Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories
Score: 7.5 / 10
Last year, Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories was released on the PSP, and it turned a lot of heads for offering a solid GTA experience on a handheld system. Now, Rockstar has released the game on the PS2 at a budget price for those who missed out last Fall. By and large, the content translates very well onto the home console, presenting a fun, if a tad cookie cutter, mafia story. However, the visuals are muddy, and the overall experience has a “been there, done that” veneer to it. Nonetheless, Liberty City Stories is only twenty bucks, so gamers can expect some decent bang for their buck here.
as this is a port of the PSP version of the game, it's important to note
what hasn't come along for the ride in the transition from the handheld
version of Liberty City Stories to the PlayStation 2 version.
Firstly, there is no more multiplayer options for the game, so don't
expect to play alongside your friend. Second, custom soundtracks
are gone, so it's nothing but straight GTA radio this time.
its heart, Liberty City Stories is all about the mafia. It’s a decent enough story with more than its fair share of
clichés, but it manages to remain entertaining. What will be the real hook in the game’s narrative, though,
is how it ties into other games in the series, particularly Grand Theft
Auto III, as this game takes place in the same city, only three years
earlier. Over the course of
the game, players will take control of Toni Cipriani, one of the Leone
Capos from GTA III, and see just how he rose to his position.
In this regard, Liberty City Stories offers some interesting
background information on how and why certain things are the way they
are in GTA III, as well as letting players know what happened to some of
the other characters in other recent GTA games.
It’s a nice little added value feature that helps bring a little
more meat to the game’s story for long-time fans of the series.
While actually playing through the missions, there is a strong sense of familiarity to Liberty City Stories. This doesn’t just come from the fact that players are more or less going through the same town that they did in GTA III, but also because the basic gameplay very similar to that game. The fancy dressings found in later games in the series are largely absent in this title, but it isn’t detrimental to the enjoyment of Liberty City Stories. All of the basic elements that a player
in order to have fun in a GTA game are still present here: lots of
weapons, responsive controls, tons of vehicles, and challenging
missions. At its core,
there is plenty to enjoy, and most who play the game will likely be able
to overlook the lack of advanced features thanks to the budget price of
actual fact, the missions this time around are consistently very
challenging, and a ton of fun to play through.
Generally speaking, players will need to use their heads a lot
more this time, as a run-and-gun approach will usually land Toni in the
hospital, leaving players to start the mission all over again.
One aspect of the missions that could become annoying, though, is
that ones that require a lot of driving require players to really baby
their cars, as some of them are quite fragile this time around.
This can be exceptionally tough if your tires get shot out, as it
will cause most cars to fish tail a lot more, slamming into other
vehicles, or to at least slow down your ride, allowing enemies to smash
into it some more, which could blow up Toni and whoever he’s supposed
to be escorting.
despite the gameplay being fun, it would have been nice if the visuals
were a little prettier. Firstly,
the detail is lacking, and looks like Rockstar simply took the PSP
version of the game, and stretched out the images to fit on a regular
TV. Secondly there’s clipping and draw in all over the place.
And lastly, the frame rate is a bit lacking, making things
sometimes feel a bit clunky. Granted
some of these are problems that every PS2 edition of a GTA game has
suffered from, but there is this undeniable lack of polish to the
overall presentation of the game in Liberty City Stories.
course, the other area of presentation that GTA games are known for, and
for which the series usually receives plenty of accolades is the audio,
more specifically the radio stations.
By and large the different stations are quite satisfying, with
some decent music, but it feels like Rockstar was trying to hard to make
the talk radio over the top, and controversial.
Flashback FM has a host that seems to be some sort of deranged
dominatrix, while many of the people on Chatterbox seem far to perverse,
troubled, et cetera. The only interesting thing to come out of the talk radio
station is that players can see the early part of Lazlo’s Liberty City
the end, though, Liberty City Stories does manage to provide some good
times. While the game
isn’t as robust as, say, Vice City or San Andreas, there is still
plenty to keep one’s self busy, and the $20US price tag certainly
doesn’t hurt either.
(June 3, 2006)
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