Restropect: GTA Vice City

GTA Vice City is a game by Rockstar. It’s the 4th in the series, and follows the exploits of our favorite mobster Scarfac- No, sorry, Tommy Vercetti.

The GTA series goes back to 1997, when GTA came out. It was a top down 2d shooter that was difficult to navigate in, resulting in many people (including me) to not bother with the mission system and just go on a rampage. It wasn’t a bad game, but it was difficult to play in the way is was meant to be played, following the missions and going up to the level.

GTA 2 was much the same as GTA, but GTA 3 made the jump into an extra dimension and placed the camera behind the protaginist’s head, also making the streets and buildings not look exactly like each other. Suddenly the game was playable, fun and intriguing!

GTA:VC came after that, and incidentally was the first GTA game I ever played.  You played as Tommy Vercetti, a maffia chap who has just gotten out of prison for 8 or so years, and now is oddly enough working for the same employer. First thing you do in the city goes horribly wrong, surprise, and now there’s a good amount of cocaine that isn’t yours anymore and you’re getting constant death threats. This sets a whole lot of events off and leads you through a rather interesting storyline.

The GTA series has always been sandbox heavy, that is you can do whatever you like in the confines of the game. You can race RC cars, deliver pizzas,  perform stunts, hunt for secret bags, and go on rampages. Hell, they even  give you rampage pickups which give you a reward if you kill a certain amount of gang members, cars, etc, with a certain weapon. Hell I’ve even tried to land get on a boat by jumping off a bridge at the right time. Worked once too, free boat.
You can really go crazy in this game, and it rewards you for it. Everything I’ve mentioned in this paragraph gives you a cash reward which you can use to buy… well weapons really, not much else.

It’s kind of annoying that it gives you all these wacky fun things to do and the only way you can spend your reward is with violence. Now if I had a problem with violence I wouldn’t be playing this game, but it’d be really cool if you could buy speedy race cars, helicopters or other symbols of excess, rather than just more guns. Violence isn’t always the most entertaining option unfortunately.
Fortunately they fixed this in subsequent games, but oddly enough they took OUT most of the wacky fun things you can do, kind of negating that change there.

While there’s a good amount of freedom in the game, there’s a few features that you can’t access until you’ve completed some story missions, which is kind of a bummer really. I can understand why you can’t build a business empire before x event, but restricting the islands you can get to in the game feels just silly in a game which primarily relies on sandbox gameplay.

The storyline itself is quite decent though, playing through the missions gives you moneys, access to weapons, new safe houses and other things.
Though the storyline itself could been seen to be short depending on how you play the game. First time I played the game it took a couple of months to finish, it felt like a real achievement. But since then I’ve finished the storyline in 1 day. It really depends on how focused you are on the story line, and it’ll go quite quickly if you don’t periodically stand on cars and use them as a mobile shooting platform (Which I highly recommend).

The weapons themselves are good, you’ve got certain slots for different types of weapons, but it leads to the “Walking Army Stockpile” syndrome most games suffer from. You can walk, run, swim (well not in this game, you just drown) perfectly fine with a bazooka on your person (god knows where), not to mention the 3 machine guns, 4 pistols and 10 grenades you cart around. I mean you’re carrying more than you weight with no problems, which is why I don’t quite like it when games default to it.

The variety of cars is decent as well, there’s cars that are useless, cars that can go from 0 to 60 in 2.5 seconds, cars that have 2 wheels, golf buggies (Which are hilarious getaway vehicles). The only way you get them though is you break into them or just car jack people. Again, it’s supposed to be a violent game, but I’d rather some choice in the matter. I mean mobsters may frequently kill people, but you scratch their car and they’ll… well, kill you.  But this game makes you get a new car every 5 mins max, even if you’re really careful, there’s still  a chance that you’ll leave your car for 5 seconds, turn around and it’ll have disappeared (bloody car thieves).

My main gripe with this game is they put a lot of emphasis on water in a game where the main character can’t swim. I don’t know why he can’t swim, maybe he has an irrational fear of water after a particularly wet mob initiation, but it causes massive problems in the game play. I remember one occasion where I somehow ended up on top of a car that was floating around in the water (honestly I have no idea how I got there).
I spent a good 5 minutes wondering how the hell I could get out of the situation without dying and losing my stockpile of weapons. Eventually I just fired a rocket down at the car when it was clear I was drifting out to sea, purely out of annoyance… although it looked really cool and my body, though dead and lifeless, flew back to the main land and blocked a main roadway.
If the character could, I don’t know, swim 5 metres, then I would have been fine.

Vice City is a terrific game which adds a lot to the previous games, and was terrific in nearly all aspects. It gives you the freedom of choice in what you want to do in it, and provides a extremely decent storyline, though recycled from a certain movie.


One Response to “Restropect: GTA Vice City”

  1. My first thought on Vice city when i first played it was “Whooo!” motor bikes! and hammers for hitting innocent people with! But the whole inability to swim thing got in the way allot, like driving to save game after finishing a particularly hard mission only to end up sleeping with the fishes, was enough to send me into a kill frenzy in reality.

    Is it seriously too nerdy to say that I loved the original and second GTA? And finished them both by doing the missions, I like the telephone idea it saved allot of time and was very strait forward.

    The 2D was what made them awesome, plus the little shouts the pedestrians made right before you drove a car over them, “Omg! We are all going to die!”
    Plus the little splats they made on the side walk were awesome.

    Also never forget in the second GTA there were garages that aloud the cars to be rigged with deployable mines, and oil slicks!!!! Taking those things out onto a busy freeway to watch a massive line of cars explode was the most carnage I had ever seen when I was young and innocent.

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