Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories was an exclusive game for the PlayStation Portable. Because of its success, it was later released on the PlayStation 2 console. It is the second Grand Theft Auto game to appear on the handheld console as well as the sixth and final game (but first chronologically) of the 3D Universe. The game was developed by Rockstar Leeds, and published and released by Rockstar Games.
Take-Two Interactive originally announced the title was to be released in North America on October 17, 2006 and in Europe on October 20, but early in September, there was an announcement stating the game had been delayed for release until October 31 in North America and November 3 in Europe. It had also announced that the game will be released on November 10, 2006 in Australia.
On February 7, 2007 Rockstar Games announced plans for a PlayStation 2 release. The release dates were March 6, 2007 for North America and March 9, 2007 for Europe.
The PS2 port version of the game has a number of improvements over the original PSP version of the game, including enhanced graphics, new activities and a new Easter Egg.
"Vice City, 1984. Opportunity abounds in a city emerging from the swamps, its growth fueled by a violent power struggle in a lucrative drug trade. Construction is everywhere as a shining metropolis rises from foundations of crime and betrayal.
As a soldier, Vic 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 between glamour and gluttony, Vic is faced with a stark choice...build an empire or be crushed." - Game's Description
Vice City Stories marks the series return to Vice City, with the game taking place in 1984, roughly two years before the events of Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. The game focuses around Victor Vance, the brother of Lance Vance who goes on to betray Tommy Vercetti in 1986. Victor briefly appears in GTA Vice City in the opening cut scene, in which he is killed during a drug deal gone wrong.
Victor "Vic" Vance, the protagonist, is a U.S. Army soldier whose sergeant, Jerry Martinez, gets him involved in drug trafficking, which is strictly against Vic's morals. Soon Vic is dishonorably discharged for the drugs found in his room and bringing a prostitute to the barracks, both of which were intended for Martinez. Vic works for Phil Cassidy, who is also featured in Grand Theft Auto III, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City and Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories. Phil's brother-in-law, Marty Williams, abuses his wife Louise and their baby Mary-Beth. After Marty kidnaps Louise, Vic kills him and begins a relationship with her, then shortly after, Victor takes over Marty's Empire.
Soon after, Vic's brother, Lance Vance comes into town to join him on his quest to take over Vice City to get the money required to pay for their brother's asthma medications. Together they steal Martinez's cocaine, but tensions arise between the brothers after Vic finds out that Lance and Louise used it for themselves. A short time later, Victor discovers that Martinez was only transporting the drugs for the Mendez Brothers, leaving Lance and Vic with no option but to work with the Mendez Brothers, only to be betrayed after doing a few jobs for them. The Mendez Brothers then kidnap Louise sometime after Vic protects and saves Phil Collins' concert from the Forelli Family, and he and Lance rush to the rescue. Lance gets captured by Armando Mendez and Vic fights his way to the underground room of the Mendez Mansion, where a deranged Armando is waiting for him weilding a Flamethrower, but Armando is quickly killed by Victor during the intense fire-fight that ensues. Although Lance manages to survive, Vic is too late to save Louise. Afterwards, with help from Phil Cassidy and Ricardo Diaz, Vic manages to steal an army helicopter (The Hunter), and proceeds to gun down some of Diego Mendez's Goons, eventually bringing him to land on the roof of the Mendez Building where he enters inside and continues his killing spree. Upon Victor's return to the rooftop, there is one final confrontation, which ends when Vic kills Diego and Martinez, who had arrived in a helicopter when Vic was halfway from reaching Diego. Lance arrives to help Vic, but turns up late, and together they agree never to touch drugs again. The Vance Brothers then get in Lance's Helicopter and leave Vice City to send Pete the money for his asthma medications.
Vice City Stories contains many of the characters (and voice actors) from Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, including Phil (Gary Busey), Ricardo Diaz (Luis Guzman), Lance Vance (Philip Michael Thomas) and Umberto Robina (Danny Trejo) In addition to the gangs previously featured in Vice City, new gangs make a debut in this game: the Trailer Park Mafia, the Cholos, the Mendez Brothers Gang, and the Stallionz
Vice City in 1984
Similar to Liberty City in 1998 compared to 2001, Vice City has many differences including a fairground in the location where Avery Carrington's construction site is. There is also a warehouse that doesn't exist in GTA VC though the fate is explained in the game. The Mendez Building and Empire Buildings don't exist. Diaz's Mansion (later the Vercetti Estate) is only partially finished. The Mendez Mansion is newer and still resided in, although the fate of the mansion is explained in the game. Phil Cassidy runs a business in Viceport instead of Downtown Vice City. InterGlobal Studios is owned by future Flashback FM DJ Reni Wassulmaier instead of Steve Scott, but the reason why this is explained later in the game. A Trailer Park is present, that is absent in GTA VC and is replaced by a bigger Sunshine Autos near Escobar International Airport.
