Everyone knows that my favorite location in the Grand Theft Auto series is Vice City so of course that would mean that I’ve more than likely played the prequel Vice City Stories. It took me some time to play the game as I never owned a PSP growing up, but when the game was ported over to the Playstation 2 I knew that I would eventually get around to it. So, by popular demand, here’s my review of Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories.
In the game you play as Victor Vance, the older brother of Lance Vance in Vice City. Victor is shipped to Vice City as a member of the Army where he is introduced to Sergeant Jerry Martinez, his commanding officer and drug smuggler. Martinez has Vic go and pick up some drugs against his will, but since Victor joined the Army to help provide for his siblings, he does it. Eventually he is told to pick up a girl from a party and bring her back to the military base, only to be kicked out of the Army due to bringing a prostitute onto the base and Martinez secretly planting some marijuana under his bunk. This leads him to start doing jobs for Phil Cassidy shortly afterwards and gets including Phil’s brother-in-law Marty who runs a redneck mafia that’s involved in loan sharking, prostitution, and racketeering. This eventually leads to a conflict involving Marty’s wife Louise where she is being abused by Marty and is eventually killed by Vic, which is how he ends up taking over a crime organization and renaming it the Vance Crime Family.
The thing I actually enjoy the most about the game is the story itself. I always found the characters and story of Vice City to be the most interesting and this game is no exception. Vice City Stories takes place in 1984, 2 years before the events of Vice City and shows you how some of the characters in Vice City became who they were. You see that Gonzalez, the character you kill in Vice City for Juan Cortez, had stolen money off the top from him during this time and that he eventually started working for Diaz. You also remember the first 2 missions for Diaz where you follow and fight some thugs on Prawn Island? Well those are actually a street gang named the Sharks who are run by the Mendez Brothers. Oh yeah, and Lance Vance’s real name isn’t really Quinton, it was Lance all along.
The gameplay itself is still exactly the same as Vice City, although the graphics are sub-par compared to Vice City. This game was originally released on the PSP and was later ported over to the Playstation 2 with no change in graphics. If you’ve played Vice City before you can pick up the game and easily adjust to the controls. Although it might take you some time to figure out some of the missions as they can be difficult. Not to give any spoilers away, but there is one mission that requires you to knock down some towers on top of all 3 police stations within Vice City along with a time limit, and up to a 5 star wanted level. I’ve beaten this game 3 times and I still end up having to do this mission over at least 7 times each time I’ve tried it. There’s also another mission that involves you riding a jet ski to shoot some scenes for a movie and due to the time limits and the speed of the jet ski it can be extremely difficult.
While I didn’t enjoy the game as much as Vice City, I would still recommend it if you own a PSP or Playstation 2. It’s a must have if you loved Vice City and just want to learn more details about some of the characters and how some things in Vice City came to be. It definitely takes you on an adventure that you won’t forget.