Rockstar had a pretty stellar idea: Grand Theft Auto on the go! Liberty City Stories was their first portable (good) Grand Theft Auto, and this is GTA on the go. No compromises were made….. to the GTA III game mechanics. This entry, unfortunately, leaves out some of the new features introduced in the previous title, San Andreas, such as the ability to customize your car and free-aim while moving; though most of us used the auto-aim more often than not; it’s still unfortunate that they had to compromise a bit due to the PSP’s being less powerful technically than the PS2. Still, this is like GTA III on the go; in fact it’s a prequel to GTA III, with some added features, such as the ability to pick between a couple of already-owned outfits (though you can’t buy, and fully customize like in SA), as well as unlocking some; and a brand-new, hefty campaign, with a good story, that sets up one of GTA III’s main mission-givers, Toni Cipriani, the main protagonist of this story; and a decent, fun local multiplayer.
Like I mentioned before, you will be playing as Toni Cipriani, an NPC from GTA III, and a made man in the Leone crime family. Toni Cipriani leaves Liberty City after killing a made man for Salvatore Leone, and lays his head low for a good while. In 1998 (3 years before III), he returns to resume business as usual, only to realize that in the time he had been gone, he had his rank stripped from him, and gave it to Vincenzo Cilli. He now just a goon, and has to work his way back up the ladder. To do this, he must take out two other rival families; the Sindaccos and the Forellis; and help a couple of familiar GTA III faces…..
If you’ve played GTA III (since it’s been 12 years, you should have), you will be instantly familiar with the map, since it’s almost exactly the same as III’s, but with minor cosmetic changes (such as store signs and the such) ; as well as a Little Italy section that isn’t in GTA III (for good reason….).
Perhaps the biggest improvement compared to III is the inclusion of motor bikes, marking the first time a player has ever driven a motorcycle in Liberty City, since they were outlawed prior to III, by a public ordinence supported by the Maibatsu Corporation, to make room for cars (including their Maibatsu Monstrosity). A great improvement over San Andreas is the removal of having to exercise and eat, though that means that you now have one less way to heal yourself.
Unfortunately, there were some pretty great features introduced in San Andreas that have been removed, the most jarring removal being the ability to swim, which means that water is once again an instant death trap (the in-game explanation for this is that the water in LC is very toxic, and will kill you in a matter of seconds). You also can no longer climb, making reaching certain hidden packages difficult; and the ability to fly aircraft is removed entirely (unless you use cheats). Also, due to the nature of the PSP, you can no longer manually control the camera, since there is only one stick, though this isn’t really a problem; this feature is included in the PS2 port, which features controls identical to III and Vice City.
Another staple brought over from it’s console brethren is the car radio, which features music and talk radio. Unfortunately, the music isn’t all that great, and even Lazlow can’t save this mess of a radio. It’s not just a mess in programming, as it’s also pretty glitchy, and inconsistent. Whenever you leave a vehicle, the programming will often change to something else, or the audio track will start over. Still, Lazlow is pretty funny; and Liberty City’s FCC seems to be more lax when it comes to censoring profanities on the air than in III.
Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories is another solid entry for the series, and is deserving of a playthrough. It may not be the best Grand Theft Auto, but it’s still pretty fun, with a hefty playtime (for the PSP). One thing I have to say is that it has a rather easy ending, which is off-putting, considering how the rest of the game isn’t all too easy. Still, if you’re a fan, or are just looking for a solid open-world game for your PSP, give this one a try.
My tastes in games breach all genres, though my fortes are platformers and first-person shooters. My favorite game series is probably Super Mario, specifically the 3D games. I also love Rayman, Hitman, Bioshock, Half-Life/Portal, Uncharted, and Grand Theft Auto. As for my favorite game, it's hard to say: I love Portal 2, Shadow of the Colossus, Half-Life 2, Bioshock, Resident Evil 4, Super Mario Galaxy 2, Rayman Legends, Hitman 2: Silent Assassin, Grand Theft Auto IV, L.A. Noire, Fallout 3, Journey, and Metal Gear Solid 3: Subsistence all so damn much.
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