Time for my take on GTA:VC. Yes it's a rave, I think most people can't help but rave about it. It's truly a classic game.
Ah what a grand game this is. I've been playing for a few weeks now (got it maybe a week after it came out), and for once a sequel delivers! And it's out only a year after GTA3 no less.
What makes this game so great?
freedom - my wife likes watching me play because she can have a whim of 'do this', and usually I can do it. This is the core of GTA. It defines why the game is so long lasting and addictive and also why it is so controversial.
I mean it's not like the game forces you to drive a semi into a crowd full of people, then get out and fire a rocket at it to make sure they're all dead, then mow down the people to rush in and see what's going on. I haven't seen a mission yet that requires you to get your helicopter hovering just right so you can cut people apart with the rotors.
Sure there are violent missions, but really nothing more violent than in any given movie or other video game. But it doesn't stop you from executing every psychotic fantasy, and I think just about everyone can see the humour and, yes enjoyment, that comes from performing these acts in a fantasy world on their TV, and that probably disturbs them. If people don't like this, then why are reality TV shows so popular? (Real TV, Ripley's, etc.)
Now added to the freedom to do various things and go places, they've removed a lot of the penalties that other games enforce. There is no game over, and if you fail a mission you can always try again. Sure sometimes you may wish to reload instead of requipping, but that's about it. This reinforces the freedom in the game, becaues you can be in the middle of a mission, see something you'd like to try and start doing something else, knowing you can try again later.
Depth: Okay you've got the freedom to go whereever you want in Pacman's world - but there's no place to go! GTA gives you lots of places to go - well really you could probably drive around the whole city in less than ten minutes, but there's so much to see and do packed in the city limits that I doubt if many people would ever complete a circuit without getting distracted by something
There is even a fair bit of flexibility in most of the missions, even when they have strict requirements for success. For example there's a mission where you have to rub someone out at a golf course. The golf course doesn't allow weapons and is guarded by a metal detector which will make you drop your weapons when you pass through it. The game suggests using a golf club, which you can certainly do; although the bodyguards are quite tough and the guy drives off in a golf cart in the mean time. I found chasing him around in another golfcart to be quite annoying. After a couple of attempts I decided to try something a bit different - I 'activated' the mission (run through a pink marker) at the golf course, but then didn't proceed through the metal detector. I got back in my car and drove up to the gate and managed to jump over the gate off of the car....I was now inside the golf course with all my weapons! I decided to really push things - I took a manual aim weapon and sniped the guy while he was practicing his swing - and the mission was a success! Many other games would not allow such activities, or if you found a way to do it a different way it wouldn't work out right. Many times in Vice City you can try a different approach. It's really quite liberating - I could also have entered the golf course by boat or helicopter if I'd thought of that. Heck maybe i could have hovered in front of him and slashed him with heli blades :)
- finish the main missions
- finish the optional missions
- purchase businesses and finish missions for them
-- collect cars
-- deliver 'ice cream'
-- get rid of the competition
- Race cars, boats, and bikes
- Find crazy jumps and stunts
- Go on kiling rampages
- treasure hunt for some 100 packages via land, sea, and air
- become a firefighter
- become a paramedic
- become a taxi driver
- deliver pizzas
- become a hitman
- become a vigilante
That wasn't a full list by the way, and it doesn't begin to describe every mission and activity in the game. Then there's the unstructured stuff - crusing the streets checking out the radio stations, causing accidents, flying helicopters, causing mayhem
To top it all off RockStar has put a fair amount of polish on what is in the game. The details really add up - blowing out tires, trees bending from the downdraft of helicopter blades, weather effects, comments by citizens, police radio traffic, several radio stations of actual 80's music plus amusing talk shows, nice cut scenes and an okay story. It's amazing some of the little detals you'll find in there
It's not 100% perfect yet! There are still some annoying things - missions that are frustrating, the odd control or camera problem, etc. But on the whole there is little to complain about while you are playing the game. The tough missions are softened because there's always something else to go and do for awhile until you're ready to tackle the mission.
Well there you have it, yet another positive overview of GTA:VC. If you don't have it, buy it! If you don't have a PS2, this may just be the game that should put you over the edge and get one - there'll be plenty of other games to play as well once you finish it! Heck the next GTA could be out before you hit 100% (you can finsih the game after a fair amount of play but it doesn't end at that that point- to do *everything* is quite difficult)