In 2003, I did not recognize how good Ray Liotta was within the function of Tommy Vercetti, Vice Metropolis’s loudmouth protagonist. I did suppose he was hilarious, however solely trying again do I understand how completely different, and the way pure, his efficiency was in comparison with the Command & Conquer cutscenes I grew up on. Even 20 years later, Liotta’s efficiency runs circles across the likes of Crime Boss: Rockay Metropolis.
Former PC Gamer reviewer Alec Meer did not fairly agree with me, calling Liotta a “so-so” actor (Goodfellas, Alec!? Cop Land?? C’mon!). However context is essential. Within the early 2000s Liotta was actually on a streak of so-so films, and it was actually his stand-out efficiency in 2019’s Marriage Story that reinvigorated his profession. Meer goes on to spotlight the “legendary” Dennis Hopper, additionally in Vice Metropolis, and I feel it is secure to say Liotta has since entered that canon, too.
Liotta will all the time be best-known for Goodfellas, besides amongst a really particular viewers—youngsters who performed videogames within the early 2000s. Even when Vice Metropolis is an unabashed knock-off of Scarface, it was the clear begin of Rockstar’s ambition to inform Hollywood-caliber mobster tales utilizing actual Hollywood actors. No surprise it scored a uncommon 93% in PC Gamer.
Here is our authentic assessment, printed within the July 2003 UK situation of PC Gamer journal.
Writer Rockstar GamesDeveloper Rockstar NorthPrice £35Minimum system PIII 800, 128Mb RAM, 32Mb 3D cardRecommended P4 1.6GHz, 256Mb RAM, 64Mb 3D cardMultiplayer NoneWeb deal with www.rockstargames.com/vicecity/computer (opens in new tab)Launch Date Out now
I have been naughty. I have been unhealthy. I’ve even been evil. I’ve lied to folks and I’ve lied to girlfriends. I’ve stolen, I’ve threatened, I’ve cheated. I even as soon as tried to beat up the one boy within the college (in all probability the nation) smaller and weaker than me with a Tupperware lunchbox stuffed with Dairylea sandwiches.
Now I remorse every little thing and nothing. However in Vice Metropolis, at the very least I’ve an excuse for being a horrible, horrible particular person. I see a yellow automotive—certainly the rarest, and in my needy, materialistic world view, due to this fact probably the most coveted vehicle color—and I can not assist however evenly brush towards the door deal with as I move, testing it gently with tremulous, questing fingers, smiling barely and simply… questioning. And I do know why. Why I really feel the urge to impassively beat to a pulp along with her personal purse the lady with the pushchair impeding my progress by WH Smith. And. I. Really feel. Good. As a result of not solely can I mercifully go dwelling and safely stay out each single violent fantasy that my head has area for on my PC, however now I can do it whereas hollering in baritone madness, “THERE’S NOTHING THAT A HUNDRED MEN OR MORE COULD EVER DO. I BLESS THE RAINS DOWN IN AFRICA, GONNA TAKE SOME TIME TO DO THE THINGS WE NEVER HAD.”
You’re Tommy Vercetti, lately launched from stir and making his method in Vice Metropolis. Numerous employers give you work in a non-linear vogue, with particular person missions main into quick story arcs. Usually, these tales in the end finish with you taking up an opposing crim’s estates and enterprise in Scarface vogue.
To not like this recreation is to hate videogames. To love it means you’re a twisted little particular person, and a blasé, mass-market conformist like the remaining and better of us. However don’t be concerned, that is tremendous. I am absolutely conscious that that is, in any case, a recreation in which you’ll kill lots of people and do some driving and taking pictures—however in a extra entertaining method that anyplace else. Granted, it is not with out its flaws: repetitive missions, some dodgy AI and physics, and metropolis interactivity is proscribed by its PS2 origins. Most prominently, it is a repeat efficiency of a present we have seen 4 occasions earlier than, albeit one which’s gentle years forward of its predecessors.
However then Vice Metropolis actually is spectacular, and presumably probably the most polished recreation you are more likely to see this facet of a Brasso manufacturing unit. The manufacturing values alone are insanely excessive. The presumable price of all of the Hollywood actors, from the so-so (Ray Liotta) to the legendary (Dennis Hopper) and the elegant Tourettism of Luis Guzman, along with the 100-plus tracks of ’80s hits, is mindboggling, and a harsh reminder of simply how populist Grand Theft Auto III was, irrespective of how a lot it felt prefer it was yours, coronary heart and soul.
However that is irrelevant. Nearly. The lurking, irrepressible downside that dogged the dirty however alluring hells of GTA III and held it again from actual greatness is now gone. The final recreation would seemingly solely run on one in three PCs, and possibly provided that it had been constructed by the screwdriver of the gods. Now it is virtually inconceivable to recall the jerking and stuttering, the screwed-up fogging or the illegible textual content—Vice Metropolis runs easily and fantastically, though it is scarcely value enjoying for those who’re not utilizing a midway first rate machine.
Whereas the conversion to PC suffers from the elimination of the sport’s social aspect (it is tougher to have a bunch of individuals clustered round a monitor and laughing at flippant killings than it’s round an enormous telly), the play is taken to a brand new stage by mouse help. The flexibility to snipe exactly (now you can even shoot out tyres or by windscreens; thoughts you, so can the cops) is important to feeling like an invincible lord of gangland. As well as, the distinction between driving and motion is extra decisively divided as you turn from gamepad or keyboard to mouse and WASD and again, relying in your mode of transport. Autos stay the violently bruised meat of the sport, after all, and are usually higher honed and fewer depending on courier duties, however it’s the town itself that gives you with such free-roaming independence. Vice is much bigger than Liberty, and there is all the time one thing new to find—a military base, an airport, buildings now you can wander inside, even an enviornment that includes GTA-ised variations of NASCAR and Stunt Automobile mini-games. There are, sadly, just a few ill-advised additions—the RC choppers are irritatingly unwieldy to fly, the hidden packages extraneous, and a number of the latter race missions show ludicrously tough to complete. However these are exceptions.
The town’s all there to wander by and bathe in blood with out consequence, but it by no means feels as uncomfortably purposeless, moronic or largely unfunny as Postal 2 at any level. Whereas it is fairly blatantly the identical recreation as Grand Theft Auto III, however with gigantic, neon, ultra-buffed bells strapped to its beefed-up torso, that does not ever maintain it again from being some of the mesmerising and persistently entertaining video games on any platform, ever.
Good or evil, we simply do not thoughts—as a result of it has class, and that is certainly extra vital. —Alec Meer
Grand Theft Auto: Vice Metropolis: Value Comparability