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Grand Theft Auto--Vice City

2004

I didn't think it was possible to make a game that was twice as good as "Grand Theft Auto--Vice City" in just one year, but Rockstar Games did it, thanks to a host of new additions that make the game even more playable than the last version.

The designers will tell you otherwise, but the graphics are essentially the same from the previous version.  Outside of that, we've got a whole new ballgame.

We get a city that at least feels bigger than Liberty City, even if it's around the same, square-mileage wise.  The soundtrack is...wow, the soundtrack is the biggest improvement in the game.  Seven different radio stations?  An hour's worth of content per channel, including commercials?  Licensed music, not made-up stuff like the last game provided?  Sound in general is just a wholesale improvement in "GTA: VC", as the voicework for this game is nonpareil.  From a lead actor this time around--the first game had no voice for the playable character, to superstar actors at every turn, this is a major production.  Ray Liotta, Tom Sizemore, Burt Reynolds, Dennis Hopper, Lawrence Taylor, William Fichtner...this is just crazy.  And, it adds something to every cut scene to have bonafide stars putting in all of this work.

I spent roughly 50 hours beating this game the first time around--you always spend time hangin' out in Vice City--and I didn't even play two of the side chapters, about eight extra hours of game.  Playing it again, I spent more time holding up stores, doing those side missions (including a great segment after you have purchased the auto dealership), evading the cops and finding secret packages.  You just can't beat this in terms of value...and, if you didn't buy "GTA III", buy the Grand Theft Auto Double Pack right now.

Rating:  Opening Weekend

 

Feedback?  Comments?  Hot doughnut tip?  justin@bellviewmovies.com

 

Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  Buy this game right away, and don't ask me any questions as to why that's a good move.  A game experience that will almost guarantee repeated controller abuse, lots of ManScreaming and high resale value, you will assuredly play this bad boy for months on end. 

"$40":  Usually after games have been out for a while, they drop in price slightly, or can be bought for slightly cheaper in combination with other new games.  Usually, that's about $40.  You'll feel good getting the game for this price, since it isn't quite run-out-and-get-it-right-now good, but it has enough game in the box for a few weeks' worth of enjoyment.

"eBay":  This game is not too bad, but you'd be better off buying it used from either half.com or eBay.  You also might let a friend buy this game, let s/he beat it, and then try to buy it from them to make them feel better.  Yes, this does tend to feel like "Sloppy Seconds."

"Rental":  Like my cousin Ron, you should always rent games that you aren't sure about first, to make sure that your $50 is going towards something worthwhile.  For games in this category, this is the maximum amount of money ($5) and/or time (3-5 days) you'll need to either gain satisfaction from the game, or beat the game in its entirety.  Rental-rated games are also sometimes perfect for a weekend when you are going to be at home on your ass, with some time to kill.

"Dogshit":  Games like this should have never been released.  If you play this game for any reason, you will regret every second of the experience.  Further, if you can get this game for free, don't do it, because even for FREE, it will still be a negative experience for you!

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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/bellviewmovies.com except where noted
1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09