Review – Grand Theft Auto : Vice City Stories (PSP)

Anticipation : 10
Expectation : 9
Initial Reaction : 10
Overall : 9
Genre : Third-Person Action/Adventure

Rockstar has released their second GTA themed PSP game. This time the action takes place 2 years prior to Vice City for the PS2. If you played GTA:VC, you’ll be familiar with the look and feel of GTA:VCS.

But there’s more. Rockstar has added a ton of additional content. From swimming to empire building, there’s something here for everyone. Empire building allows you to take control of 30 different sites, building businesses such as protection rackets, prostitution, and drug smuggling. Each evening, the day’s pay comes directly to you, infusing you with cash. As an added bonus, each business has a save spot, allowing you to quickly find a place to save when you’re in a pinch.

The mission structure is slightly different as well. Each mission tends to be a little longer than the previous games. Some missions have a single objective, while others have multiple ones. This makes the gameplay a little more interesting as there are longer periods of action. However, if you die, or fail the mission, you need to start from scratch. Unfortunately, that means you’ll need to travel to the mission start again, but if you’re also empire building at the same time, chances are there’s a save location nearby.

Rockstar also added some other small additions. For instance, you can show new items on the map such as your empire locations, as well as some of the “secret” items that you’ve discovered. These include the red balloons and insane stunts. As with previous games, you can zoom in and out and mark locations on the map. Also, you’ll see cops riding motorcycles. Unfortunately, the police cycle is rather slow, although it does have the siren and lights.

The game does have some bugs, however. For instance, I have been completely unsuccessful in getting the garage at the first safehouse to work. I can store cars there, but as soon as I load a game, the car disappears. This, of course, is incredibly annoying. I have seen this problem reported elsewhere, but it seems to be a hit and miss type of bug.

Other bugs include some clipping problems, detail popping, and some small AI flaws. For instance, a rival gang tried to attack my building, but kept getting stuck on the building in front of it. Not a huge issue, but distracting nonetheless.

Overall, I’m very pleased with the game. I love the GTA series in general and this game keeps that spirit alive. I would recommend it to any fan of the series.

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