Grand Theft Auto open world classic, inspired by 1980s Miami
For a game released October 27, 2002, Grand Theft Auto Vice City has stood the test of time and aged well. It's one of the most iconic games in the entire series, and it laid the groundwork for future titles. The game has a riveting story line, but if you're the type who just wants to cause mayhem, nothing will stop you. Vice City does a phenomenal job of making the game feel progressive. For example, the more you move throughout the story mode, the more islands you will unlock. Vice City has two major islands and six other lesser islands. Two of the smaller islands include Starfish island and Prawn island.
Setting and Story Mode
Grand Theft Auto Vice City takes place in 1986 Miami, and you have a brilliant recreation of the city in the 1980s. What always strikes you about the Grand Theft Auto titles is how much depth Rockstar Games puts into their titles. To give you an idea about the total immersion approach the company takes, they have included more than 10 different radio stations, and they have an 11th radio station called Tape Deck included for the Xbox. The radio stations like K-chat have some of the most hilarious interviews you will ever find in a video game. The game goes in depth, and you can literally play this game for thousands of hours without ever touching the story mode. In fact, a lot of gamers do just that.
Vice City even includes its own sports team called the Vice City Mambas, and they have one known player called BJ Smith. It's assumed throughout the game the Mambas play in Hyman Memorial Stadium located in Downtown Vice City. Most likely, Rockstar Games even based this sports team off of the Miami Dolphins.
The City Stays True to the Actual City
Following much of the same vibe you'd feel in Miami, Vice City transports you into the culture of 1986 south Florida, and you have a lot of the problems you'd have in regular Miami. For example, when you first start the game, Hurricane Hermione threatens to ravage one of the islands, which causes it to be locked. As you continue through the storyline; however, more of this sandbox world will be open to exploration. That's one of the most satisfying things about the Grand Theft Auto series is how they not only give you a gigantic sandbox world, they also offer it in bits and parcels so that you actually appreciate it more. Like with the real Miami, you have the tropical climate where you have year-round sunshine, but you will also experience the occasional thunderstorms and rain.
Where Vice City Differs from San Andreas and Liberty City
Throughout the game, you will find Vice City stays true to the real Miami. Unlike in San Andreas and Liberty City, Vice City does not have a railway system. This is not because the game designers were lazy but because they wanted to capture the true essence of real Miami. For example, in real Miami, you can't dig more than 15 to 20 feet before hitting water, which is why there's no subway system and Vice City does not have one either.
The Story in Vice City
Some people have said they'd rather cause mayhem than delve into the storyline, which is a shame. The plot starts you out as Tommy Vercetti, who voice acted by Ray Liotta. Tommy has just been released after serving a 15-year sentence behind bars for being framed for a gruesome crime by the Forelli family, the crime family he had previously worked for. They never thought the justice system would release him, and now he has been released.
Paid for Daredevil Tricks
Rockstar Games puts a unique spin on Grand Theft Auto Vice City where you can ride wheelies on motorcycles. Your score will be recorded, and you will be paid for how long you pulled it off. In addition, you can jump cars over the river from one island to the next. What makes this stunt interesting is how in Vice City, a screen saying, "Wasted" pops up as soon as you hit the water. You can't swim in Vice City, so if you don't make the jump, you die.
Another cool thing about the game is how you can own property throughout Vice City. For example, you could buy a safehouse in Downtown Vice City with a helicopter. If you have the cops chasing you, you can run to your safehouse, and you will lose the heat. Some properties will also become available to you as you beat the levels. For example, the Diaz Mansion can be found on Starfish Island, and after you beat Diaz in a gunfight, the mansion becomes Vercetti Estate. It's an impressive mansion with pools, a hedge maze, and lavish terraces. There's a small room in the basement where you can pick up a pump action shotgun, body armor, and an M4. You also have a speed boat in the back where you will do the occasional mission.
Grand Theft Auto has always had interesting characters throughout the game. Vice City is known for quite a few eccentric characters from a shady, neurotic lawyer to a sociopathic Dominican drug dealer to the don of the Liberty City mafia, you will rub shoulders with the worst of Vice City's criminal underworld as the story line continues. Betrayals and friendships gone sour capture the real criminal element in simulated form. The game gives you such a rich selection of interesting characters that it never gets boring to play.
What sets Vice City apart from other games of the time was how deep it went into story mode. This is some of the deepest and most immersive gameplay you will encounter in a video game, and for the time, it was extraordinarily innovative.