2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories (PS2) (Video Game)
Having recently finished GTA:LCS (and got 100% completion - check me out!), I couldn't resist giving GTA:VCS a go but I've got to admit that I've been disappointed. Of course comparisons are inevitable when you play games back to back (and perhaps it was a mistake with hindsight to do so) but I did find this game a bit of a chore at times.
Don't get me wrong, GTA:VCS is not a bad game, after all it is following in the footsteps of greatness, it's just a little disappointing. There are many positives, the graphics are a huge improvement on those in GTA:LCS being brighter, clearer and just generally a whole lot better. The music is also much much better with some real classic tunes that I haven't heard for years and some really funny talky bits. GTA:VCS is also a lot bigger and has a lot more to do and will keep you occupied for many many hours. It also had some new and challenging missions that I really enjoyed such as the "Playground" missions, all of the checkpoint races and the "rush/crash" missions. There are some nice innovations as well such as allowing you to purchase your weapons back when you die or get arrested (which was always frustrating in other GTA games) and also offering you a taxi to return to the start of the mission (not always that useful as you often need to replenish your armour first) but I didn't use this a great deal.
So why was it such a disappointment?
Where to start? To begin with GTA:VCS seems very slow to load which is especially frustrating given the inevitable need (GTA games eh!) to try the same mission over and over again. I also noticed a fair amount of slowdown when the screen got busy which didn't help matters. The GTA series has always been a frustrating series due to the fact that so much time is spent driving to and from missions. A typical mission starts with making sure you have all of the pre-requisites (armour, weapons, health etc) and then you drive to the start of the mission, go through the FMV sequences, drive to the mission and then die in a blaze of glory! You then have to reload , drive to the mission (again), click through all of the FMV sequences (again), drive to the mission (again)and then you die all over again but a little bit further on! And then you do this again and again and again. This is alright most of the time with the easier missions but when you are doing one of the really difficult missions such as "Crims on Water Wings" the frustraton reaches critical mass and you throw your contoller across the room in a fit of rage. This issue seemed particularly bad with GTA:VCS and at times ruined the gameplay for me.
The major issue I have with GTA VCS as a game is just the sheer poor quality and repetitive nature of so many of the missions. Just too many of the missions are just dull. The BMX Time Trials etc were just too easy and no challenge especially when compared to say the Bump'n'Grind missions in GTA:LCS which were really hard but great fun. Similarly the Paramedic missions were just so easy they just became a marathon chore. In the last section you have to save 65 patients without any real time constraint. How dull is that? The Taxi Driver, Air Rescue, Beach Patrol, Vice Sights missions are all similarly dull. No it's not all bad (there are some great missions too as I mentioned above) but there is too much filler which just became a chore to reach that elusive 100%.
The story missions generally were OK. A little predictable but then I have played through a lot of GTA so that is inevitable. The story I didn't really watch (if I want a good story I get a good book) but it was the same as the all the other GTA stories to be honest with you. Empire building was a new feature copied from GA:SA which became intensely annoying at one point during the game as a rival gang would attack your empire every five minutes or so interrupting your enjoyment of the game. But I quickly learnt to ignore them and after a while they stopped thankfully. They also appear to have messed up the money in GTA:VCS. In GTA:LCS money was always a litle tight and the rewards always welcome. By the end of GTA:VCS I had $13 million and nothing to spend it on!
To sum up, for me GTA:VCS lacked the challenge and overall fun of GTA:LCS despite being bigger, brighter, more technically advanced and better to look at. Yes there's a huge amount to do and yes some of it is hugely fun but too many of the missions became a chore very quickly and spoiled the overall gameplay.