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Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories review

Even the littlest GTA brother kicks everyone else's teeth in

Pros

  • Trademark free-form GTA gameplay
  • Compelling story and great voice work
  • Incredibly fair price: $20

Cons

  • Smaller than previous two PS2 GTAs
  • PSP multiplayer modes amputated
  • Trademark GTA swishy vehicle handling

An hour into the latest entry in this revered line of open-ended, third-person crime actioners, we've got a problem. The Sindacco crime family is sending waves of enforcers to blow up a casino we've been charged with protecting. The trouble is, there are only three cars full of the pompous bastards, and we can't decide which way to ice them all.

The first group was easy - we just let them drive up, then ran over them one by one with the semi truck we'd jacked. When the second carload turned up, we got more creative, first chasing their car around, trying to run it into the wall. When they snaked out of that jam and ran up to the casino, we unloaded with our Uzi.

That'll do the job, but still doesn't net you many style points.For the thirdgroup, we'd had time to steal and wreck so many cars that we'd blocked off the nearby streets andcreated a traffic jam. The Sindaccos had to park farther away andapproach the casinothrough the one narrow crack we left them - which brought them right into range of our flamethrower (which can also blow up entire vehicles if you torch them well enough)and when it ran out of juice, our chainsaw. Ewww.

That, in a nutshell, is what the GTA games do so very, very well, and what no other game has even come close to matching. They give you a huge, living city and tell you, "It's yours. Go tear it apart any way you want. Steal cars. Drive them. Jump them. Wreck them. Steal boats, cop cars, fire trucks, taxis and other stuff, too, and play with them. Blow stuff up. Or not. Do whatever."

That would be enough for most games, but the GTA titleswrap a decent, adult-themed gangster story aroundthe mayhem- though you can also ignore the story if youfeel like it - toss in some black-hearted, dead-on parody, and voila! You've got a modern masterpiece.

Liberty City Stories is no exception. Originally a PSP exclusive (see our review of that version here), the game casts the player as Toni Cipriani, a back-in-town mobster working his way up through the ranks of a crime family. The setting is the same city that you set aflame back in 2001's original PS2 bombshell Grand Theft Auto III, but the action takes place a few years earlier.

More Info

GenreAction
DescriptionUncompromisingly brings over everything that makes GTA unique and essential.
Franchise nameGrand Theft Auto
UK franchise nameGrand Theft Auto
PlatformPS2, PSP
US censor ratingMature, Mature
UK censor rating,
Alternative namesGTA Liberty City Stories, GTA: LCS, GTA: LCS
Release date:6 June 2006 (US), 23 June 2006 (UK)
Available platforms:PS2
Genre:Action

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

I was the founding Executive Editor/Editor in Chief here at GR, charged with making sure we published great stories every day without burning down the building or getting sued. Which isn't nearly as easy as you might imagine. I don't work for GR any longer, but I still come here - why wouldn't I? It's awesome. I'm a fairly average person who has nursed an above average love of video games since I first played Pong just over 30 years ago. I entered the games journalism world as a freelancer and have since been on staff at the magazines Next Generation and PSM before coming over to GamesRadar. Outside of gaming, I also love music (especially classic metal and hard rock), my lovely wife, my pet pig Bacon, Japanese monster movies, and my dented, now dearly departed '89 Ranger pickup truck. I pray sincerely. I cheer for the Bears, Bulls, and White Sox. And behind Tyler Nagata, I am probably the GR staffer least likely to get arrested... again.
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