GTA Vice City (1)

Genre: Action-Adventure/Third Person Shooter
Year: 2002
Developed by: Rockstar North
Published by: Rockstar Games
Platforms: PS2, Windows, Xbox, OS X, iOS, Android
Feeling Like: And I raaaaan

Is there a more endearing decade than the 1980s? Some may be put off by the big hair, or the zany colors, but the rest of us know that this was an era of style. A period where nobody asked if they should, only if they could. Loud music, louder cars and a penchant for excess means you can instantly identify any music video, any TV show and any movie that’s set during my favorite time period.

Rockstar had a monumental challenge ahead of them; release a follow up to one of the most influential games of all time, Grand Theft Auto 3. How do you top a console defining title that is still leaving its mark on our industry? If not the pioneer, then the mad scientist who nearly perfected the open world game saw you steal, murder and drive through a living, breathing world unlike anything we’d seen before.

How, then?

Easy. You place it during the most affluent, indulgent time period in our modern history and you set it in one of the craziest, drug-fueled, mob influenced town of Miami, Vice City. Committing Arson, Larceny and Racketeering didn’t feel illegal, it felt like an initiation.

I wasn’t entirely awetruck bu Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. The initial shock of hijacking a car and going anywhere had long since worn off, but there are so many other highlights that dwarf that disappointment. Like a stellar voice cast, headed by Ray Liotta, Tom Sizemore and Dennis Hopper. The rest is a who’s who of Hollywood actors, leading to the game’s biggest strength; feeling like a big budget action movie. A dash of Scarface, a lot of Miami Vice and a pinch of The Long Good Friday. Mix that together by a veteran developer that is motivated by previous mountains of success and you have an incredible sequel on your hands.

GTA Vice City (2)
Even the guns have 80s fashion on them

It’s way too much fun just cruising around. Since I played this on my PC, I spent hours perfecting my 80s playlist instead of going through the main storyline. It led me down to a rabbit hole that began on Youtube and would often end on iTunes. Searching Reddit for suggestions made sure that I didn’t miss anything and ensured Tommy Vercetti was always accompanied by Madonna, A Flock of Seagulls and Bonnie Tyler. I still haven’t found better road trip companions.

As a consequence of the excellent open world design and delight I had driving aimlessly, I never felt compelled to progress the story. I eventually beat it, but not before self-spoiling myself on the entire synopsis of the plot to ensure I wasn’t missing out on anything worth missing out on. Sometimes it felt a bit too similar to the movies previously mentioned, but is that such a bad thing? When ever corner is soaked in neon, or when every location of the massive world has something to do in it, it’s impossible not to show some form of admiration. Even a straight, enemy-less road becomes a perfect level when tapping my foot to Prince.

I owe a debt of gratitude to Grand Theft Auto: Vice City the experience, much more so than Grand Theft Auto: Vice City the game.

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