OK so we've all heard about the game, and if you haven't the where the hell have you been? Ok, so GTA is the series which causes controversy and anger with each new release. I can guarantee there will be parents up and down the country whining, how dare you expose my little Timmy to this kind of violence! Yet again gamers and the industry will be replying with, hey lady don't buy your kid 18 certificated games, you don't buy him porn do you?
With my rant out of the way, on to the game. Vice City is the follow on to the hugely successful GTA3. Originally the game was intended as a mission pack, but along the way it became its own game. VC boasts New features an improved graphics engine, minor bugs fixed improved AI and loads of extras such as a larger city, more weapons, more cars, and more speech. Now we all know that sequels can be abysmal, and the question on everyone's lips is, Can Vice City beat GTA3? Well, it can and it does, and then some.
I won't go in to any great depth with the storyline as you'll pick it up yourself. Simply you play Tommy a criminal who went to prison but refused to grass on his bosses. When he's released the gang set out to establish him in Vice City, unfortunately his first deal goes wrong, and you owe your bosses big time. The way the story is worked into the game is far superior to GTA3, but this is probably due to little touches in the game rather than the scriptwriters. Firstly, your character has a voice, may not seem like much now, but when your playing the game it really brings him to life. More importantly is the fact that the voice is done by Ray Liotta (Goodfellas). His cocky slick attitude really shines through and suits the game perfectly, for any Liotta fans out there you'll really feel his personality from Goodfellas throughout the course of the game.
Graphically GTA3 was way ahead of its time. Vice city only makes small improvements over the last game, but it's still impressive to look at. The game has been given a Miami style, and as it is set in the 80's there's loads of cringe worthy colours and fashion disasters everywhere you look. The new graphics engine allows for more pedestrians and cars on screen, smoother models, more vibrant textures and bugs have been fixed. The main bug that stood out on GTA3 was when road textures would magically disappear, fortunately this no longer a major issue. The draw in distance has been improved, though is still a long way away from perfection. The thing is, you won't notice draw in unless you're really looking for it. Most of the time you'll be concentrating that much on your immediate vicinity, that you won't care what's happening a mile up the road. Also there are interiors in the game, so you can go to your apartment or a mall or a mansion.
The big changes have been made in the game play department. A lot of people are probably thinking, if it isn't broke, then don't fix it. And I would normally agree, but with a GTA title you know that the improvements are going to be spot on. Rather than tweak the formula that they all ready had the developers decided to try some new ideas. Missions are generally more structured and multi tiered, so instead of doing simple errands you'll be doing way more complicated things. An example is one of the early missions where you are the side gunner in a helicopter, you have to take out the guards on the roof and in the grounds of a mansion without letting the copter get destroyed. Once you have landed you will have to fight your way through the mansion to the roof in order to snatch a brief case. Throughout the game the missions become more varied, difficult and fun. If you are to get wasted during a mission, you'll find a taxi waiting for you outside the hospital, for a small fee you will get taken to the mission contact point.
The money making games have returned from GTA3 with one addition. Not only will you be able to become a vigilante, a paramedic, a fireman and taxi driver. You can now be a pizza delivery boy, where you have to sling pizzas at your customers. Money making is far more important in VC than it was in GTA3. Instead of being given money every time you blow something up, you now really have to earn it. This is more important now, because there is way more to buy. Instead of being given your hideouts, you now have to buy the. As your first place doesn't have a garage you'll be especially keen to buy one that does. This really throws the balance of the game, and you'll be more keen to lose the cops and use the pay and spray, 'cos getting caught is costly, especially if you have to restart a mission and have to buy your weaponry again. Finding your way around the game is made easier by the in-game map. You don't need to memorize as many locations as you did in the previous game. This is made especially important due to the scale of the city. Another way of shedding the cops is by changing your clothes, slipping in to a pastel suit will get rid of up to two wanted stars.
I've already mentioned that you can purchase hideouts, well you can also buy companies, such as the car showroom, or a strip club. If you do the missions for these places then they will start making cash for you, allowing you to buy more companies.
The amount of vehicles is fantastic, not only is there a wide range of cars to choose from but there are also, boats, helicopters and motorbikes. Motorbikes were the big thing missing from GTA3. They are very, very fun. There's nothing like tearing up the back alleys on a little dirt bike.
A big improvement in the game is enemy AI. Enemies still won't chase you to the top level of a multistory car park and will still tray and shoot through floors and ceilings to get at you, but the cops are vicious little buggers. Your enemies will gang up on you, swat teams will rappel out of helicopters, and the cops will lay down spike strips to get you. Chases are now more difficult but more exhilarating with it.
The sound department has clearly had a lot of time spent on it. There are thousands of lines of pedestrian speech tons of well done voice acting for the in-game sequences. Most of important of all is the radio stations. These now feature music from the 80's and you'll remember listening to these classics the first time round. There's nothing like running over old ladies, whilst listening to the Cutting Crew.
The controls have been tweaked just a little, targeting is now easier as it will automatically target the nearest threat instead of the nearest person. So when you've got a gang of thugs after you, you automatically target the smg wielding lunatic rather than the little old lady who just happens to be walking by. With the right weapon you can target individual parts of a car such as the driver or the wheels. So you can take out the driver with one shot or drastically slow vehicles down.
I've said a lot in this review, though the truth is I haven't scratched the surface of the game. The game not only looks like the 80's but it feels like the 80's. This is simply the best game ever, well, until the next one comes out.