraphicsB+
SoundA+
GameplayA+
Replay ValueA+
Learning CurveA+

Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Features over 100 songs and 9 radio stations.
  • Features 21 story missions and 37 side missions.
  • Realistic Miami setting sets tone for entire game.
  • All-star cast doing voice work for characters.
  • Lots of Easter Eggs linking other GTA games.
  • Features almost 100 vehicles and 30+ weapons.
Cons
  • Entire city isn't open from the beginning.
  • Targeting system is still a main concern in VC.
  • Graphics are still choppy on characters.
  • Some missions are difficult and require luck.

Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (PlayStation 2)

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Summary

After getting out of prison, you are sent to Vice City to oversee the drug market, but upon arrival you are ripped off and forced to find the person responsible. Take over the city in style with fast cars, sexy women, and a whole lot of cocaine.

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Description

Grand Theft Auto Vice City is one of the best games ever released on the Playstation 2 (and later released on Xbox and PC). From the moment the first cutscene begins you can see the detail R* put into this open world game. First off, you begin the game as Tommy Vercetti. After spending 15 years in prison, you're sent to Vice City by your boss, Sonny Forelli, to oversee a drug deal. Once it goes bad, you flee to your hotel and your journey through the drug fueled, corrupt city begins. With your lawyer by your side, you will meet many people, some friendly, and some who are out to back stab you at every turn of the corner. It's up to you to find out who was responsible for the botched drug deal, but things don't go as planned because the more people you meet, the more complicated things become. Everyone needs a favor, and if you want the info you seek you have no choice but to help these people out, whether or not you trust them.

The main story is filled with loyal friends, psychos, back stabbing, and draw dropping moments. It has 21 missions, and throughout the missions, the story never loses its edge. From the beginning cutscene to the ending sequence, the story will have you guessing the entire time. There's plenty of plot twists and turns everywhere. If the main story isn't enough for you, there are also about 37 side missions to do. Each of these brings its own side story to the mix, and just like the main story they will never get boring. The entire game offers a wide range of variety, some missions will have you driving a boat, a helicopter, a sea sparrow, a US military tank and even a limousine. Unlike GTA III this game doesn't feel like you're an errand boy. You're clearly in control of everything here, although you still have to worry about Sonny Forelli paying you a visit you're obviously making your own moves and taking over the city. Vice City has a lot of new characters and a few returning ones from GTA III. Each character has their own story of why they're in Vice City and every story is an interesting one. Whether you're rubbing shoulders with the rich and powerful people like Avery Carrington, or Colonel Juan Garcia Cortez, or hanging out with porn star Candy Suxxx, every character interaction is an exciting exploration into the different worlds of Vice City. Because everyone feels and acts different and everybody needs different types of favors the game always feels new and fresh, no matter how many hours you've already put into it. In GTA III most of the missions required you go and kill somebody or find your next target. In Vice City your goal is to find who stole the drugs and then take over the city. Because you're not only looking for success the story allows you to be more open and free, you will not just go around killing everybody, you will hunt down gangs, distribute fliers for your next movie, pick up packages and drop them off in a safe location, rob a bank, save your friend from capture, bomb an enemy business, get a bike back from a rival gang, etc. With so many missions available the fun never ends and as I've mentioned before the missions never become repetitive because each mission offers something new and exciting.

Once you've had your fill of the story mode there are a ton of odd jobs that can be completed. A few returning favorites are here: Stolen car exports, Ambulance, Taxi driver, Hidden packages, Rampages, Vigilante, and Firefighter along with many new jobs such as Ice Cream Distribution, Street races, RC missions, Test track, Arena missions, Cone crazy, Pizza delivery, PCJ Playground, Chopper Checkpoint races, store robberies, and the Shooting range. Each odd job offers its own unique incentive to completing each one. Whether it's for unlimited sprint abilities or just a larger cash payout each job feels fresh and never feels old no matter how many times you attempt it. Even after a failure it makes you want to keep trying it over an over until you pass it. Some of these odd jobs come up as the story expands and some are available once you're allowed to start buying property. Altogether there are 15 properties to acquire, some of which offer new missions or jobs and some just offer garages to store your favorite vehicles. This is a great new addition to the series since in GTA III you could only store 3 or 4 vehicles in the entire game. Plus they give you many places to save your game throughout the city as all 15 locations are spread out.

