Whilst the title obviously suggests I am talking about Grand Theft Auto, it is not GTA:IV that I am playing at the moment. No, in-fact, I decided to pick up GTA: Vice City Stories for the PSP to give it another go. Prior to this, GTA: Liberty City Stories was the game I had put the most hours into on my PSP and I had thoroughly enjoyed the non-linear (or at least out-of-order mission style) game play and abundance of side quests that the GTA brand is famous for. When I first started playing GTA:VCS, I was underwhelmed. The starting location in the army barracks is not the best due to it being placed almost under the airport which confused the hell out of me when I first started to play. Compared to the well thought out streets of Liberty City, I felt lost and disorientated.
I am glad I picked this game back up last week, for I have just discovered the thrill of empire building! A feature completely missing from Liberty City Stories, you can take over ‘property’ either by buying or creative negotiating (read shooting and pillaging) and establish a variety of businesses in these newly obtained premises. These businesses contribute to your overall empire and pay you periodically giving you a nice cash income for the later stages of the game. But it doesn’t end there, to build up each business, you need to perform side quests which vary from playing cab driver to hookers (for prostitution rackets) to vicious vigilante attacks for protection rackets. That’s not all, there are a few which I have yet to unlock. Overall, if you have not played GTA:VCS on the PSP, I highly suggest you buy a copy (fairly cheap now) and try it out, don’t be fooled by the strange colours and 80s nostalgia theme, they grow on you very quickly! Although I have not yet played GTA:4 (and will hold off posting definitively about it until I do), from what I have been hearing from reliable sources, the story line is weaker than expected with access to other islands being granted too early and a lack of variety in side quests. Still, I highly recommend you try out both games and decide for yourself!