Grand Theft Auto: Vice City was never one of my favorites out of the illustrious GTA franchise, but because of the high caliber of the games, that doesn’t make it a bad game by any means. With how successful the GTA III port for the iOS was, I knew I had to play Vice City. These iPhone and iPad ports of classic titles never disappoints, and the touchscreen controls never break the game. For a game that was released a decade ago, its nice to see it’s aged gameplay feel so fresh.
If you’ve been living in a cave for the past 20 years, then you might not know the story. You play as Tommy Vercetti, the wise guy that gets deep into the world of organized crime. This is basically the gist of every GTA game, but this one takes place in a Miami like city in the 1980’s. The story has a lot of inspirations from mob and famous criminal flicks from that time, one of the most apparent being Scarface. With all the cool 70’s and 80’s references in the game, I still found the story to be the weakest out of the GTA III trilogy.
There have been some improvements with the game’s visuals, not all that big a difference, but it is noticeable. Vice City’s neon centric visual style only gets heightened by the HD screens of your iOS devices. This is extremely apparent if you’re running this on an iOS device with the Retina Display, especially on iPad. There have been a lot of improvements with the character models, the lighting has gotten a lot better as well. The framerate is rock solid, even during the action heavy sequences. Even with all the new graphical enhancements, you’re still gonna see things that make you remember that the game came out a decade ago.
The game could have been a bit a bit weird to control, but with GTA III being handled so well, I knew that Rockstar would do a good job with the game’s control mechanics. It’s always interesting to see the direction these games take, since the GTA games are pretty complex, they require a lot of buttons. Unlike the GTA III port, you can fully customize the on screen touch controls to your liking. It won’t take long to configure the buttons to your liking. After you do so, it just makes playing the game comfortable, which is rare for any type of touch only game. I also love the intuitive auto-aim system, it makes shooting an abundance of people that much more easier. All you have to do is point Tommy at an enemy, and just fire the trigger. Your bullets will connect with enemies on most occasions. The system is perfect, but it’s workable, and it has a lot of room for potential.
Overall, Vice City for the iOS is a good port of a great game. The game is better than the GTA III port in basically every way. You can easily tell that Rockstar put a lot of time into making this game the best it could be. The mechanics are solid, and running around causing chaos is just as fun as before.