GRAND THEFT AUTO: LIBERTY CITY STORIES / Rockstar / Sony PSP
 
 
The good: Liberty City Stories impressively resembles the PS2 GTA games, losing little in the way of fidelity in conversion to the PSP. And while many 3D polygonal games (like the Metal Gear Solid series) suffered greatly in their PSP ports due to the loss of the 2nd analog stick, here it's more of a minor nuisance that doesn't tremendously impact the gameplay. You have to stop and hold still to move the camera freely on foot, and you can't do it in the car (as well as only being able to do drive-bys on the driver's side), but other than that you hardly miss it.

The bad: The impressive conversion of the GTA 3 engine is somewhat squandered by horrid mission design. It's like a parade of the most obnoxious shit from GTA 3 and Vice City that everyone hated - irritating mandatory races, bullshit timed missions, getting dropped suddenly into massive firefights, and compound missions where you have to do some long tedious task before being dropped into the bit where you can die/fail easily - except with slightly jankier gunplay, a character that takes less punishment, and cars that seem to tip more easily.

You play as Tony Cipriani, minor character from GTA 3 voiced by Michael Madsen who briefly gave you a series of missions early in the game (the guy who was henpecked by his mother.) The game takes place 3 years before GTA 3, and sees Cipriani rise in the ranks after getting out of jail for some stand-up thing he did for the Leone crime family. GTA 3's map is recycled, as are quite a few of the assets, but a few ideas from Vice City are cobbled in, like the optional pizza delivery missions and some of the vehicles. Unfortunately, Madsen doesn't return for voice duties.

After originally coming out for the PSP, this game was eventually ported back to the PS2 along with follow-up Vice City Stories ... this PSP version certainly isn't terrible and is very good in a number of ways, but the demanding mission design seems like it would really be better suited to the PS2 controller. If you're curious and don't absolutely have to have it on the PSP, I'd skip this version for the other.
 
 
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