Vice City promotional screenshot from 2003

Vice City turns 20 on PC – here’s our 93% original review from 2003

Vice City turns 20 on PC – here’s our 93% original review from 2003

In 2003, I didn’t appreciate Ray Liotta’s great performance as Vice City’s big-mouthed protagonist, Tommy Vercetti. I did think he was hilarious, but it was only in retrospect that I realized how different, how natural, his acting was compared to the Command & Conquer cutscenes I grew up with. Even 20 years later, Liotta’s performances still revolve around films like Crime Boss: Rockay City.

Former PC Gamer reviewer Alec Meer disagreed with me, calling Liotta a “so-so” actor (Goodfellas, Alec!? Cop Land?? Come on!). But context is key. Riota’s films were certainly so-so in the early 2000s, and it was his stellar performance in 2019’s “Marriage Story” that revitalized his career. Mill went on to highlight “legendary” Dennis Hopper, also in Vice City, and I think it’s safe to say that Lyotard made his way into that canon as well.

Liotta will forever be known as Goodfellas, except to a very specific audience – teenagers who played video games in the early 2000s. Even though Vice City is an unabashed imitation of Scarface, it’s clearly the beginning of Rockstar’s ambition to have real Hollywood actors tell Hollywood-caliber gangster stories. No wonder it scored a rare 93% in PC Gamer.

This is our original review published in the July 2003 UK edition of PC Gamer magazine.

need to know

publisher rock star game
developer northern rock star
price £35
smallest system PIII 800, 128Mb memory, 32Mb 3D card
respected P4 1.6GHz, 256Mb RAM, 64Mb 3D card
multiplayer game not any
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release date come out now

I’ve been naughty. I’ve had a bad time. I’m even evil. I lied to my parents and my girlfriend. I stole, I threatened, I cheated. I even once tried to beat up boys at school (and probably the country) who were smaller and weaker than me with a Tupperware lunch box full of Dairylea sandwiches.

Now I regret everything and nothing. But in Vice City, at least I had reason to be a horrible person. I see a yellow car – surely the rarest and therefore most coveted car color in my impoverished, materialistic worldview – and I can’t help but dab the doorknob as I pass by , testing it lightly with a trembling, exploring finger, smiling slightly, just… wondering. I know why. Why do I have the urge to apathetically beat the woman with the pram with her own handbag, which is hindering my progress at WH Smith. and. I think. OK Because not only can I graciously go home and safely live out every violent fantasy I have room for on my computer, but now I can do it while yelling frantically in a baritone voice, “There ain’t a hundred people or more Something multiple people can do. I bless Africa with rain and I will take some time to do things we never had before.”

(Image credit: Rockstar Games)

You’re Tommy Vercetti, recently released from the riots and wandering the streets of Vice City. Various employers offer you jobs in a non-linear fashion, with individual tasks leading to short stories. Usually, these stories end with you taking over the property and business of the opposing criminal in Scarface fashion.

To not like this game is to hate video games. Like it means you’re a twisted little person, a jaded, mass-market conformist just like the rest of us and the best of us. But don’t worry, it’s okay.I know it’s a killing game after all a lot of People do some driving and shooting – but in a more entertaining way than anywhere else. Granted, it’s not without its flaws: repetitive missions, some dodgy AI and physics, and city interactivity limited by its PS2 origins. Most prominently, it’s a rehash of a show we’ve seen four times before, albeit light-years ahead of its predecessor.

Production values ​​are ridiculously high.

But Vice City is truly spectacular, and probably the most polished game you’ll see this side of the Brasso factory. The production values ​​alone are ridiculously high.The estimated cost is mind-boggling with all the Hollywood cast, from the so-so (Reliota) to the legendary (Denis Hopper) and the sublime Tourette-ism of Luis Guzman, and over 100 tracks of 80’s hits , and a brutal reminder of just how populist Grand Theft Auto III is, no matter how it feels yourHeart and Soul.

But it doesn’t matter. almost. Gone are the lurking, unquenchable problems that plagued GTA III’s filthy but alluring hell and held it back from its true greatness. The last game only seems to work on a third of PCs, and probably only if it was built with the screwdriver of the gods. Now it’s nearly impossible to recall twitches and stutters, screwed-up fog or illegible text—Vice City runs smoothly and beautifully, though it’s hardly worth playing if you’re not on a half-baked machine.

(Image credit: Rockstar Games)

While the switch to PC has suffered from the removal of the game’s social elements (getting a crowd of people gathered around a monitor and laughing at a frivolous kill is harder than around a giant TV), the game has taken it to a new level with mouse support. The ability to precisely snipe (you can now even shoot tires or through the windshield; mind you, the police, too) is essential to feeling like an invincible underworld lord. Also, depending on your mode of transportation, the difference between driving and action is even more pronounced as you switch from a gamepad or keyboard to mouse and WASD and back. Vehicles are still the game’s battered meat, of course, and are generally better honed and less reliant on courier missions, but it’s the cities themselves that give you this free-roaming independence. Vice is much bigger than Liberty, and there’s always something new to discover – military bases, airports, buildings you can now wander inside, and even a race featuring GTA’s NASCAR and Stunt Car mini-games field. Sadly, there are a few ill-advised additions–the RC helicopter is annoyingly clumsy to fly, the hidden packages don’t matter, and some of the later game missions prove extremely difficult to complete. But these are exceptions.

The city is full of aimless wandering and bathing in blood, but it’s never as uncomfortably aimless, imbecile, or largely uninteresting as Post 2. While it’s very clearly the same game as Grand Theft Auto III, with giant, neon, ultra-polished bells strapped to its muscular torso, that hasn’t stopped it from being one of the most mesmerizing and consistently entertaining games out there. One on any platform, forever.

Good or bad, we don’t mind – it’s definitely more important because it’s tasteful. —Alec Mill

(Image source: Future) (Image source: Future)

Grand Theft Auto: Vice City: Price Comparison

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Bart Thompson
Bart is's List Writer . He is from Houston, Texas, and is currently pursuing a bachelor's degree in creative writing, majoring in non-fiction writing. He likes to play The Elder Scrolls Online and learn everything about The Elder Scrolls series.