Grand Theft Auto: Vice City

Grand Theft Auto: Vice City

The biggest game of the year is here. Check out our massive dual review inside.
Author: Sam Bishop
Published: November 25, 2002
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What follows is a slightly different way of doing things than the usual here at PSX2.com. We were so jazzed on Vice City that we decided to do two reviews, but couldn't put two reviews with two different scores into the database, so we've combined them and averaged out the scores. Enjoy!


Sam: So... it's here. Vice City is finally here, and Rockstar and DMA/Rockstar North actually delivered on most of what they promised. The game is undoubtedly bigger, longer, and has more stuff to do. Just the fact that you're actually put into the shoes of someone with a name and a voice really does change things up.

Stuff like being able to buy up property, to just controlling every aspect of the city, to have your hands in everything; movie studios, night clubs, strip clubs... I dunno, you really do get the sense that you're slowly taking over this city, that it belongs to you. I definitely dug that.

Kyle: I'll admit, Rockstar North's addition of real estate and assets definitely gave GTA: VC more of a simulation feel and creatively blurred the lines between which genre the game can fall into. That was by no means a bad thing. Of course, the heart of the game exists in the storyline and true action. The story had some great twists and turns and the delivery and voice acting was top notch.

Sam: Yeah, the voice acting really was stellar, even better than GTA3. The game definitely had more of a cinematic feel to it, and that just rolled right into motivating you to keep playing the game. But the gameplay itself really hasn't changed from GTA3 to Vice City. I mean, there's some new stuff in there (jumping from rooftop to rooftop on a motorcycle is ridiculously fun), but it pretty much feels like the same game in a new setting -- even with all the extra stuff they added.

Kyle: Ditto. Kudos to Rockstar North for trying to expand their horizons in the game, but I too feel they fell short in some key categories. A bigger city isn't always a good thing. Vice City lacked that connection that you were able to make with Liberty, knowing its surroundings by heart and really feeling like it was where you belonged. They may have added more Unique Jumps, Hidden Packages, and Rampages to fit the city, but with that, tracking down each and every one turns into a task instead of a tedious task other than a enthusiastic search for each one.

Sam: Yeah, that's exactly how I feel. The gameplay that's there is great for the most part, but it seems like it's more of the same with smatterings of new mission types thrown in, and it drives me nuts 'cause some of the missions -- like the ones you have to do for the movie studio -- are just awesome.

I mean, I grew up in the 80's, so I can totally appreciate (and frankly love) how much of the game really is dead on in extracting the essence of what the period was and turning it into a caricature of itself, but I still couldn't feel attached. GTA3 really coaxed you into the world, unlocked things really slowly. I think too much of Vice City is open from the start, it's a little overwhelming. I liked learning the back streets and alleys of each section of Liberty City.

Kyle: Oh, no doubt about it. Making the gamer feel attached to Liberty City was such a remarkable accomplishment. It was your home away from home. Vice City may have the size, glitz, and glamour, but it is not as easy to familiarize yourself with. Bigger city = more pedestrians = more cars = more roads = more of a headache. You feel so small in the big city, and seeing as you're suppose to be taking the whole city over, I wouldn't say that's the best impression to be given to the gamer.

Sam: Yeah, it's a classic example of bigger not necessarily being better. I do LIKE that the game is bigger, definitely, I just don't like how you're plopped down into this massive city and kind of cut loose without really getting the chance to learn it a little bit. Or maybe I just wasn't playing the game right; the beauty of this game is that so many people are going to get so many different types of experiences out of it. What did you think of the difficulty?

Kyle: The game was challenging when it needed to be, thankfully. When you're trying hard to get past a certain mission, that's where the addictiveness kicks in. Sadly, though, there were a good amount of missions that I personally whipped through without having to try twice.

Sam: See, that's what so funky. I had a hell of a time on some of the missions, and overall I found the game to be too hard. I swear to God, Lance Vance could have bit it for all I cared after trying to rescue him 20 times.

Kyle: Ha, I agree. Saving Lance's ass was a real challenge, but on the other hand, the difficulty comes from the gamer's attempts at completing the mission. Trying to take out a gang of enemies by foot will get you capped easily, but trying to run them down with a vehicle is easier and more effective. Ultimately, the gamer has the ability to decide how tough they want the game to be.

Sam: I suppose that's true. Maybe I was too used to trying to go at it on foot. How would you score the gameplay?

Kyle: The game goes above and beyond with its story flow and voice acting, the plethora of vehicles and weapons was a big plus (without a doubt, motorcycles being Rockstar North's most ingenious addition), but the true lack of a connection with Vice City extracts from the gameplay. Also, the fact that finding the game's Easter Eggs are no longer an eager adventure is a real letdown. I give it a 9.3 for gameplay.

Sam: Yeah, some of the additions -- motorcycles, being able to bail out of cars while they're moving, more involved and cinematic cut scenes -- they help paint a much bigger picture, but I too didn't have the connection that I had with Liberty City. I'm gonna go with a 9.0.

Average: 9.2

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