When Grand Theft Auto 3 came out last year on handheld devices, it in many ways marked the rise of iOS and Android as serious gaming platforms. By bringing a visually-enhanced version of one of the most-loved games of all time to the palms of people’s hands, it proved that the formats are here to compete with dedicated handheld gaming consoles like the 3DS and PS Vita.
Now, a year later, and it’s the tenth anniversary of Vice City, which is regarded by some (presumably fans of Scarface, Miami Vice and 80s music) to be the finest game of the GTA III series. You take control of mob hard man Tommy Vercetti, as he aims to establish himself as a key player on Vice City’s crime scene.
The game looks beautiful, with adjustable settings on Android allowing players to adjust the game to run well in accordance with their device (my HTC One X can run it maxed out without problems). The neon pink signs and clean white buildings of Vice City never looked so good, and it’s a joy to return to this theme park of a city after all these years.
Controls have always been an iffy one with relatively advanced games like this, but Vice City improves on GTA III, mainly by allowing you to tap the targets on the screen that you want to shoot at. The driving controls feel good, but there should really more flexibility with repositioning buttons and resizing them for those of us with less graceful fingers.
I’ve experienced very few glitches so far in Vice City, with only the occasional wall being mysteriously porous, allowing players to walk through it.
Ten years on, Vice City’s storyline, characters, and sheer scale of fun things to do remains as sharp as ever. Furthermore, there are few games where you genuinely plug in your headphones so that you can get immersed in the brilliant soundtrack, which will make you nostalgic for the eighties, even if you weren’t born in the era.
Vice City, despite its age, is one of the best examples of a game combining great storytelling with sheer silly fun. No sandbox Gameloft offering can compare to Rockstar’s veteran offering.