Date: 02-27-2008 20:22
Reviewer: Heartbreak

Type: PSP
Genre: Action Adventure
Developer: Rockstar Games

Grand Theft Auto.. a series with so much controversy, yet so popular. Liberty City is the first of the 3 Grand Theft Auto games that was released. Does it live up to the earlier games released on the PS2 and the Xbox?

Plot
Liberty City Stories actually takes place a few years before Grand Theft Auto III. That means that some parts of the city hasn't been completed in terms of construction, etc. For example, the Callaghan bridge is still under construction in Liberty City Stories, while it is completed in GTA III. I really like this idea, it really just adds to the immersion of Liberty City. Anyways, you take control of Tony Cipriani. He had to kill a "made" man, and the respect for him in the Leone family just dropped. Tony has been hiding for the last few years, and now he's come back. The plot has its crazy moments, with assassinating a mayor of a city or taking a picture of a man in diapers. It's not really meant to be taken too seriously.


Gameplay
Considering how big Liberty City is, the game runs really well on the PSP. There were some instances where there were some slowdowns, but those were easily overlooked. You move around with the analog stick, while you shoot/attack button. The controls aren't the best, especially the ones with little hands, but it works.

There are actually 3 main areas in the game, structured similarly to New York City. The first area you'll start the game is in, is kind of a low class area; it's what you would call the slums. The 2nd area is basically downtown; its layout is very similar to Times Square in New York. The 3rd area is the suburban area; with several big mansions and houses. As you move throughout these areas, you can instantly get a feel of what the city is like. For example, the 1st area is poor, like I said before. So you wouldn't see nice sports cars, you would see more of just cheap cars, or and endless supplies of mopeds. Again, it adds to the atmosphere of the game.

Graphically, Liberty City Stories doesn't really shine. Everything looks bland, and boring in some ways. There's not thing to gripe about though; the game is simply too big for a good looking city. It doesn't just apply to the city though, the people inhabiting them look just as bad. You'll see plenty of the same characters and probably be disappointed by how many clones of people there are throughout the city. Again, it's not game-breaking, and Rockstar Games was probably limited by the hardware limitations of the PSP.

There are roughly more than 60 vehicles in the game, which includes all the motorcycles, the emergency vehicles (Ambulance, police cruiser), motorcycles and boats. It's a lot of vehicles, and I expected some of them to handle the same way. But that wasn't the case, as each vehicle has at least a significant unique feel to it; you'll definitely have to change how you drive through out the city if you switch the vehicles you drive. Because some of them can turn corners great, while some others just can't handle it. I can't remember countless times where I would just take a corner way too fast and try to recover, ending in a tipped over car exploding and killing the Don. You're going to have to bring your A game in terms of driving. And of course, there are radio stations that you can tune into while driving. There are 10 of them, and they are just great. Some of them have rock songs, while some of them just cover pop songs. One of them, named LCFR (Liberty City Free Radio), is just a station composed of talk. It's sometimes hilarious while you listen to it, as there's a certain humor in it that I cannot call a name to it.

There's also a multiplayer mode in the game, for those of you with a friend with a copy of the game to play with, or by Ad-Hoc party (PS3 wired internet connection required). Though it feels more of like a tacked on thing, there are 7 game types for you to enjoy with a friend. There is the standard deathmatch type of course, while some get more interesting. There's one that is called "Tanks for the Memories" and the reason why this still sticks in my head is the fact you get a tank for you and your enemies to fight over. If you get in the tank, you'll probably dominate as it is very hard to destroy the tank.

Last Few Words
Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories is an excellent game. It has everything you probably want in a game; guns, blood, gangs, illegal substances, and fast cars. Though the game definitely lacks in terms of presentation, this is definitely a game you want in your PSP collection. Now, if you will, just let me get back to world domination.. in Liberty City.. with my tank.


Presentation: 6
Graphics: 6
Sound: 8
Gameplay: 9
Lifespan: 9
Overall: 7.6
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