amazing to me that a game like GTA 3 was technically
impossible to pull off not even 5 years ago on the
consoles and yet here we are a few short years later
enjoying another chapter in Rockstar's infamous Liberty
City on Sony's handheld; and without missing anything
in the translation! The existence of LCS on the PSP
is a testament to Rockstar North and the power of
the PSP which hasn't seen a game this ambitious yet.
like the game development revolution which occured
after Rockstar released GTA 3 on the PS2, it won't
be long before you see other software teams attempting
to raise the benchmark of PSP software thanks to LCS.
If you own a PSP I don't have to tell you that the
system is in dire need of some kick ass software -
I'm certain you're well aware of that fact - and Liberty
City Stories fills that aching void. The only negative
aspect of LCS is that you'll need to upgrade to 2.0
firmware to run it - which could mean having to give
up all of those juicy illicit extras you've been extorting
out of your PSP over the last little while. You know
what I'm talking about.....Check the net and you may
locate some instructions which involve downgrading
once you've finished with Rockstar's "must have"
say you always remember your first time and I guess
that's why GTA lovers will never quite erase the sites,
sounds and smells of Liberty City (GTA 3) from their
emotional memory banks. Luckily the three islands
that comprise Liberty City made for the smallest game
environment when compared to Vice City or the sprawling
state of San Andreas, so cramming all of it into the
PSP made for a slightly easier, but no less impressive
feat than attempting to base the game on recent GTA
titles. Everything you remember about Liberty City
has been faithfully recreated on your PSP although
the game takes place before the events in GTA 3 so
certain landmarks such as bridges will be under construction.
But other than that, heading back to Liberty City
will be like revisiting an old friend. One of those
psycho crazy violent friends, mind you, but nevertheless.
I was surprised to see how vibrant Liberty City turned
out to be. The draw distance is great, the framerate
is decent and manages to really hold it together save
for when there is a ton of action on screen and no
shortcuts were taken in terms of maneuverability,
vehicle selection or story. The control will undoubtedly
take awhile to get the hang of simply due to the absence
of an R analog stick for camera control. The camera
can only be moved while your character is standing
still which is difficult in situations where you have
a screen full of enemies who outnumber and outpower
you. The camera hindrance will definitely lead to
any number of unfair deaths and your ability to forgive
and forget will be directly proportionate to just
how much you love playing GTA on the PSP. For some
it may be inexcusable, for others a minor annoyance.
For me, it was a little of both. What is totally unacceptable
however is the games hamfisted lock on controls. Unless
you're up against one guy in a back alley, your lock
on will target the NPC closest to you and you'll have
a helluva time trying to nail your intended target.
the heart of GTA has been exploration combined with
missions, LCS is no different. The mission structure
plays out indentical to previous titles - you'll be
introduced to a variety of characters, some of whom
you'll already be familiar with if you've played GTA
3 - and a letter will appear on your HUD when their
missions become available. Consistent with the franchise,
missions range in difficulty from cakewalk to requiring
a horseshoe located in your posterior to complete,
but you'll always have fun experimenting with a variety
of ways to beat them.
the trappings of the series are here - carjacking,
side missions, hilarious radio shows featuring soundtrack
tunes and commercials (you'll even hear reports on
the carnage you're creating!), car collecting, buying
weapons, tons of vehicles (boats and motorcycles included),
great voice acting and a whopping array of missions
that will most likely take anywhere from 30 - 40 hours
+ to complete. That's a lot of game to stick onto
story hasn't been toned down either, despite the controversy
surrounding M rated games these days. It features
all of the hallmarks of an M rated title, such as
drug use, sexual content, obcenities and of course
blood, gore and violence. If you were thinking that
Rockstar would cowtow to the critics and release something
on the PSP that was a watered-down shrinking violet
of a story, rest easy. Liberty City Stories is as
brutal and harsh as you've come to expect from the
entirely new area, never before seen in a GTA game
which is worth the price of admission alone is the
Wi-Fi multiplayer games. There are 7 overall to choose
from and chances are since everyone you know with
a PSP will be buying LCS, you'll have a posse of gamers
to play with. Unlike other games which cram multiplayer
modes into small arenas to boost productivity, Rockstar
gives you free reign of Liberty City to do what you
want in. Weapons are spawned in strategic spots as
are some pretty intense upgrades that will tilt the
game in your favor if you are lucky enough to find
them. The games offered in multiplayer mode are well
thought and offer a glimpse as to what we can expect
during the next generation of GTA on the consoles
in terms of multiplayer. They range from races (8
on each island = 24 in total), a tank mode where you've
got the tank and your 5 enemies have rocket launchers,
a Capture the Limo mode, standard Deathmatch and a
vehicle collecting game to name a few. The lag is
fairly non-existent which is darn near incredible
for a game of this magnitude.
