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PS2 Review - 'Grand Theft Auto : Vice City'

by The Six Billion Dollar Man on Oct. 30, 2002 @ 3:30 a.m. PST

Grand Theft Auto: Vice City will surpass the unprecedented gameplay, cinematic graphics and immersive audio experience that gamers associate with Grand Theft Auto 3, which was released in October 2001 and has rapidly become the fastest selling, highest grossing game for PS2 to-date, with global sales exceeding 6 million units. Check out to read about our first impression...

Don Johnson, eat your heart out – there’s a new player in town. I woke up early this morning and raced to my local game store to acquire the latest installment in the Grand Theft Auto lineage, Vice City. With a tuned graphics engine and a whole new era, Vice City offers everything GTA 3 has and incorporates just about everything I wished GTA 3 had. This is just a quick review, more of my first impressions, and I’ll follow up after I’ve progressed further and beaten it. Queue the Miami Vice music.

The basic plot of Vice City is you are sent from Liberty City down to Vice City as an ambassador to the mob. The mob knows the amount of money that can be made from the “action” in Vice City and now wants a piece of it. You are sent to meet the mob’s contact and make a deal with the Columbians. The transaction goes to hell in a hand basket, and you are forced to ditch the “green” and hightail it out of there. That is the story I have seen thus far, and from the look of things, a grand story it will be.

Despite the obvious change in the era, it has the same controls and fits like a glove. Anyone who has touched GTA 3 will have no problem picking up where they left off. Many of your favorite ‘80s autos have made a comeback. A quick list would be the Cheetah, Infernus, the Cabby’s, dune buggies, Stinger, Sentinels, Land Stalkers, and the Fuzz. One thing to note is the Cheetah resembles the classic Dalorean auto (88 miles an hour, anyone?). And yes, your favorite radio stations are back, blasting tunes by Michael Jackson and glam rock bands to truly immerse you in the ‘80s. Many of your old enemies from Liberty City are also back, mainly in the form of the Columbians and the Mob. There is the addition of the Mexicans and Cubans taking the place of the Yakuza and the Rasta’s, but maybe the original villains will show their faces further down the road. So many possibilities … I MUST PLAY! :)

Graphics-wise, there are little changes here and there, and many of the models have been polished to reduce the blocky polygons seen in GTA 3. Both the model and sounds of each weapon have also been redone, and the addition of the M60 machine gun makes it all the more fun. Speaking of additions, you are now given a map of the entire city and an indicator that shows where you are. No more endless driving, trying to follow the pink dot on your radar, but then again, endless wandering was quite fun. One cool addition is the option of purchasing Vice City real estate. I could not purchase any houses, for you start with an empty wallet, but this only adds to my eagerness to get into the game. The “game world” itself has also changed. Pedestrians no longer walk around aimlessly, they sit down on benches and have conversations with each other, and if you happen to be there at the right time, they will even fight each other. It’s quite fun to be driving by and see a group of guys beating the living crap out of one poor fool.

To sum it up, Vice City is everything it has been hyped up to be. Rockstar delivers another blockbuster title to the masses. With that said, GO BUY IT!!! With a price tag of $49.99 (yeah, I was surprised too), you get more than your money’s worth, with new cars, new city, and a new era. Vice City has worthplaying all over it and easily scores 10 out of 10. Now, if you will excuse me, it’s time to go find my scooter and cause some trouble.

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