Grand Theft Auto History Part Five
Grand Theft Auto on PlayStation Portable
Sony released their new handheld console in 2005. This piece of hardware was a commercial hit and it had almost the same performances as the legendary PlayStation 2 console. Now this handheld was the first to use optical discs, titled UMD with capacity of 1.8 Gigabytes.
Knowing how much open space a Grand Theft Auto game possesses and taking into consideration the limitations of UMD one can say that it is impossible to bring a large-scale video game such as GTA to this handheld. But one would be wrong, because Rockstar Games delivered. Twice.
The idea behind these two games was to make factual sequels to the legendary Grand Theft Auto III and Grand Theft Auto Vice City. Putting games out for this handheld meant that Rockstar had to get rid off the famous RenderWare game engine. These two games were two of the best selling and most beautiful games for the PlayStation Portable.
Getting back to the legendary game meant revisiting familiar places and characters and at the same time finding new anti-hero protagonists. The end products were fun games full of nostalgia which enabled players to play Grand Theft Auto on the go.
Grand Theft Auto Liberty City Stories
Grand Theft Auto Liberty City stories was released in 2005 for the Sony PlayStation Portable and was ported in 2006 to the Sony PlayStation 2 console. The game was well received by critics and fans and it has sold around 3 million copies around the world.
It is set in Liberty City in 1998 and follows one of the characters from the legendary Grand Theft Auto III, Toni Cipriani, in his quest for getting through ranks of Leone crime family. Game introduced a lot of new characters with few recurring ones, such as Salvatore Leone and Donald Love.
The game was very well done and brought the full world of Liberty City to the handheld PlayStation Portable, a feat for which Rockstar was praised. The nostalgia was evident at every step of this game as players revisited familiar Liberty City neighborhoods and places. The gameplay was almost the same as in other 3D universe Grand Theft Auto games, with Rockstar dropping the RPG elements from Grand Theft Auto San Andreas because of limitations of the system.
Sound and sound effects were on the level, as was expected from the Grand Theft Auto game. Music brings the familiar radio stations back from Grand Theft Auto III, some with new some with old hosts. Voice actors from the original game were back to give voices to their respective characters.
All in all, Grand Theft Auto Liberty City Stories was a worthy prequel to the Grand Theft Auto III. The game was brimming with nostalgia and many players enjoyed the throwback to Liberty City with new missions. The 3D universe was successfully expanded with this game and Rockstar Games cashed in again on their creation with furthering the story of Grand Theft Auto games.
Grand Theft Auto Vice City Stories
Grand Theft Auto Vice City Stories was released in 2006 for the Sony PlayStation Portable and was ported in 2007 to the PlayStation 2 console. This game, as well as the previous one for the PSP, was well received and sold around 4 million copies around the world.
The setting of the game is Vice City in 1984. The players are brought back to the Vice City with new stories and characters, as well as the old ones. The main protagonist is Victor Vance, brother of Lance Vance from the Grand Theft Auto Vice City video game. It is a story of his rise to success within the crime-ridden city.
The game, just like the Liberty City Stories, is very well done and the gameplay is similar. One of the new elements to this game was the “empire building” where players take over and develop businesses. This element heavily borrows from the “properties” element prominent in the original Grand Theft Auto Vice City.
There is no need to mention that sound effects were excellent in this game. Music is abundant with variety of radio stations, which all featured in Grand Theft Auto Vice City. All of the cast from the Vice City returns with stars such as Gary Busey and Danny Trejo. There is a notable difference here though, because the actor that voiced Victor Vance at the beginning of Grand Theft Auto Vice City did not return for his role in this prequel. Phil Collins is also featured in this game as a character, with player doing missions for him before and during his concert in Vice City.
This game, just like the Grand Theft Auto Liberty City stories, brimmed with nostalgia and expanded on the Grand Theft Auto universe and characters excellently. Grand Theft Auto Vice City Stories is an excellent game for anyone who has the PlayStation Portable and wants to revisit Vice City with new characters and further explore the story of original characters.
Part Five – End
These games did not sell as much as the main games in the series, but that does not mean that they were bad video games. The limitations of the PlayStation Portable and a new generation of consoles being around the corner probably had something to do with sales being low. It was time for Rockstar to jump into the new and more powerful console territory with their new game. The setting of this game would be Liberty City and, just like Grand Theft Auto III was in the previous console generation, it was to be set in the modern day.
Rockstar Games were done with visiting and commenting on the past. It was time to comment on the present, and more importantly, it was time to comment on the American Dream through eyes of an immigrant. Their new character would not be an American at all, but a Serb from Eastern Europe named Niko Belic. It was time to get more gritty and to lose some of the humor which prevailed in the Grand Theft Auto video games. As the video gaming was taking another leap, so was the Grand Theft Auto series. Rockstar Games learned from mistakes both the hard and the easy way. Another Hot Coffee will never happen to them, or for that matter to anyone in the gaming industry.
RenderWare game engine was retired in 2005 and it will always be remembered as one of the best gaming engines of that generation of video games. It was time for a new engine which will replicate realism. New, more realistic, more believable Grand Theft Auto video games were about to be made. And they were about to rock the video game industry yet again.
I have to inform all of you who stuck out until the end and read all of these parts of history of one of the most famous video game series that, as I have not played Grand Theft Auto video games further from this point I will not continue doing this until I am able to play them. I feel that it would be waste of both yours and my time if I were to write about a game I have not played, as that would hinder your experience of reading this article.
However, this series of articles will continue as soon as I am able to play and finish the rest of the Grand Theft Auto series that came out so far. All your comments and impressions are more than welcome in the section below and I will be looking forward to them.
© 2013 Icarus Unburnt