Grand Theft Auto: Vice City – A Review

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Vice City is another strong instalment in the Grand Theft Auto series, that took its inspiration from classics like Scarface and Miami Vice.

While the previous game in the series had overtones of Godfather and other mob movies, this instalment has more of a Scarface feel and you can certainly see the Miami vibe in Vice City. That’s certainly no surprise considering the amount of time the development team spent there to get the feel for the place right when developing Vice City. Personally I’d love to spend months hanging out in Miami to get a feel for the place, designing a video game would just be the icing on the cake.

They didn’t just focus on getting the vibe right, a lot of the game’s plot it taken from things that happened during the time period the game is set in. For example the 1980’s crack epidemic and the influx of Cuban and Haitian immigrants.

This game has significantly less wrong with it technically than its predecessor, and it’s set against a rich and vibrant backdrop that has more personality than the drabness of Liberty City. As well as that it has a fantastic soundtrack and an instantly more likeable main character, it’s not hard considering the last one didn’t talk but what really clinched it was that Tommy Vercetti was actually pretty funny.

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While GTA III introduced us to the 3D universe it was just dipping its toe in the water compared to this game which set a new record for the open world mechanic by being considerably larger and more diverse than any of the previous entries in the series.

A new development that the previous game didn’t have is the ability to purchase a variety of properties across the city. These aren’t just ways to spend your income so that you feel as if spending hours accumulating fictional cash wasn’t a waste of time because some are safe houses while others are businesses which unlock side missions. If you complete those side missions then those businesses will generate extra cash which can be used to supplement your income. Unfortunately there still isn’t a great lot you can spend that money on after a point, something they later improve upon in San Andreas. As well as those side missions we also have the GTA standard side missions namely the vigilante, fire/ambulance service and the taxi missions. As before completion of these will provide you with a reward and count towards 100% completion of the game.

I mentioned before that this game was much bigger than the previous game and nowhere is that clearer than in the dialogue. It just has so much more life. According to Rockstar Games, Vice City has 8,000 lines of recorded dialogue which is roughly four times the amount of Grand Theft Auto III. Now that really is impressive because the dialogue in the previous game felt like a lot.

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As well as just straight dialogue Vice City had a whole lot of Talk radio which was not only hilarious and one of the best parts of the game but it added to the game and game it real depth and personality. Something which they built on in later games and made the series what it is today. 

Vice City apparently had over nine hours of music as well. That comes to about 113 songs all of which were painstakingly selected by the development team to reflect the setting and period in time. I think they succeeded in making something to be proud of because I still have the soundtrack on my ITunes.

Now I happened to really like GTA III but this game was just an overall improvement, the missions were great with the only exception being anything involving helicopters (toy or otherwise) but that might have just been me because I’ve never really been good at any missions which involve flying. Also being honest Rockstar hadn’t quite perfected the mechanic yet. And being even more honest they still haven’t but we all need something to strive for.

I think I’ll give this game a 4/5 because it improved on all the basic elements of the previous game while holding true to the core mechanics of the game. It also boasted a phenomenal soundtrack and it’s just a whole lot of fun to play.

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