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February 23, 2007
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories - PS2 Preview
Release Date Publisher Developer Anticipation Players Price
9/3/20072K GamesRockstar Leeds1$49.95

CHECK OUT THIS VIDEO OF GTA:VCS (Dial-up 6.5MB or Broadband 22MB)

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Graphical detail is improved.
It's a funny world. When it comes to video games the vast majority of companies like to promote the products as early and as vigorously as possible. Rockstar don't do that. Hell, it often seems they don't want you to know about what they have planned until just weeks before release. Don't believe me? Well on February 8th Rockstar announced the previously PSP exclusive Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories was heading to the PS2 and would be released on March 9th in Europe and Australia - thats a mere 29 days prior to the game hitting the shelves! PSP owners will likely be quite familiar with this title, and will know just how impressive it is. Now PS2 owners can check it out soon too.

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Nice building...
Vice City, 1984. Opportunity abounds in a city emerging from the swamps, its growth fueled by the violent power struggle in a lucrative drugs trade. Construction is everywhere as a shining metropolis rises from foundations of crime and betrayal. As a soldier, Vic Vance (the brother of Lance Vance) has always protected his dysfunctional family, his country, himself. One bad decision later and that job is about to get much harder. Kicked out onto the streets of a city torn between glamour and gluttony, Vic is faced with a stark choice - build an empire or be crushed.

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One of the many cut-scenes.
As with other titles in the Grand Theft Auto series this is a third person sandbox styled title. By sandbox we mean that you are placed in a large world and are left to your own devices to explore the city, complete missions or discover numerous locations, items and events in your own time. The developers have thrown in some new things to do including swimming in water and flying a helicopter - both missing from Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories.

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Cruising around on the motorbike.
Unfortunately it is believed that, as was the case with the previous game ported to the PS2, the multi-player sections will be removed. It's a shame as that was one of the biggest improvements to the PSP game with a tonne of entertaining Wi-Fi mini-games. Obviously without wireless connectivity on the PS2, and either a lack of time, or a lack of resources to develop the online experience it will most likley be dropped. Expect confirmation if not just prior to release (which would obviously mean in the next two weeks!) or when the game hits the shelves.

Graphically this game looks pretty much on par with the PSP game, and the second PSP game was significantly improved from the first. We can also expect quite a few improvements to this PS2 version as was the case with Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories. Primarily I would expect that the draw distance is improved and while the game won't look as good as many other PS2 games in terms of character and world detail it won't be bad to look at overall.

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The city at dusk.
Audio - should it remain the same as the PSP game (and there's no indication that it won't be) - will include tracks from artists such as Sister Sledge, Run DMC, Blondie, Barry White, Earth Wind & Fire, Marvin Gaye, Foreigner, Judas Priest, INXS, Phil Collins and The Pretenders while Dorian Missick (The Manchurian Candidate, Six Degrees) providing the voiceover for Vic Vance.

Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories looks like another very solid release on the PS2 and with Grand Theft Auto IV still another 8 months away it will be a great gap filler. Given that ten times more people own a PS2 then PSP this should put the game in to vastly larger numbers of gamers hands then previously and at only $AU49.95 this game is a bargain. Keep an eye out for release on March 9th in Europe and Australia with America receiving the game on March 6th.