A game that's more 80's than the 80's
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I'm Gaming Jay: Youtube gamer, let's player, retrogaming fan, and determined optimist... Join me in this series while I try out EVERY game in the book 1001 VIDEO GAMES YOU MUST PLAY BEFORE YOU DIE, before I die. The game review for each game will focus on the question of whether you MUST play this game before you die. But to be honest, the game reviews are just for fun, this series is more about the YouTube gamer journey. Let's try out those classic retro games we grew up with, have fond memories of, or heard of but never got a chance to try! And with that said, the game review for today is...
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
Developer(s) Rockstar North
Platform(s) Playstation 2, Xbox, Windows
Genre(s) Third-Person Shooter, Action-Adventure
Grand Theft Auto games have always been about chaos and mayhem. However, Vice City was the first GTA game that I think really developed a strong personality and used the environment itself as a character. And boy, when it came to portraying the 80's, did they ever go for it. Vice City does a great job of exaggerating the 80's but also respecting it. From the Commodore 64 intro screen to the amazing 80's radio stations and commercials, to nods to the mafia and crime movies of the 80's, Vice City is truly a love letter to a great decade.
So like all GTA titles, Vice City is essentially a giant violence sandbox game with some missions tacked on. Mind you, by the time of Vice City, Rockstar was getting quite good at creating fun and varied missions. But the real fun of Vice City comes from its freedom. Steal any car you want. Gun down any person you want. Destroy any thing you want. It's all yours for the taking!
As far as GTA games go, this one has aged. The graphics don't look as impressive as I remember them being, and the city feels more sparsely populated than modern GTA titles. The world is also quite a bit simpler and the mission structures have less complexity to them. So is this the best GTA game out there? No, I can't say that it is. But whereas many of the GTA games have incrementally improved on one another and so each has come to "replace" the one that came before it (in a way), none has returned to the caricature of the 80's that was portrayed in Vice City. Hence, Vice City stands out as a unique beast to me.
If the 80's holds no special meaning to you then you may want to try a more modern GTA game instead. But if you're looking for a classic Rockstar experience and you, like me, have a soft spot for the 80's, then steal a car, turn up the radio, and enjoy the mayhem!
➙ Must You Play It?
The only Grand Theft Auto game to ever portray the awesomeness that was the 80's, this game is a must play for anyone that has any nostalgia for that decade. But hey, if that's not you, that's fine. If you're just looking for cutting edge gameplay you may be better served with one of the more recent GTA games.