Compared to its chronological sequel, Vice City seems to be much more chaotic and crime-riddled.
GTA Vice City Stories is structured similarly to other releases from the Grand Theft Auto series. The core gameplay consists of elements of a third-person shooter and a driving game, affording the player a large, open environment to move around in. On foot, the player's character is capable of walking, running, swimming (an ability last available in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas), and jumping, as well as utilizing weapons and basic hand to hand combat. Players can steal and drive a variety of vehicles, including automobiles, boats, airplanes, helicopters, and motorcycles.
The open, non-linear environment allows players to explore and choose how they wish to play the game. Although storyline missions are necessary to progress through the game and unlock certain areas and content, they are not required, as players can complete them at their own leisure. When not taking on a storyline mission, players can free-roam and create havoc (e.g. Drive-By Shooting, robberies, etc.). However, doing so can attract unwanted and potentially fatal attention from the authorities. The more chaos caused, the stronger the response: police will handle minor infractions, whereas SWAT teams, the FBI, and the Vice City national guard respond to higher wanted levels.
The player can also partake in a variety of optional side missions. The traditional side missions of the past games are included, such as dropping off taxi cab passengers, putting out fires, driving injured people to the hospital, and fighting crime as a vigilante. A new addition to the game is "Beach Patrol", in which Victor plays lifeguard on Vice City's beach, saving citizen's lives or dispatching local gangs. One improvement to the PS2 controls with regards to many of these side missions is that exiting a vehicle (accidentally or intentionally) usually does not fail a sub-mission anymore, allowing easier replacement of damaged vehicles, or re-entering a vehicle if the exit was due to hitting the wrong button.
One of the key gameplay elements in Vice City Stories is "empire building". New to the GTA series, it borrows a few ideas from Vice City's "properties" and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas' "gang wars" systems. In order to make money, the player must open and operate various businesses on property taken over from enemy gangs.
For Vice City Stories, the combat system was overhauled to feature more depth than ever before. The targeting mechanic has been tweaked to "intelligently target"; enemies posing a threat or attacking the player will be targeted over pedestrians. The biggest changes concern the hand-to-hand combat system, as players can now perform grappling moves and throws, and stand on top of enemies laying on the ground.
For the first time in a Grand Theft Auto game, players are able to bribe policemen or hospital staff when "Wasted" or "Busted" in order to keep weapons that ordinarily would have been lost. Also new to the series are icons scattered around the city that allow Vic to purchase vehicles. For example, a bulletproof Sanchez is available at the first safehouse(only in the PS2 version).
The standard hidden package system returns in the form of 99 red balloons scattered around the city. This is a reference to Nena's 1980s hit, "99 Luftballons". Also, extras that have been discovered (Red Balloons, Rampages and the Unique Stunt Jumps) appear on the in-game map. Trip skips also return. However, functions such as eating and exercise and skill-level increases, last seen in GTA: San Andreas, remain absent. The game also reintroduces strip club interiors (absent in Liberty City Stories), albeit in a non-interactive form and depending on what Empire Building options the player chooses.
Improvements to the graphics since the release of Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories include new animations, faster load times (although a load screen is still displayed when travelling between the two major islands), a further draw distance, reductions in clumping of pedestrians and vehicles, more complex and realistic explosions, and increases in the density of objects, vehicles, and NPCs.
One new feature of VCS is that the player can receive a small cash bonus for being a good Samaritan and rescuing pedestrians being attacked by enemy gang members.
Like the game's predecessor, Vice City Stories features a multiplayer mode that can be played via WiFi. Ten different modes of play are offered, and these multiplayer games will incorporate use of automobiles, aircraft, and water-based vehicles
Like its sequel, the look and feel of Vice City in the game is influenced by the atmosphere of the 1980s series Miami Vice, with Miami Vice co-star Philip Michael Thomas reprising his role as the voice of Lance Vance.
Like all other games in the Grand Theft Auto series, Vice City Stories' soundtrack plays an integral role in setting the game's atmosphere. The game features nine different radio stations which play over 100 licensed songs from the 1970s and 1980s. Most of the stations remain the same as in the settings of Vice City (1986), though Fever 105 and Wildstyle are replaced with Fresh 105 and Paradise FM, and the talk radio station K-Chat does not broadcast.