Written by  :  Steelysama (106)
Written on  :  Oct 07, 2004
Platform  :  Windows
Rating  :  4.86 Stars4.86 Stars4.86 Stars4.86 Stars4.86 Stars

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Very addictive, ridiculously fun. Say hello to my little friend.

The Good

When I played through Grand Theft Auto III, I became an instant fan of Rockstar's work. The game was fun, complex, and open-ended. No game I had ever played before this had given me so much enjoyment from just futzing about between missions. And then the mission structure itself was well-paced and the storyline was great.

Enter Vice City. GTA: Vice City took what I loved about GTAIII and made it better while adding a great 80's theme to everything.

This time around you are no longer a nameless character as you were in the first one. You're Tommy Vercetti, bad-ass mobster. The addition of a real character with a real personality who actually talked in the cutscenes was a big improvement over the previous game. It added to the storyline and made you care about who you were a little more.

Graphics also saw an improvement. Granted, there was not that much of a change in the engine itself. But in my opinion, graphics are at least 50% about what you do with them. It is on that count that Vice City shines. The design and outlay of the city is superb. The atmosphere that is set in each neighborhood is spot on. And, to top it all, the lighting effects in the game are great. I should also mention that where GTAIII seemed overly drab and used too many dark tones, Vice City's presentation is much brighter and just driving about these scenic places in your hot ride can be a pleasure.

80's, 80's, 80's. From great 80's music to the distinctively 80's atmosphere and gimmicks like an early model portable phone, Rockstar really came through with their chosen setting.

And speaking of the music. Besides the music in the game being an excellent mix of authentic 80's tunes, as before you can add your own MP3's to the game. So load up some Huey Lewis and Skid Row before you go on your rampage. Maybe some Motley Crue also?

The game is packed with GTA's own special brand of humor too. The radio features two talk stations this time around and, as usual, no one is safe from being skewered. As well, little gags abound, such as the "Cherry Popper" Ice Cream company.

So all of this and I have yet to talk about the best part of the game: gameplay. After all, gameplay is king. Vice City brings it and keeps it coming.

As you work your way through the storyline, you become a mafia boss and eventually make a play to essentially run the town. The amount of sheer coolness inherent in this scenario is hard to describe. It feeds that little guy inside of you who watched Scarface and said "Cooooool".

Along the way, you get to go through a wide array of interesting and challenging missions. Some are as "mundane" as a street race while others are as elaborate as a multi-faceted bank heist. One mission has you jumping from roof-top to roof-top on a motorcycle. Yet another has you photographing a politician's perverted activities from a high-rise only to have to fight through the FBI on your way out.

Along the road to success, you also get to buy and collect money from various properties. Yes, you can own property.Once you buy a property, you need to take on some missions in order to make it profitable. You can own anything from a counterfeiting factory to a adult movie studio. Nearly all offer you an interesting set of jobs to take on.

The Bad

There isn't much I can find wrong with the game. If anything, then it can be annoying that cars and people spawn and despawn in a weird way. If you see a car you want to steal, but you turn your back to it for a moment, it is indeed quite possible that it may have vanished completely. This can be really annoying when looking for a good ride in a junky part of town.

The Bottom Line

For the mafia boss in all of us! Highly recommended.