Finally, the latest game in the Grand Theft Auto series is on the PC. Having played all of the previous games I was disappointed that I had to wait so long after GTA3 for Vice City, however some things can't be rushed and thankfully Rockstar games seem to agree.
In Vice City you play Tommy Vercetti, a man who is not shy to indulging in a bit of crime. Having spent 15 years in Liberty City jail he has been sent to Vice City to head up a new section of the Mob. Things don't go too well though as during the first deal he loses millions and the coke which he was meant to collect. Now, with his boss on his tail he has to recover the money and get some revenge.
Vice City starts off similar to GTA3, you have your hideout, where you can save the game and various points around the city you have to get to get a job. What the job is depends on the client and those crazy people at Rockstar who think these things up.
In Vice City they have made things a little harder from the off. For example it does not take too long before you're into gun fights and end up blowing things up. A good example is a mission where you demolish a building, and it's no tiny one either. Using a remote control helicopter you have to plant 4 time bombs in certain places in the building to help it collapse. Once you have done that, the building explodes, collapses and the mission is over.
Missions do vary a lot and amongst the hard one you can pick up some very easy ones that help your rank and allow you to advance a little further in the game.
The layout of Vice City is a little like GTA3. You have various islands, which make up the city, but you only have access to one. The great thing about Vice City is that the other islands can be unlocked very early in the game, allowing you to explore the whole city at your leisure.
Now, the game is very similar to GTA3, the concept remains the same and everything you can do is almost the same. I say almost because they have added in some things that I think every fan of GTA3 wanted. Namely Motorbikes and Helicopters.
Yes, it has been a while but they have got round to adding bikes back in for the first time since the first game. Now you can steal a bike by punching the other driver off and charge down the roads weaving in and out of the cars. The best thing about the bikes is that you can now explore the city at speed. Whereas before you had to get out of your car to look behind buildings or down side streets, now you simply jump on a bike and ride down there. It's definitely a great addition, but not the best!
The best bit is the helicopters. They are one available once you unlock the second large island but they do make it easy to move about the city and if you're not bothered about the missions but just want to explore for a while you can see everything on offer. The controls do take a little getting used to but once mastered you'll be able to go literally anywhere.
The graphics in Vice City are very different from GTA3. The main reason is that the game is set in 1986 in a coastal city where there are massive beaches and the weather is hot. To reflect this, the majority of the cars look and handle differently. Also the clothes you wear are more 80's and Hawaiian than before.
The cars have been improved over the GTA3 versions with regards to the damage they can take and the general look. An example is that you can take a baseball bat out and practically smash the car to bits, also you get glint off the sun on the windows and edges. The wheels can also be punctured, usually by spike strips thrown into the road by the police during a chase but also by simply by hitting a wall or curb at the wrong angle!
Every aspect of the game engine has been improved, people now walk in groups, wait for buses and fight amongst themselves without you even joining in. More weapons are also available. Many of them you cant carry at the same time but the variation does make it better. You can pickup a knuckle-duster, golf club, cleaver, sword, chainsaw and a number of guns, all of which cause mayhem when let rip in the middle of a group of people.
One area, which didn't really bother me in GTA3, was the ability to buy buildings or houses. Sure now I have seen it I think it's a great idea but at the time it was not something I thought of. What I am talking about is a new feature in Vice City that allows you to buy certain buildings or parts of a building. You start off in a small flat near the beach but throughout the game you can actually put your money to use. Outside some of the buildings are little spinning blue or green icons. If you walk over them you are given some information about buying that building, which includes the price. If you want you can buy clubs, apartments and even a luxury condo.
The radio in Vice City has also been overhauled. The music really matches the location and some of the voices will definitely be recognisable from GTA3. You get nice mellow music, some rock n roll and the songs are all real. Yes, Vice City is fully licenced! (Thanks for ponting out this stupid mistake Seth)
Overall Vice City is the best. Better than GTA3 in almost every area. Loading times are down, it now takes less time to access different areas of the city and even get into the game and there are more hidden packages and vigilante missions to complete. If you loved GTA3 you'll definitely love Vice City! Rockstar have definitely improved GTA3 and I'm in no doubt that the next GTA game will be even better. All of the additions are well worth the asking price!