not everything is hunky dory in Liberty City, primarily
due to the camera and lock on troubles, but while
these will frustrate you at a few points during your
time with the game, they aren't dealbreakers by any
stretch. Everything you loved about Rockstar's flagship
title is present and accounted for. Liberty City Stories
is a full-fledged GTA adventure with all of the trimmings
and more, thanks to the robust and entertaining multiplayer
mode. Featuring hours upon hours of playability, the
only reason you shouldn't be buying this game for
your PSP is because you're under 17. All others should
rush out immediately and get a ticket to Liberty City.
It's a dirty, disgusting place but someone's got to
make it worse.
Theft Auto has been storming the video game world
with new, expansive ideas that pushed systems to the
brink of overload. Every home console that has had
one of these gems of a game have been established
systems that get an incredible boost in sales. But
how can a game series of such monumental proportions,
stand on a handheld system that hasn't exactly sold
like hotcakes already? Rockstar is about to find out
with a new, portable world just oozing with places
Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories revisit our hometown
from Grand Theft Auto 3. A dark, cold, unforgiving
city called Liberty City. In this city, seedy gangsters
and mobs reign supreme with only the corrupt cops
and the political system to stop them. That would
be a problem, but as Toni Cipriani you can wield many
weapons as you make your way up the ladder of the
underworld. In hiding after killing a made-man, Toni
decides its time to come back and make his return
to the world to set his "business affairs"
roams the streets of Liberty City now not only on
foot, car and the occasional boat, but now also on
motorcycles, a popular vehicle from Vice City and
San Andreas. The town is the same as in GTA 3, but
because the story takes place a few years earlier,
the city is seemingly different. The buildings you
may love are now possibly being built, or under different
ownership. While you may know the town by heart, and
be able to navigate it with your eyes closed, there
are all new pathways to master, and now you can enter
buildings, a very processor taxing idea.
all of this going on, many have worried that the game
would be a 2-D affair, but Rockstar wouldn't sit down
and make another one of those, no, this is a full
fledged 3-dimensional game. This also presents a little
problem for the developers at Rockstar. Loading times.
The little devil you always try and look past, but
never can. One person at Rockstar said that they had
a 20 second load time at the beginning, and that was
accomplished by ordering their files on the disc in
an order where the psp could locate the more necessary
files sooner. We can only hope this is true, because
the handheld gaming community cannot spend all their
time in loading sequences.
has also said that there would be many safe houses
on each island so the player doesn't load, go to a
mission, then turn right around and run back to the
save point. Does this mean there will be purchase-able
property in the game? If so, Rockstar must be pushing
the PSP to its limits.
thing every GTA fan has wished for was also announced
Multi-player. LCS will have wireless multiplayer for
1-6 players. These games include Liberty city Survivor.
This game is pretty much a free-for-all death match
with Grand Theft Auto. Another game is Protection
Racket. This game is similar to a first-person-shooters
assault. The defending team has 4 limos they must
protect for the round limit, then the next round destroy
the other teams limos. This game is one mainly for
the strategy gamers out there from a first impression.
Finally, my personal favorite has to be Get Stretch,
a capture the flag game. This game is played with
the same rules as any other capture the flag game,
only the flag is a car.
LCS will make or break the PSP system, and we shall
know which on October 25, 2005.
Updated Preview: Rockstar finally unveiled
some screens, info and a trailer for their upcoming
LIberty City Stories GTA offshoot for the Sony PSP.
