Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories

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Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories
Release date: October 31, 2006
Developer: Rockstar Leeds
Publisher: Rockstar Games
Series: Grand Theft Auto Series
Platforms: PlayStation Portable,
PlayStation 2
Media: UMD, DVD

Summary

Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories is part of the Grand Theft Auto series, developed by Rockstar Leeds in association with Rockstar North, published by Rockstar Games for the PlayStation Portable and later for the PlayStation 2. It is a prequel to Grand Theft Auto: Vice City and successor to the previous PSP release, Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories.

History

Take-Two Interactive originally announced the title was to be released in North America on October 17, 2006 and in Europe on October 20, 2006, but an announcement in early September stated that the game's North American release had been delayed until October 31. It was also announced that the game would be released on 10 November 2006 in Australia. Moreover, in Europe (Excluding the UK & Ireland) the game suffered another delay, from November 3, 2006, to November 10, 2006, the same as Australia.

Gameplay

Vice City Stories is structured similarly to other releases from the Grand Theft Auto series.

The core gameplay consists of elements of a third-person shooter and a driving game, affording the player a large, open environment in which to move around. On foot, the player's character is capable of walking, running, swimming and jumping, as well as utilizing weapons and basic hand to hand combat. Players can steal and drive a variety of vehicles, including automobiles, boats, airplanes, helicopters, jetskis, and motorcycles.

The open, non-linear environment allows players to explore and choose how they wish to play the game. Although storyline missions are necessary to progress through the game and unlock certain areas and content, they are not required, as players can complete them at their own leisure. When not taking on a storyline mission, players can free-roam and create havoc (e.g. drive-by shootings, robberies, etc). However, doing so can attract unwanted and potentially fatal attention from the authorities. The more chaos caused, the stronger the response: police will handle minor infractions, whereas undercover cops, SWAT teams, the FBI, and the military respond to higher wanted levels.

The player can also partake in a variety of optional side missions. The traditional side missions of the past games are included, but have been moderately upgraded and enhanced compared to previous titles. A new addition to the game is "Beach Patrol", in which Victor must deal with bikers on the beach by beach buggy (by ramming or shooting to knock them off their bikes) or throwing life preservers to drowning swimmers by boat or by taking a paramedic around to injured people on the beach.

One of the key gameplay elements in Vice City Stories is "empire building." New to the GTA series, it borrows a few ideas from Vice City's "properties" and San Andreas' "gang wars" systems. In order to make money, the player must open and operate various businesses on property taken over from enemy gangs. The businesses include protection racket, loan shark, prostitution, drugs, smuggling or robbery.

For Vice City Stories, the combat system was overhauled to feature more depth than ever before. The targeting mechanism has been tweaked to "intelligently target"; enemies posing a threat or attacking the player will be targeted over pedestrians. The biggest changes concern the hand-to-hand combat system, as players can now perform grappling moves and throws, and stand on top of enemies lying on the ground.

Players are able to bribe policemen or hospital staff when "Wasted" (killed) or "Busted" (arrested) in order to keep weapons that ordinarily would have been lost.

The standard hidden package system returns in the form of 99 red balloons scattered around the city. This is a reference to Nena's 1984 hit "99 Luftballons", which was featured in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City.

Improvements to the graphics since the release of Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories include new animations, faster load times, a longer draw distance, reductions in clumping of pedestrians and vehicles, more complex explosions, and increases in the density of objects, vehicles, and NPCs.

Plot

Victor Vance, the protagonist, is a U.S. Army soldier. His sergeant, Jerry Martinez, gets him involved in drug trafficking, which is strictly against Vic's morals. Soon Vic is dishonorably discharged for the drugs found in his room and bringing a prostitute to the barracks, both of which were intended for Martinez. Vic works for Phil Cassidy, who is also featured in Grand Theft Auto III, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City and Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories. Phil's brother-in-law, Marty Williams, abuses his wife Louise and their baby Mary-Beth. After Marty kidnaps Louise, Vic kills him and begins a relationship with her.

Soon after Vic's brother Lance Vance comes into town to join him in his rampage. Together they steal Martinez's cocaine, but tensions arise between the brothers after Vic finds out that Lance and Louise used it for themselves. They find out that Martinez was only transporting the drugs for Armando and Diego Mendez. Lance and Vic are forced to work with the Mendez brothers, only to be betrayed. The Mendez brothers kidnap Louise and Lance, and Vic kills Armando while he is trying to kill Lance. Vic is too late to save Louise, although Lance lives. With help from Phil Cassidy and Ricardo Diaz, Vic manages to steal an army helicopter, the Hunter. He guns down some of Diego's goons with it, and lands to continue his killing spree on top of the Mendez building. Finally there is a confrontation on the top of a building, which ends when Vic kills Diego Mendez and Jerry Martinez. Lance arrives to help Vic, and together they agree never to touch drugs again, a promise which is broken in under two years, as the brothers are seen dealing cocaine in the opening scene of Vice City (a deal which results in Victor's death).

Reception

The game has received an 86% on Metacritic and 85% on GameRankings. The PlayStation 2 port of the game was considered worse with a rating of 7.2/10 from GameSpot and a 7.5/10 from IGN. As of March 26, 2008, Vice City Stories has sold 4.5 million copies according to Take-Two Interactive.

Links

Official Website


Grand Theft Auto
Grand Theft Auto, Grand Theft Auto 2, Grand Theft Auto III, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, Grand Theft Auto Advance, Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories, Grand Theft Auto IV, Grand Theft Auto IV: The Lost and Damned, Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars, Grand Theft Auto IV: The Ballad of Gay Tony, Grand Theft Auto V