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Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories review

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

Don't let the free money and bribes fool you into thinking VCS is a cakewalk. If anything, you'll need them to get through the missions, which are multi-stage affairs with difficulty levels that bounce between startlingly easy and seemingly impossible. On the upside, the action is the same fast-paced, addictive craziness that GTA has always delivered,and being able to tackle it with a Dual Shock pad instead of wrestling with the PSP's controls makes it even more fun. In addition tobeing able to swim, Viccan bust out throws, low blows and enemy-straddling beatdowns when he's empty-handed. And when he's not, the auto-aiming feels better than usual; long an inaccurate pain in the ass, it's now far more likely to latch ontobad guyswith guns than it is to target harmless old ladies.

Don't let the free money and bribes fool you into thinking VCS is a cakewalk. If anything, you'll need them to get through the missions, which are multi-stage affairs with difficulty levels that bounce between startlingly easy and seemingly impossible. On the upside, the action is the same fast-paced, addictive craziness that GTA has always delivered,and being able to tackle it with a Dual Shock pad instead of wrestling with the PSP's controls makes it even more fun. In addition tobeing able to swim, Viccan bust out throws, low blows and enemy-straddling beatdowns when he's empty-handed. And when he's not, the auto-aiming feels better than usual; long an inaccurate pain in the ass, it's now far more likely to latch ontobad guyswith guns than it is to target harmless old ladies.

The game does have a couple of major flaws, though - the computer intelligence is even dumber than usual. Your enemies usually can't shoot for shit at long range, and we spent countless battles just standing around in the open, gunning them down in quick succession while one, maybe two of their bullets connected.

Also, nobody's ever accused the GTA series of being particularly pretty, but it's painfully obvious that Vice City Stories is a PSP game stretched out to fit your TV. The textures are muddy, the lines are blurry and although everything animates beautifully, a game built for the limitations of Sony's handheld comes with inevitable problems - like buildings that suddenly pop up on the near horizon. Granted, Liberty City Stories did the same thing, but that doesn't make this any easier to look at.

The game does have a couple of major flaws, though - the computer intelligence is even dumber than usual. Your enemies usually can't shoot for shit at long range, and we spent countless battles just standing around in the open, gunning them down in quick succession while one, maybe two of their bullets connected.

Also, nobody's ever accused the GTA series of being particularly pretty, but it's painfully obvious that Vice City Stories is a PSP game stretched out to fit your TV. The textures are muddy, the lines are blurry and although everything animates beautifully, a game built for the limitations of Sony's handheld comes with inevitable problems - like buildings that suddenly pop up on the near horizon. Granted, Liberty City Stories did the same thing, but that doesn't make this any easier to look at.

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
UK censor rating18+
Alternative namesGTA: Vice City Stories, GTA: VCS, GTA: VCS
Release date30 October 2006 (US), 20 October 2006 (UK)

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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