Review: GTA: Vice City (iOS)
As time goes on, often we forget the golden games of our youth. Memory clouds our hindsight, and eventually all we get is glimpses of things we used to enjoy – whether it’s the feel of a plasma grenade successfully stuck in Halo: Combat Evolved, or the breathy whisper of a game starting in the original Counter Strike (like a strange man whispering “ok let’s go, right in my ear).
So it was with Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, a game from a simpler time where all gamers really wanted to do was play as an Italian crime lord on one long crime spree in an aptly named city somewhere far away. I remembered some parts, jumping my motorcycle over a river, listening to “Blinded by the Light” on the radio in a stolen car, getting my first lap dance in a shoddily pixelated strip club at the tender age of 12 years old, but the rest faded somewhat over the years. Faded forever, or so I thought.
Until it made a glorious return, with Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto: Vice City 10 Year Anniversary for iPhone. And the memories flooded back.
From police chases (complete with road blocks and barbed wire tire stops) to helicopter gun battles, to streetside chainsaw attacks – everything I once loved about this game came roaring back, and right at my fingertips.
Putting it simply: this is one of the most extensive gaming experience I’ve ever had the pleasure of enjoying on a mobile device. And even more surprising – it still plays like brand new.
Somehow Rockstar has managed to escape the uncanny valley of portable gaming, shrugging off outdated graphics by putting it on a device which isn’t famous for amazing visuals (sorry Infinity Blade) and disguising outdated control systems with touchscreen movement.
Sure, you might walk the wrong direction sometimes and turning in cars isn’t quite as smooth as with a keyboard and mouse – but wow this is one title you don’t want to miss. The missions are even timed perfectly for a bus or train ride home, with 5-10 minute gameplay sessions fitting in perfectly with my commute, and no need to “hard” save the game when shutting down your phone.
I mean, there are some missions which can be difficult thanks to the aiming system (a mix between auto aim and slide and touch) and occasionally you may steer left instead of right and end up in a head on collision – but if you can find a game anywhere near the detail, quality and length of this title I would advise you buy it.
I don’t think I’ve ever written a review as unanimously positive as this, and maybe it’s due to my former love of this title – but it really is one of the best ports I’ve ever played.
By all means try before you buy, but if you can afford this (it comes in around 8$), I doubt you will regret it – and it really shows that no matter how far we come as gamers, some things (like a golf cart car chase with a druglord and his cronies) never get old.