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Platinum #113 - Grand Theft Auto: Vice City (PS4)
30,146 helicopters exploded later, I'm here... For the record, I killed around 2,800 people, and that's after I got 100% in the game, meaning all main story missions, rampages, vigilante side missions, and everything related to killing was already done. Let those numbers sink in. Anyways, Vice City, one of the greatest games of all time that doesn't really need an introduction. Rockstar's recreation of late 80s Miami, developed in just 9 months, controversial, over-the-top, full of parodies, and a game that would go on to become one of the best selling and most well-known titles out there. It's also GTA's smaller city in the series, but one that is full of personality and emotions for the many who made their way into becoming a respected crime lord there. One thing that I love here is how they started to deliberately spoof and satirize the people and culture of the time. You know the game is being both serious and not-serious at the same time and I love it for that, genius. Compared to newer sandbox games, it does feel dated. Particularly aiming and how the missions play out. You can't help but feel the game has seen better times. Even so, compared to GTA III, the auto-aiming feels much snappier here, meaning that is easier to lock-on to targets at a distance. The inclusion of a few extra weapons with manual aiming mode also help in making things easier to manage.
Something that needs to be said, there are a number of issues with the emulation here. As with other titles in the series, the PS4 is running an emulated PS2 version of the game, but the performance can certainly take a hit at times. Frames drop when there are many vehicles on-screen or when driving around Ocean Beach, Washington Beach, and Downtown. Sadly, the music also suffers due to this and becomes heavily distorted when the game slowdowns. This did happen to a small extent when I played GTA III but it's much more noticeable here. As always, remember to turn off Trails and Widescreen on the Display options and force your TV for a 4:3 aspect ratio to get the best image quality as the default settings suck. Going back to the music here for a second. It's safe to say that Vice City's collection of over 100 licensed soundtracks is truly legendary and by far the very best in the entire franchise. Simply put, there's more than one song for everyone here. Unfortunately, due to licensing issues, a number of soundtracks were removed from this version and while the remaining set is still powerful enough to carry the whole game, I can't help but lament the lack of Michael Jackson's Billie Jean and Wanna Be Startin' Something, or Bark At The Moon from Ozzy Osbourne. Expiring licenses suck man... Funnily enough, you can still hear Billie Jean in the back during a cutscene at the Malibu Club when you talk with Kent Paul, so I really don't understand how they can leave it there and remove it from the radio station. For a full list of all songs, including those that were removed, you can check here.
Trophies are what you would expect from the series (except for Take The Cannoli!). They will come naturally as you progress throughout the story and do all of the side activities that the game has to offer. Getting to level 12 in the Ambulance is much easier here thanks to the vehicle not having nearly as much body roll and the enemy gangs being less armed. Being able to get Going Green, Bull in a China Shop and I'm Famous! while doing one of those well-remembered tank rampages that we used to do back in the day was awesome. Getting all 100 Hidden Objects is made easier thanks to the use of helicopters to fly around and the city being smaller. As a fun fact, I wanted to pop the Platinum with Chicken of the Sea (for sniping a seagull) but I inadvertently ended up getting mine during a rampage. Oh, and I used a glitch for One is Better Than Two because I was sucking a lot with the bike. 😅 Finally, Take the Cannoli... If you were to get this one by legit means and playing normally, I estimate like 20-30 years of regular gameplay to get it. Seriously, 1,000,000 points of criminal rank is crazy. By the time you finish the game, you would have less than 1% of progress towards it. Seeing as I had already some progress with blowing helicopters, in the end I opted to stick with this method and piled them up at the Hyman Condo. An annoying trophy and a low note to end such an amazing game.
Purists are sure to cry fault with this version as there many issues in regards to the emulation. If you're used to newer games, getting back to such old control schemes can be tough and the removal of soundtracks is just sad. So, even though Vice City is a game that has to be played by everyone to check on how awesome it was back in the day, it's also hard to recommend based on what's on display here on the PS4. Its usual high price on the store doesn't help either. I'd say only fans apply here, but if you happen to find an absolute good deal on it, be sure to give it a go. Just be mindful of the issues and that ridiculously grindy trophy towards the end.
* Random Fun Stats:
- Most Favorite Radio Stations in order: Flash FM ("Crazy people love to flash"), V-Rock (The vulture will peck your eyes out! With the Master of Darkness, Laslow), Emotion 98.3 ("More mood swings than your pregnant wife" with Fernando Martínez), The Wave 103 ("Where boys and girls look the same. That's a little strange, isn't it?"), RRRRRRRRRadio Espantoso ("La casa de Pepe, tu mejor amigo. Coño, tengo que parar de tomar tanto café"), Fever 105 (with DJ Oliver "Ladykiller" Biscuit).
- Most Favorite Weapons: MP5, M4, PSG-1 Sniper Rifle, Minigun
- Least Favorite Weapons: Grenades, Molotovs (Accidents happen...)
- Most Hated Gang: The Haitian Gang (Just leave me the fuck alone when I'm cruising through Little Haiti!)
- Favorite Mission: The Job (This is the one in which you, Phil, Cam and Hilary go and rob El Banco Corrupto Grande )
- Memorable Phrases: "Hey, I'm Rico. You the man with the big cojones" (At the start of the Stunt Boat Run for the Cubans), "You've got insurance, so don't be a prick" (while stealing a car), "What did I tell you before? NO GIANT SHARKS!" (talking to Steve at the Porn Movie Studio), "Just think of this as socialism in action" (while stealing another car), "Vance? Your name's Lance Vance? Lance Vance, poor bastard" (first helicopter mission with Lance), "Hello there officer. Nice badge, nice badge" (Lance poorly impersonating a cop) and many more...
- Most HIlarious Radio Ads: Pastor Richards Salvation Statue I, D'Leo and Thurax Law Firm, Shady Acres, The Degenatron, Learn Redneck, Patriotism, Thor's Self-Help Tapes, Is your child a Red?, Exploder Evacuator Part II, In The Future There Will be Robots, Salivex.
- Helicopters Exploded: 30,146...