It may not quite live up to the standards set by GTA III, Vice City, and San Andreas, but Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories is still an enjoyable game worth at least a playthrough for those enjoying the GTA games or sandbox games in general.
When it comes to gaming, I tend to be a late-comer, only discovering games long after their release. Part of this is due to the fact that I already have so many games sitting on my shelves waiting to be played that I have difficulty justifying paying $60 for a new release, especially when I consider how many old games that money will buy. Part of the reason is also that I prefer to wait and see if a game lives up to its hype, which tends not to die down for a while, as those eagerly awaiting a game tend to speak highly of it following its release, even if it doesn’t quite meet expectations (I’ve been guilty of this myself, as I subconsciously forgave a game of flaws because it was so highly anticipated). So, when I first heard about Grand Theft Auto III way back in 2001 (strangely enough, from a girl I was seeing at the time), I noted it, but I didn’t immediately check it out.
When Grand Theft Auto: Vice City was released, and I kept reading how highly regarded that game was, I finally gave in and made it my first Grand Theft Auto experience. I found that the hype was warranted, and I had a blast playing the game, listening to the ’80s tunes and noting all the references to my youth. After beating Vice City, I soon picked up Grand Theft Auto III, and though it did not reach the level of its sequel, I still had a lot of fun with it and was officially one of the many Grand Theft Auto fans. You can imagine my disappointment when I heard of a brand new Grand Theft Auto game that was being released only on the PSP, a system I had no intention of buying.
Fortunately, a little more than a year-and-a-half after the PSP release, Rockstar released Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories for the Playstation 2. No longer did I have to debate whether or not a PSP was worth purchasing, as I could play the game on my beloved PS2. Though I did not immediately buy it, I eventually added it to my collection among GTA III, Vice City, and San Andreas.
And finally, I played the game.
I am not sure what I had been expecting. I knew that this game had been initially made for the PSP, a system that couldn’t really match the type of graphics, etc., of the PS2, but my inital reaction to the game was more or less, “meh.” It played like the other GTA games, but the textures seemed so plain compared to the others. Also, the game just seemed more limited after playing the games made for the PS2. And then there was the writing and voice acting, which was certainly not on par with the PS2 releases. After playing through several missions, I set the game aside and moved on to other titles.
Recently, I decided to revisit GTA: LCS, and I’m glad that I did. I found my earlier criticisms were still valid, but that didn’t mean that the game couldn’t be fun. The more I got into the game, the more I enjoyed it. I ignored the fact that the graphics weren’t as detailed. I accepted that I wouldn’t be flying around in planes or helicopters. I tolerated the bad voice acting and writing (which actually seemed to get better later in the game). Without constantly comparing this game to its PS2 predecessors, I found it to be another fun title in the series, and I was disappointed once I realized I had played through the final story mission, since the game had grown on me.
It may not quite live up to the standards set by GTA III, Vice City, and San Andreas, but Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories is still an enjoyable game worth at least a playthrough for those enjoying the GTA games or sandbox games in general. It would have been nice had a little more polish been added when the port was made from the PSP, but the overall experience is still fun and worthwhile.