Grand Theft Auto has been one of the most talked about video games in 2005, not only for its game, but also for that damaging Hot Coffee fiasco of San Andreas. Sure this brought up quite a bit of controversy and quite a bit of a stir among politicians, but I think a lot of GTA fans have been looking forward to the latest GTA adventure for the PSP in Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories. Is this the same great game on a smaller screen? Read our full review to find out!
Since Grand Theft Auto 3, each new game in the series have been bigger and better than its predecessor, making them on of the most successful franchise on the PlayStation 2. Of course the series has also been hounded on by critics for promoting violence, sex, and just categorically bad for society, and yet the series continues to flourish. Liberty City is taking the GTA to the PSP, not in the top-down style of its PlayStation versions, but in full glorious 3D.
In Liberty City you play as Toni Cipriani, the typical sort of Italian mobster that you would expect from that has been a popular choice for the GTA series. You start out by working for the Salvatore Leone, and of course there are plenty of rival families to go against. The storyline in the game was surprisingly not as deep as we have seen in previous GTA games, lacking the same sort of depth and sense of humor that we have seen. Fortunately, all is not lost as the PSP version still has some good ideas, and some interesting sequences.
For the most part, Liberty City plays very similarly to what we have seen in the past Grand Theft Auto games. The controls are nearly identical and have the same sort of button arrangement as its console counterparts, so gamers will feel right at home with Liberty City. The only real new addition to the gameplay is the targeting system, which allows you to easily switch between targets and take them out. The whole game itself however feels much more like GTA III than any of the other Grand Theft Auto games.
The mission design too feels much more one dimensional like GTA III, as it wasn’t until Vice City and especially in San Andreas where we saw long drawn out missions. Liberty City goes back to the basics, giving good missions that just aren’t as long or spread out like we got used to in San Andreas. The missions are still good and won’t do anything new to the series but are still fun nonetheless.
I think what was so impressive about Liberty City was the fact that it took the greatness of GTA and put it on the PSP, with only one real problem. That problem is the camera, which can be extremely irritating and can get in the way of some of the more prominent battles in the game, but still doesn’t really haunt you throughout your game. I felt with Liberty City that the game really just took what was great about Grand Theft Auto III and gave it a new storyline for the PSP. Sure had the camera been better that would have been nice, but I must say I was extremely taken away by taking such a great playing game and still making it great on the Playstation Portable.
Visually Liberty City is just a downright amazing accomplishment for the people over at Rockstar, as this game is by far one of the best looking games to make its way onto the PSP. The game just takes GTA and really does a beautiful port of it. With some minor frame rate issues and the frustrating camera, it does give the game some minor setbacks. But just to see yourself driving around Liberty City and just taking on swarms of enemies on a handheld was an amazing experience. I have to say once again this is one of the best looking games to make its way onto the PSP, even with some of the minor problems.
You know I don’t agree with what Grand Theft Auto promotes, and in fact I was very turned off by the games for the hot coffee modification, which to me was a very sly and terrible decision by Rockstar. But when I look at Liberty City, I see a game that went back to GTA III and eliminated the overly sexual and drug references of the game and just made a good action game. I have to say that this is a wonderful iteration of the GTA series and one that I had a lot of fun playing. Once you get away from the camera problems, this game is just extremely fun. If you enjoyed the previous GTA games, you will continue to do so with Liberty City.
Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City is by far one of the best games, if not the best game to make its way onto the Playstation Portable for 2005. Sure it is not perfect, but it takes the great gameplay mechanics from the Grand Theft Auto III game and translates them beautifully onto the PSP. If you are a fan of GTA and really are looking for a new game to sink your teeth into, definitely go check out Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories, as it is truly another great game in the GTA series.
The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.