I’ve previously been very critical of GTA IV and have always proclaimed that Vice City was the best of the 3D GTA series. Well in last year’s marathon I looked at whether the original GTA was still my favourite game of all time so this year I decided to see if Vice City is still my favourite of the “modern generation” of GTA games.
I’ll ignore the graphics and animations from my article. Of course they are inferior to GTA IV but at the time, they were grand. Lets just focus on whether I enjoyed playing the game. First and foremost, Tommy Vercetti is awesome. He has a wonderfully hideous hawaiian shirt and has no issue with just going up and wasting someone. Okay, no role model for kids but this is an adult rated game meaning a) it is for adults not kids and b) its a game. For the sort of gameplay I’m looking to enjoy (racing around the city to old school music the shooting folk to become the motherfucking MAN in the city) he’s perfect. Niko can go piss off, taking his trackies with him.
In truth, the radio wasn’t quite as awesome as I thought but I still enjoyed it plus of course I stuck a bunch of appropriate (plus a couple of more recent) MP3s in the appropriate folder and I was sorted. Driving around the streets to classic hard rock was frigging awesome. The actual handling wasn’t great and as you would expect it has improved over the years but I could more or less get the car to go where I wanted so I’ll take that! What I did like is that the road layouts were reasonably open, allowing me to put my foot down and was also able to try and throw it around corners. I never really felt comfortable doing this in GTA IV, although Saints Row 3 is miles better than both.
Combat was a let down and not what I was expecting. I was thinking that it would be fairly similar to what APB was like before all the effects were added but it turns out APB wasn’t as dated as we thought. Trying to hit some one at close range was high on impossible and the amount of times I was aimed straight at someone, emptied a clip and hit nothing was shocking. This no doubt comes from something like the bullets actual trajectory path not matching the player’s line of sight. Bit of a poor show to be honest. I can live without recoil and certainly don’t miss low health effects. I did quite like having a health count though. I would often run in, bit too gung ho, then find myself in a tense but exciting battle to make it through the rest alive. In GTA IV I would have got behind cover then ran out like an idiot again.
One of the most memorable things about Vice City is the story and missions. In truth, I don’t care about Tommy’s past but I immediately know he’s someone not to mess with. I could quickly learn about the characters and whilst all cliched they are fun,likeable (or intentionally dislikeable) and I enjoyed the cut scenes. The characters and cut scenes really set the tone for Vice City. It doesn’t take itself too seriously (heck, its set in the 80s!) and ensures that it is
Perhaps the biggest failing of the missions is the difficulty curve. The first few missions, up until the bridges opened, were an absolute breeze to complete. Okay, at times I did something a little daft or made a mistake but it was relatively easy then all of a sudden I was getting slaughtered. I think the problem here is that the game hadn’t challenged me then all of a sudden it put me really on the spot. This is quite odd really! In truth, I think I was trying to complete one or two of the missions the hard way but still, going from fighting a couple of unarmed nobodies to loads of guys fully armed with some of the heaviest weaponary was a bit much!
I’ll still be playing it some more. Really looking forward to when I can start buying businesses as I always enjoyed driving around, collecting money and doing side quests inbetween missions.