Powering future

Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories Review

Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories Review

Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories was hailed as the “killer PSP game”. The popular GTA series had to come to the PSP sooner or later, and its debut on the PSP is great.

The game takes place, as the title suggests, in Liberty City, which is the city where Grand Theft Auto III (the first 3D game in the series) is also set. Rockstar Leeds just turned the city into UMD and changed a few things to make it look more modern, since LCS is set after III. Having said that, the only real changes are the shops, which have different names and styles, which is pretty disappointing. A new city to explore would have been so much better.

You play as Toni Cipriani, a no-nonsense guy who is willing to do anything and take out anyone in his way. Unlike GTA III, he can talk, which makes the cutscenes better. The basic story mode consists of missions that tend to get repetitive. You’ll go to a guy on your map, he’ll give you a quest that usually involves killing someone, and you’ll get paid once you’re done. Once you have completed enough missions, you will move on to the second island of Liberty City. There are three islands in total, and you unlock them over time. It’s a nice incentive to complete the missions, but for people who have played GTA III, there’s nothing really new.

Although the game is focused on missions, the ability to move freely is really great. You might find yourself playing it over and over again and rarely get tired of it. There is no free roam mode, in fact there are no modes, the game just loads when you turn it on. Whether or not you choose to participate in a mission is up to you. If you choose not to, you are free to roam the city, wreaking havoc or just exploring. You can also collect various weapons from pistols and UZIs to rocket launchers, flamethrowers and sniper rifles. You will also have melee weapons like knives and baseball bats. Or, if you want to do damage from a distance, use a grenade or Molotov cocktail.

The cops are still around so if you blow up too many heads it will annoy you a bit. The policemen are divided into levels with the usual system. You are 1 star at the start, and if you keep blowing things up, it will eventually increase to 6 stars, and you will have the army after you.

Vehicles in the game are again similar to previous versions. Veterans will remember Patriot, Cheetah, Infernus, Banshee, etc., although some have redesigns that look more modern. You may also have motorcycles, which have never been seen in Liberty City before. Motorcycles are generally faster and have better handling than cars, and make it easier to perform single jumps, and so on. There are no bikes in the game, which was a nice addition to San Andreas. As you progress through the game, you will also get the chance to ride boats. It’s not as fun as it sounds, and it never has been in any of the GTA games. The handling of the boats is slow and not fun to drive. You can’t fly anymore. Anything. It is not a thing. The Dodo was a plane from GTA III that was located at the airport, which you could fly, or at least try to. This time there is no Dodo, no helicopters, no planes at all. It really feels like a missing factor, although in one of the missions it is possible to steal a helicopter, so the physics and controls are still technically in the game. Why there are no planes to fly is confusing. The police still have helicopters following you, so be careful.

A new mode of transportation is the ferry. It’s basically a slow boat ride and you can’t drive the boat. You even have to pay for the service. However, it is a quick way to get from one island to another, and you can keep your car.

General vehicle control is good. Sports cars have great speeds and handling, and slow cars have reduced cornering ability. The controls on foot have been drastically changed. You use the little analog-style stick to control Toni and the vehicles. The directional buttons are used to switch weapons and start various side missions. Of course, the PSP has fewer buttons than the PS2 controller, so condensing everything down was no easy task. The controls feel very fiddly at times and it can be frustrating when you need to aim things quickly.

Adding to the “Toni can’t” list is the ability to swim. Implemented in San Andreas, this feature is absent. It’s only missed when you fall off a cliff into the water, as you could just swim to the side and get out. Instead, Toni simply drowns. All of the stat-boosting abilities are no longer present, but it’s not much missed.

Toni can change clothes, and there are some good options. She cannot change specific body parts, instead she chooses from complete outfits. Although changing clothes is a small part of the game, you would probably never notice this option if it wasn’t necessary for some missions.

If you don’t want to do any main quests, you can take part in some of the side quests. Famous in every GTA game on PS2, these usually involve Taxi missions, where you act as a taxi driver and deliver the passengers before time runs out. Ambulance missions, where you take the sick to the hospital. Fire truck missions, which is to put out fires like burning cars. A new side mission is the dump truck mission. You simply need to collect all the green trash cans within the time limit. All these missions are basically the same repetitive actions. However, the rewards are worth the effort.

There are also hidden packages throughout the game in various places. There’s nothing new to the series, but collecting all 100 adds weapons to your stash. Single jumps are big jumps where the camera changes and goes in slow motion. When you successfully complete a single jump, you will get money for your efforts. While these things are by no means new additions, they are nice to have and do expand the game.

We all know that the PSP has wireless capabilities, and Liberty City Stories takes advantage of them. The wireless multiplayer action is amazingly good. You must have friends with PSP’s and copies of the game, but if you do, you’re in luck. The game allows totally free play with your friends. There are many different game modes that stick to the capture the flag premise. Most games work this way. Liberty City Survivor allows players to play against each other. This is the mode where you will play endlessly. Even after you’ve finished the game, you’re unlikely to get bored of the multiplayer action.

Liberty City Stories has the same radio soundtrack. When you get into a vehicle, you can choose from several radio stations, all of which have different styles of music. The soundtrack has some well-known tracks from the time, but nothing overly impressive. Compared to the Vice City and San Andreas soundtracks, this is lacking.

The graphics throughout the game are quite cartoonish. The series was never intended to be a sim, but some smoother graphics would have been nice. Sometimes it can seem like Toni has multiple legs when he runs. Also, sometimes the frame rate has trouble keeping up, but only when there are a lot of them on the screen at once. For the most part, the frame rate holds up well. Load times are acceptable. There is a loading period at the beginning and then as you cross between islands a loading screen will appear, but only for a few seconds.

Overall, it’s a great addition to the Grand Theft Auto series and the PSP lineup. You can’t help but feel like it’s just a watered down version of a PS2 GTA, or just an expansion pack, that doesn’t expand much. However, the single player action, and in particular the multiplayer mode, is well worth buying.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *