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By Chris Roper
With Grand Theft Auto: Vice đô thị Stories, Rockstar has once again revisited a previous title's setting on the PSP.

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Vice thành phố Stories takes place two years prior khổng lồ the events of the PlayStation 2 game, & essentially works as some sort of an introduction lớn GTA: Vice City. It's a much bigger trò chơi in almost every way than the first PSP GTA release, Liberty city Stories.

Still though, it's Grand Theft tự động hóa through và through. By that we mean that while things have been cleaned up or expanded a bit here or there, it's still largely the same game that we first saw with Grand Theft auto III. That's not necessarily a bad thing, as Vice city Stories is still easily one of the best games on the system, but if you've began to grow tired of the franchise's mechanics, mission structure or overall feel, this likely won't renew your love of the series. In fact, after remembering our time with Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, we can't help but feel that Vice thành phố Stories isn't quite everything it could be. Sure, it's a big technical improvement over Liberty đô thị Stories, but there's nothing substantially new to the series here. We suppose that'll have lớn wait for Grand Theft tự động IV, and we're more than willing khổng lồ hold our breath, but it seems lượt thích this would be the perfect platform, literally và figuratively speaking, for some new experimentation. Being able to lớn swim this time out is nice, but we've seen that before & it really just feels like we're getting something back that we've already had. As mentioned, Vice thành phố Stories makes a number of technical improvements over what we saw with Liberty thành phố Stories last year. The framerate has been improved a bit, maybe not leaps và bounds on average, but it's much more steady than last time out. There's a lot more detail to lớn be seen in nearly every facet of the trò chơi - from the characters to vehicles to the environments, Vice đô thị Stories is a much more intricate looking title. There's also a fair bit less pop-in than before, which was a pretty big problem last time out. Not only would you see buildings & such pop into view in the distance, but the game's streaming technology had problems keeping up with the tốc độ of some vehicles và you'd actually have solid objects appear at the last second. This problem still does happen in Vice đô thị Stories, especially when you get behind the wheel of some of the game's quickest rides, but it's much less of an issue than last time out. Amazingly, the revamped engine is actually able to lớn keep up with the game's helicopters, which you can now pilot. Regardless of your speed or height, the framerate stays solid, the draw distance reaches far and there are no major technical issues at hand. You'll see texture mip-maps replaced và geometry work out its various levels of detail, but these are all easily overlooked. Piloting the choppers is a joy. Though you don't have the dual-analog thiết lập that the series employs for flight on the PlayStation 2, the PSP's layout still provides for a great helicopter control system. Turning with the L & R buttons and tilting the rotary ship with the analog stick, you control the blade tốc độ with X & Square. It's a system that works quite naturally and it only takes a minute or two khổng lồ get the controls under wraps. Beyond that, it's just a matter of learning the nuances of piloting the choppers, which again feel great. While we're on the subject of vehicular feel, Vice đô thị Stories brings with it the same driving physics system that we've seen slowly become refined since Grand Theft auto III. It's responsive yet wiley, fast và yet controllable, completely unrealistic và yet really damn fun. In other words, you'll have just as much fun flying down the streets of Vice city as you did the first time around. The trò chơi includes the same "mission acceleration" options that we've seen in the past few games, namely Quick Trip and the taxis that await you after failing a mission. Quick Trip allows you khổng lồ skip the non-action driving sections of a mission, which is nice in theory though it isn't always available when you'd think it should be. The taxi system returns, where a cab will wait for you outside of a hospital or prison and will take you back to lớn the starting point of the mission you just failed. The old problem of being ill-equipped has been addressed this time in that you can bribe the police lớn buy back all of your confiscated weapons. It's not exactly cheap, but it can be a big time saver. The combat has been fixed a bit in a few ways, but other problems still linger. Vice city Stories seems to vì chưng a better job of targeting enemies than Liberty đô thị Stories, twitawardsrd.comoring civilians for the most part. If there's an enemy behind you and a civilian in front, or a civilian much closer lớn you than an enemy, it may still target them first, but the auto-target works a fair bit better. You're still unable khổng lồ run và shoot with most weapons, however. Pistols & uzis are fine, but anything besides those will require that you stand in place while firing. You can get used to this, but it's still an annoyance. There is a rather major problem with hand-to-hand combat while wielding a gun, however.