Since the GTA series tends to sell, oh I don't know,
let's say a zillion copies whenever a new title appears,
we're pretty certain that this little item could be
THE killer app the PSP has been waiting for, since
it hasn't exactly been selling like hotcakes. Consequently
we recently read in the Weekly World News, that "Hotcakes
Are No Longer Selling Well" and that gives us
pause for concern.
stars Toni Cipriani, whom some might remember as a
big deal in GTA3. As you might have guessed, LCS takes
place in Liberty City, albeit a few years before the
events of GTA3. We therefore surmise that the PSP
installment will chronicle Cipriani's rise to the
top from low-level thug to big cheese. Make that a
cheese. Like Limburger. The handheld title looks to
incorporate all of the coolness of the console versions
such as tons of cars, motorcycles, helicopters and
the usual assortment of street-whackos. We can't wait.
Unlike certain American lawyers who seemingly have
nothing better to do with their time except try and
futz with your first amendment rights AND whom shall
remain nameless, we at CCC dig the GTA vibe. The game
isn't intended for impressionable youths who have
just left behind Bob the Builder for more "adult"
pursuits; it's for gamers who enjoy a fantasty filled
romp in Rockstar's askew virtual reality.
from that brief injection of info, that's all we've
got to go on. Make sure to check out the screens so
that you can be assured that LCS looks as good as
anything you've seen thus far on the PS2. If you don't
have a PSP already, you might just want to take another
serious look at it because when Liberty City Stories
hits the shelves, you might be wishing you had invested
in Sony's dynamite little handheld. Don't say we didn't
are a million stories in Liberty City. This one changes
everything. Once a trusted wise guy in the Leone crime
family, Toni Cipriani was forced into hiding after
killing a made man. Now hes back and its
time for things to be put right.
streets of Liberty City are in turmoil. Warring mafioso
vie for control as the town begins to self-destruct
under waves of political corruption, organized crime,
drug trafficking and union strikes. No one can be
trusted as Toni tries to clean up the mess of the
city's chaotic underworld. Deranged hitmen, morally
depraved tycoons, cynical politicians and his own
mother stand in his way as Toni tries to bring the
city under Leone control.
to fight for his life in an odyssey that will shake
Liberty City to its foundations, Toni must use any
means necessary to secure his place in the leadership
of the Leone family in a town up for grabs.
Preview: Rockstar Games, the world-renowned publishing
label of Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc., is proud
to announce Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories.
Developed by Rockstar Leeds in conjunction with series
creators Rockstar North, Grand Theft Auto: Liberty
City Stories will be available exclusively on the
PSPportable entertainment system in North America
and Europe following the
European launch of the PSP system on September 1,
2005. Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories will
be shown by invitation only at E3.
to Liberty City and bringing it to life on a handheld
system has been both nostalgic and extremely inspiring
for us, said Sam Houser, President of Rockstar
Games. "The incredible PSP system technology
allows for fans of the previous Grand Theft Auto titles
to revisit Liberty City and see it from an amazing
new perspective with an entirely original storyline.
Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories will be a bold
new experience that has never before been possible
on a portable platform.
been very ambitious with Grand Theft Auto: Liberty
City Stories," said Leslie Benzies, President
of Rockstar North. By collaborating extensively
with Rockstar Leeds, weve been able to create
a massive, uncompromising experience on the PSP system
that we believe both long-time Grand Theft Auto fans
and newcomers will be excited to get their hands on.
have worked very closely with Rockstar North to bring
the same integrity and production value of the previous
Grand Theft Auto titles to the PSP system, said
Gordon Hall, President of Rockstar Leeds. "Peoples
expectation for a Grand Theft Auto title will always
be very high, and were confident that we can
deliver a revolutionary experience. Grand Theft Auto:
Liberty City Stories will be the most intense and
epic title created for the PSP system, undoubtedly
setting the standard for this groundbreaking platform.
Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories is an entirely new
game in the Grand Theft Auto series and brings an
unprecedented mobile dimension to this epic experience.
The original storyline and all new missions take place
in Liberty City, featuring the interactive, open environment,
superb voice talent and diverse music that have become
pioneering trademarks of the series.
Release: Oct 2005
Players: 1 - 6
Review by Vaughn
(OUT OF 5)