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Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories review

The PSP's best free-roaming crime orgy graduates to the big leagues

Pros

  • Controls better than on PSP
  • Awesome '80s soundtrack
  • Still a great GTA game

Cons

  • Looks like ass
  • No multiplayer
  • Uneven mission difficulty

Despite garnering a ton of interest from fans when it hit in late 2006, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories didn't sell quite as well as other GTA titles. It could be that gamers are getting sick of the same recycled gameplay, but what's more likely is that they were just waiting for the game to arrive on PS2, instead of the notoriously hard-to-control PSP. If you're in that latter camp, then here's your chance to pick up the best GTA since San Andreas.

If you already caught it on the PSP, though, don't expect anything new. The multiplayer modes and custom-soundtrack feature have been stripped out and replaced by the smoother, rumble-enabled PS2 controls and a budgetastic price, but otherwise this is the same adventure that hit in October. Which, so long as you're not looking for multiplayer, isn't a bad thing at all.

Set in 1984 (two years before Vice City), Vice City Stories stars straight-laced Victor Vance, who - despite starting out as GTA's most boring protagonist - eventually becomes the series' most conflicted and most tragic anti-hero. He's also the big brother of Vice City sidekick Lance Vance, a walking disaster who shows up to comically ruin things and drag Vic deep into Florida's drug-smuggling underworld.

VCS is more than just a new story, however. Aside from serving up a sprawling, colorful, freely explorable city filled with jackable cars, boats, helicopters and even Jet Skis, it brings a few new features to the table. One of these is empire-building, which enables you to attack, take over and manage illegal rackets run by rival gangs, with the eventual goal of wiping your enemies off the map and owning Vice City's underworld.

Despite garnering a ton of interest from fans when it hit in late 2006, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories didn't sell quite as well as other GTA titles. It could be that gamers are getting sick of the same recycled gameplay, but what's more likely is that they were just waiting for the game to arrive on PS2, instead of the notoriously hard-to-control PSP. If you're in that latter camp, then here's your chance to pick up the best GTA since San Andreas.

If you already caught it on the PSP, though, don't expect anything new. The multiplayer modes and custom-soundtrack feature have been stripped out and replaced by the smoother, rumble-enabled PS2 controls and a budgetastic price, but otherwise this is the same adventure that hit in October. Which, so long as you're not looking for multiplayer, isn't a bad thing at all.

Set in 1984 (two years before Vice City), Vice City Stories stars straight-laced Victor Vance, who - despite starting out as GTA's most boring protagonist - eventually becomes the series' most conflicted and most tragic anti-hero. He's also the big brother of Vice City sidekick Lance Vance, a walking disaster who shows up to comically ruin things and drag Vic deep into Florida's drug-smuggling underworld.

VCS is more than just a new story, however. Aside from serving up a sprawling, colorful, freely explorable city filled with jackable cars, boats, helicopters and even Jet Skis, it brings a few new features to the table. One of these is empire-building, which enables you to attack, take over and manage illegal rackets run by rival gangs, with the eventual goal of wiping your enemies off the map and owning Vice City's underworld.

More Info

GenreAction
DescriptionAnother PSP round of carjacking, gangster-blasting, drug-running and everything else-ing, this time in the pastel-and-neon, thong-watching capital of the USA, Vice City.
Franchise nameGrand Theft Auto
UK franchise nameGrand Theft Auto
PlatformPSP, PS2
US censor ratingMature, Mature
UK censor rating18+, 18+
Alternative namesGTA: Vice City Stories, GTA: VCS, GTA: VCS
Release date:30 October 2006 (US), 20 October 2006 (UK)
Available platforms:PS2
Genre:Action

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

After graduating from college in 2000 with a BA in journalism, I worked for five years as a copy editor, page designer and videogame-review columnist at a couple of mid-sized newspapers you've never heard of. My column eventually got me a freelancing gig with GMR magazine, which folded a few months later. I was hired on full-time by GamesRadar in late 2005, and have since been paid actual money to write silly articles about lovable blobs.
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