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If an enemy gets too close to lớn you, you'll basically be unable khổng lồ fire off clean shots at him & he'll continuously pummel you until you either run away or drop dead. On multiple occasions, we were told lớn enter a building mid-mission và were unknowingly attacked immediately by someone wielding a bat or other melee weapon. In tight spaces, you can't get far enough away to lớn fire off clean shots so you need lớn quickly swap to lớn a proper weapon while you're getting beaten to death. Worse than this though is when you're caught by an entire mob & basically get stuck, unable lớn flee the massive beating and must simply reside to death. That's especially fun. The Grand Theft tự động hóa series has always had a rather patchwork storyline. Regardless of how well told the overall big picture is, the smaller, individual mission ideas have often seemed at least a little tacked on. Unfortunately, none of this has ever been more evident than what we see in Vice đô thị Stories. The storyline simply starts out weak và doesn't really ever get any better. As Vic Vance, you start out in the Army & begin running some rather shady missions for your commanding officer. You tell him that you need some cash khổng lồ help your ailing brother, but that you're against illegal activities. Regardless, you start running drugs, killing gang members và doing all sorts of other rather illegal things, all while complaining about it at every opportunity. It seems that Vic is completely against this sort of behavior, và yet he continuously partakes in it & carries out commands from shady character after shady character. Of course, many fans of the series will mostly twitawardsrd.comore the actual events of the storyline and simply focus on character traits to provide them some semblance of storytelling, but it's hard lớn overlook the fact that someone who's so against violence và illegal activity will take commands from racist, wife-beating bosses while barely questioning their motives. One new aspect of the series that works somewhat well is the ability to lớn not only take over businesses but being able to manage them. There are 30-some-odd businesses in Vice city that span six different front types, from brothels to "protection" rings khổng lồ repossession businesses. Each of these can be upgraded, for a fee, và will give you a daily return on your investment. Not only can you pay khổng lồ increase the quality, and hence profitability, of any of your establishments, but you can go on Empire missions in order to lớn increase the standing of said business in the city. The more Empire missions you complete and the more you tăng cấp the building, the more profit you'll make. However, the Empire missions are anything but exciting. You max out your standing upon completing fifteen missions. For the repossession missions, you'll go after a bike, then a truck, and then a bike, và then a truck, & then a bike, & then a truck, and then a bike, & so on & so on. The prostitution missions simply have you pick up one trickster, take her to a John, and then pick up another & do the same. Every now and then the John won't pay và you need to lớn gun him down, but they never put up a fight. Regardless of which Empire missions you're doing, they're all exercises in tedium. By now, you may be wondering why a trò chơi that we've basically talked about negatively for half the review deserves a rating of 9.0. Regardless of how bad the story is or how little innovation is in the game, it's still a Grand Theft tự động hóa title through và through. Rockstar has consistently imbibed a sense of humor into an expansive & fun world, và it keeps you coming back for more. This is 100% true of Vice city Stories. Navigating the world, be it on foot, in vehicle or in the air is fun as hell. Even though the story sucks, the characters are unique and intriguing enough that you likely won't skip the cutscenes. Và most of all, it's simply & purely fun. On đứng top of the basic play mechanics that make any GTA trò chơi fun, Vice đô thị Stories also has one hell of a soundtrack, quite possibly the best lớn date. The variety of music is fantastic, và although it seems lượt thích there might not be quite as many tunes as we've seen in the console games (though we didn't count), we were rocking out lớn each and every tune every time they came on the radio. và additionally, you have the game's multiplayer aspect. Many of the trò chơi modes are takes on classic multiplayer trò chơi types, lượt thích Taken for a Ride which is essentially a revision of Capture the Flag. Empire Take Down is great fun with each team infiltrating the other's base và attempting lớn plant explosives to take it out, & then protect said explosives while they count down to detonation. Most of these modes are great fun, though you'll need players who know what they're doing lớn keep the action up. Modes like Might of the Hunter, where you attempt lớn take out others with a chopper, can last forever when new players come to lớn grips with the helicopter's controls. It's not as bad with the basic types, though the multiplayer certainly gets better once you know what you're doing và play with others who are experienced as well.
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