Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories Review
June 26, 2006 by Kenneth Seward, Jr.
Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories did really well on the PSP and has recently been moved to the PS2. Will it live up to the GTA standards set by GTA III, Vice City, and San Andreas? I am not so sure.
To Steal, or Not To Steal…
The Grand Theft Auto franchise has been developing a huge fan base over the years. GTA was well received when it first came on the scene in 1998. Once it moved into the third dimension, starting with GTA III, it was loved by fans all over the US. This brings me to Grand Theft Auto: Liberty Stories for the PSP. Following in its big brothers footsteps, it was an instant hit with fans and newcomers alike. This isn’t hard to believe seeing as how the GTA series is one of the most talked about franchises in video game history. Even though it’s not the biggest franchise (The Mario franchise blows it out of the water with over 257 million sold compared to GTA’s 50 million), it’s still one that is known by just about everyone on the planet. All Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories had to do right was follow suit and it would have sold well. With that being said, it did better than expected. Not only did it offer the free-roaming gameplay like its big brothers, it also had a cool story and multiplayer modes to boot. You would think that when it moves to the Playstation 2 that it will be even better right? That’s what I thought as well, at least until I played it.
First of all, I would like to note that I thought that moving GTA: Liberty City Stories to the PS2 was a bad idea. People still complain about the PSP’s library mostly consisting of down graded PS2 games. Why would you take one of its exclusive titles and port it over to the PS2? If it was any other title, this would take away any reason to pick up the PSP version because you could get a better one on the PS2. I thought the same thing would happen to GTA: Liberty City Stories. It proved me wrong. It is actually worse on the PS2 than it is on the PSP. The only reasons that would make me choose this version over the PSP one are the facts that the controls work better and it’s on a bigger screen. But those things are to be expected by now. The controls work just like all the other GTA’s up to this point (X makes you run, square makes you jump, triangle lets you steal a car and so forth). Being on a bigger screen just means you can see what’s going on with out hurting your neck always looking down at the PSP in your lap. And seeing as how the story is the same for each version, there is nothing new that the PS2 brings to the table.
It’s The Cops! No, Wait. It’s a Taxi. No, Wait…
What shocks me the most about GTA: Liberty City Stories are the graphics. This is the first time I’ve seen a PSP title look better than its PS2 counterpart. Because it was on a mobile system, Story’s graphics were considered to be good. That same level of graphic quality doesn’t look well on the PS2. What makes things worse is that the graphics on the PS2 version can hinder you from completing certain missions. For example, one mission had me running from the cops in one of the game’s slower moving cars. I was going over a hill when all of a sudden the road disappeared. It was like I was about to drive over a cliff. Panicking, I tried to turn around and ran right into a cop car which then penned me to a wall. Because I had a slow moving car, I wasn’t able to back up before the cop ran up to me and busted me. Another mission had me racing on a motorcycle all around liberty city, only to lose because I ran into a truck that was camouflaged by the sun’s rays. It was nearly impossible to see. I know GTA isn’t known for its graphics but, there is no excuse for this when you have older games in the series that look better.
Was That Gunshots?
The sound quality in Stories is pretty good. All the expected sounds are accounted for and the voice acting is great. The music selection, while it never outshines that of Vice City, is ok. I just wish there wasn’t so much profanity on the radio (it takes away from the realism).
Is It Fun?
GTA: Liberty City Stories is ok in the fun factor. Other living out the story of Toni Cipriani’s struggle for power, there isn’t any other reason to play this game. The multiplayer mode was taken out of this version for some reason. We got a small taste of multiplayer in San Andreas, which makes me wonder why Rockstar decided not to include Story’s multiplayer mode in the PS2 version. It would have added replay value that might have helped its over all appeal.
If you already have a PSP and can get around its control issues, then I would recommend getting GTA: Liberty City Stories for it. It’s a great game and addition to the GTA series. If you don’t and you still want to play Stories on your PS2, I suggest you give it a rental and save twenty bucks. The best of the series, in my opinion, is Vice City (selling a couple million more than San Andreas). Liberty City Stories for the PS2 would be at the other end of the spectrum.