*Disclaimer – A lot of the issues and features discussed in GTA 3 is present in Vice City but I have focused on the main differences/features for this game specifically.
“Vice City The Definitive Edition feels like a shadow of its former self.”
ℹ️ Reviewed on Xbox Series X | Review code provided by PR/publisher, this review is the personal opinion from the writer.
What we liked!
- A more stable game | Strangely enough Vice City has been the most stable out of all 3 of the games that I have tried from the Definitive Collection. Vice City had a near-constant frame rate (although it did dip into the low 20’s) but nothing I would say or would consider game breaking. I had no crashes as I did in GTA 3 and the overall experience playing Vice City was generally good.
- Quality of Life Changes | The game features a Weapon and Radio select wheel, so if a player wants to change the song or their gun, they don’t have to manually scroll through each of them anymore. Instead, just hold the weapon/radio wheel button and choose the desired gun or radio station. On top of this, the restart mission screen has been implemented meaning if you die or fail a mission, you no longer have to revert to a previous save to load from. The game creates checkpoints and lets you continue or restart a mission using this method instead, a much welcome change indeed as one of the most frustrating things from the original trilogy was having to load back to a save hours ago because you died or failed a mission. On top of this, some of the more offensive stuff that the game featured back in the original trilogy has been removed which means designers were thinking about this before the launch. For example, the confederate flags have been removed as have some of the more tongue-in-cheek posters and radio conversations.
- The Graphics | Vice City is very juxta-opposed to GTA 3. Vice City is full of colour and life, and with the ray-tracing bringing the colours out even more, with pink lights, neon signs, lamp lights, clothes, the beach, everything just looks so much more exciting. Out of the three games in The Definitive Edition, Vice City takes the cake for most impressive looking. It’s not all good though, as mentioned in the GTA 3 Definitive Review, Vice City still suffers from horrible character models.
- Better Controls | The GTA Definitive Edition controls are more akin to the likes of GTA 5 with its better drive-by controls and Weapon selection system. This makes things a lot quicker and snappier in a gunfight and doing drive-by shootouts are now easygoing and very helpful on some of the game’s later missions. Unfortunately, the driving itself isn’t as simple. On top of the GTA 3 controls, we now have motorbikes, which strangely enough compared to the cars, haven’t had their handling messed with. They feel better. Popping wheelies is even easier than in the original and allows for more control.
- The Graphics Again? | Similar to GTA 3 Definitive Edition, all the grass foliage, palm trees, buildings, and item textures have been re-done to fit the more modern look these games aim for. But once again, the team ditched the intended art style and art direction the games were going for by making everything look too realistic. It just doesn’t sit well or match with the cartoony plastic-looking character models.
- The Heavy Weapons | Vice City Definitive Edition does rely on its timed missions a little too much, and a majority of these timed missions rely on the use of heavy weapons. The handling of these weapons has become abysmal, to say the least. Gone are the intricate joystick movements and targeting system and instead, we have a spray and pray mechanic which will result in 90% of your shots being missed unless you are up close and personal. It’s frustrating because the helicopter missions and Speedboat shootouts all rely on this weapon along with the M4 which doesn’t use the new advanced targeting system. Be prepared to die and restart these missions a lot.
- The Driving | Car handling mechanics have supposedly been improved to bring them in line with modern-day driving games, but it feels quite the opposite. GTA Vice City The Definitive Edition feels like a shadow of its former self. Where driving was responsive and felt great when you managed to swerve out of oncoming traffic. Now cars have a more life-like feel to them with more drift and a shorter braking distance. It’s a new learning curve for something that shouldn’t have been touched or needed to be touched in fact. It feels less like a Rockstar original game and feels like Grove Street Games wanted to make a mark on the game and somehow make the version they wanted. It’s a shame given how much time you spend driving in these games.
What we disliked
- Less Music | We all know GTA Vice City had the best music throughout the entire PS2 trilogy, but with 22 fewer tracks than before and with GTA 3 seemingly getting all of the new ones, radio stations are somewhat sparse if you like listening to the radio whilst driving. A lot of the missing songs have been replaced by repeat adverts or just repeating the songs over and over. It’s an awful shame as I would have loved to have had something else, even if there were no lyrics. Just some smooth 80’s synth would have sufficed.
- Buggy Cutscenes | One thing Vice City does differently than GTA 3 did is with its cutscenes. GTA 3 opted for scripted scenes where Vice City’s tend to be more in-game focused and as a result lead to some really weird stuff happening. For example, before taking out Diaz at his mansion I rolled up in an Ambulance which then lead to the ambulance taking over the entire frame of the scene that played out. I couldn’t see a thing. Not only at this point, but pedestrians driving in their cars would constantly run Lance over whilst I am talking to him, and although fun to see, on one occasion it did force me to restart the level because of this.
- No New Content | It’s sad to say that despite having cut content laying on the design room floor, Vice City isn’t graced with having any of this added. It’s the same Vice City that you know and love from years ago.
How long to beat the story | 20 Hours
How long to achieve 1000G | 40+ Hours
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Gaming is in my blood. Be it handheld games, Xbox, PC, Switch or Playstation, I am all over it.
I make my own games as part of my profession and love playing co op games with friends in my spare time. Avid dog lover and camper van enthusiast.