The environment is one of the best you'll see in any video game. From the beach to the buildings to the palm trees everything feels right and is blended together perfectly. It is very realistic to the 1980'2 Miami setting and the game offers a wide range of different settings. The ocean, downtown VC, the ghettos of Little Havana, and to the rich lifestyle of Starfish Island the entire city is beaming with life. Regardless of the area you visit the setting is so visually interesting that you'll want to drive around aimlessly just to take everything in. The city shines with sunshine, the lights glitter at night and the roads become slippery in the rain, every ounce of detail is amazing. The game also has about 100 drivable vehicles from a Faggio to an Infernus. There are a ton of choices to fit your needs. If it's a sports car you're looking for, a van, a motorcycle, boat, or a delivery truck this game has it all. Be on the lookout for those special vehicles to steal, some offer unique rewards. Diaz's Admiral is bullet and explosion proof and there are many other damage proof vehicles at your disposal. And of course there are cool collectibles to save, like Love Fist's limo, Candy Suxxx's limo, or the Haitian hearse that has a coffin in the back of it. There are tons to choose from. Weapons are a big part of the experience. There are almost 40 weapons in Vice City, they range from your standard Brass knuckles to a Golf club, Baseball bat, Chainsaw, Tear gas, Grenades, Colt python, Spaz shotgun, Ingram Mac 10, MP5, Ruger, Colt M4, M60, Minigun, PSG-1, and Sniper rifle. Whatever your mission requires you will be sure to find the perfect weapon to suit your needs. Some of these weapons are fun to use and although none of them are overpowering they each get the job done.

The voice acting is some of the best you'll find in any game, period. Every cutscene and every minute of dialogue feels real to the character you're interacting with. The majority of the voices are done by real-life stars: Ray Liotta, Tom Sizemore, Dennis Hopper, Burt Reynolds, Luis Guzman, Fairuza Balk, Deborah Harry, Jenna Jameson, Lawrence Taylor, Hunter Platin and over a dozen more people lend their voices for the characters. There are no cheesy one liners here, every sentence is on point and is very understandable to the task at hand. R* did a great job of finding the right talent for each character. The radio DJs are also great, each station has it's own dj and will not only play your favorite music but give you impressive dialogue as well. Whether they're telling you a story or a joke every moment feels like you're listening to a real radio station. Even the stations VCPR and K-Chat offer excellent voice work and a great listening experience. Although these are talk radio there are lots of things to discuss on these stations so they won't feel old for a very long time. The great thing about the radio stations in Vice City is that even though the game is long and even if you listen to different radio stations frequently there is a chance you might not even hear a particular song or maybe only hear it once or twice. The radio stations are very expansive. With over 100+ songs on 9 different radio stations there is sure to be something to your liking, whether you like Rock, hip-hop, Spanish, or new wave there is definitely a song for you. Each song is officially licensed for the game and feature some of the biggest music stars of the 1980's. Some of them include Michael Jackson, Lionel Richie, Run DMC, Whodini, INXS, Rick James, Kool & the Gang, Motley Crue, Ozzy Osbourne, Megadeth, Slayer, Judas Priest, Luther Vandross, Blondie, Tears For Fears, REO Speedwagon, Gary Numan, and many, many other artists. Each song isn't just a B-side for each artist, the songs are best hits and popular radio hits of their time. This is easily one of the greatest soundtracks ever created for a video game. Regardless of what kind of car you're driving or where you're headed you'll be hearing a great tune throughout the game.

As great as this game is Grand Theft Auto Vice City does have its faults. First off the targeting system is still a major hassle. When you're chasing an enemy down the street and attempt to target him with a weapon the automatic targeting system will constantly target a pedestrian even while you're taking fire from your enemies. This has been an issue in many GTA games and it shows here. Camera issues are a huge problem also, especially in tight places. When trying to look around for an exit or a certain item the camera will sometimes zoom around uncontrollably and will sometimes look into a building, cutting off your view and sometimes exposing you to unwanted attention from your enemies. This won't happen very often but it is extremely annoying. Another problem this game faces is that some of the missions are very difficult and often times require luck rather than skill to pass. 'The Driver' is one example of this, you have to race Hilary in a street race and if you beat him he will help you in a future mission. In this race there isn't much you can do to keep Hilary from winning because he is too good and too fast, you just have to hope he makes mistake or crashes into another car. At the same time you also need to drive a flawless race or he can still pass you up. Missions like this are very annoying because you're relying on the mistakes of others just to win. The same goes with the Hot Ring odd job. Cars will intentionally crash into you and prevent you from winning, I noticed this happened a lot during the last few laps. I even had a car once jump the median after he had stopped just to ram me into the wall on the very last lap. Some missions and odd jobs are more annoying than fun, but there aren't too many of them around.

The graphics on the characters aren't very good, either. The level design, the cars and the interiors are very nice looking, however the characters often don't look right. The hands look clumpy, the faces look square and sometimes jumping down a couple of stairs can cause you to lose life. The balance is sometimes off beat compared to the rest of the game. As good as everything else looks I'm surprised at how unattractive the character models look.

Overall this is one of the greatest games ever created. I think this is a must own for any video game fan, not just because of the story but because it has a wide range of things to do. This game has something for everybody, you can change outfits, steal your favorite sports car, cruise the beach on a motorcycle, save people in an ambulance, drive a boat in the ocean, fly overhead and shoot people below, start a gang war and buying property. That is just the tip of the iceberg of what you can do in this massively large game. It offers too many things to do and even more places to see and it will not let you down.

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