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- Release date 15/08/2005
Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories PSP
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Released on 04/11/2005
The streets of Liberty City are in turmoil. Warring Mafiosi 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 hit men, morally depraved tycoons, cynical politicians and his own mother stand in his way as Toni tires to bring the city under Leone control.
Forced 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.
Mark visits lady Liberty to see how she's shaping up...
Every console has its defining games; releases that resist the ravages of time to stand as true giants of their generation. These are the titles that sum up the very best of what a gaming system has to offer.
Such games are amongst the best ever made.
The PlayStation had Metal Gear Solid and Final Fantasy VII. N64 owners were blessed with Mario 64, two wonderful Zeldas and Goldeneye. Nowadays, GameCube owners look to Metroid Prime, while Xbox owners holler for the next Halo.
The PS2 has its own leading light. It's a free-roaming crime-based medley of driving, shooting and all-around action that burns brighter than all others in modern gaming culture. It's received extreme critical acclaim, deserved commercial success and forever raised expectations of what's possible in a 3D world.
You can expect to deal with corrupt cops, seedy city officials, deadly Yakuza and the family behind the biggest gang in the city.
The name of the game is, of course, Grand Theft Auto. For many the pinnacle of home gaming, Rockstar's flagship franchise is now coming to PSP - and attempting to cram in everything that made the PS2 games great.
Seriously: everything. Seventy-plus missions; 100 hours of gaming; a gigantic city to explore; all the cars, guns and action that we're used to, and the same audio-visual flair as previous GTA's. All on a tiny UMD disc and played in the palm of your hand. Not exactly a piece of cake.
Meeting it head-on
Amazingly though, Liberty City Stories is looking like it might meet the hype head-on. And in the transition to handheld the only thing it seems to be sacrificing is... err, well... practically nothing. That's right folks; we're talking pint-sized playability with no corners cut.
The game is set three years before the events of GTA3, with players set to take control of Toni Cipriani. It's a period in Liberty City where a violent turf war has broken out between rival Mafioso families, and Toni is trying to see that his side, the Leone family, come out on top.
Now, obviously GTA is famous for its open-ended virtual world, but the heart of the game is its story - played out through a series of missions and featuring a cast of characters Quentin Tarantino would be proud of. You can expect to deal with corrupt cops, seedy city officials, deadly Yakuza and the family behind the biggest gang in the city, the Sindaccos.
So, the themes, characters and missions of handheld GTA may all seem familiar, but with a formula so successful this is really no bad thing. It's no re-hash or lazy port, either: Liberty City Stories is a fully realised, original 3D Grand Theft Auto that you can play anywhere. As such, it stands alongside the PS2 port of Resident Evil 4 as one of this generation's most staggering technical achievements.
One of this generation's most staggering technical achievements.
And then there's Multiplayer. The game's crowning glory even over its PS2 brethren; Liberty City Stories will offer full Wi Fi connectivity for games of up to six players. With the playing field set as entire islands, there's sure to be plenty of room for a fun and varied experience - with quintessential GTA overtones, of course. Single player and team deathmatches make use of vehicles, a large number of character skins and all of the game's power-ups and weaponry, while Capture the Flag games see the flag replaced by a stretch limousine. This truly is the GTA with everything fans could ask for.
The best GTA yet?
And that really is no small statement. Far from the trimmed-down GTA3 port we were expecting, Liberty City Stories could well be the best GTA yet. At the very least, it promises to be a game unlike anything on any handheld, and a reason in itself to own Sony's portable system. At best, however, it could well do what GTA3 did on PS2 four years ago, and define expectations for all future releases on PSP.
Watch this space...
Preview by: Mark Scott
Preview Published: 20.10.05
The original gangster game goes back to its roots...
When Grand Theft Auto released in 2001 it was greeted with praise from almost every sector of the games industry. At last, here was a vibrant, living, breathing 3D world to explore from the comfort of your living room. The aesthetic, design and narrative themes of the title filled an unexplored gap in the videogame market, echoing the massively popular niche of Wiseguy gangster films in the vein of Goodfellas, and the sheer freedom of the experience was unlike anything previously playable on console. Gamers saw it as a digital playground, developers regarded it as a source of creative inspiration, and publishers pounced on it as a gaming goldmine.
Now in its fourth fully 3D iteration, the GTA series has at last made the much talked about transition to on-the-go gaming, but it's with a bizarre juxtaposition of old and new that it does so. You see, Liberty City Stories takes us back in time in two distinctly different ways. The first is that the game is set three years before GTA 3, making its story something of a prequel. The second is more important; that the Liberty City of the title is the very same one as that in GTA 3, bringing the series back full circle to its origins. So, exploring the world of Liberty City Stories won't be a brand new experience to GTA veterans. However, by no stretch of the imagination is this a rehash. It may be the same city, but with extended play there proves to be enough different in lady Liberty circa 1998 to appease the franchise's hardcore fans. On top of that, it deserves to bring in a whole set of new ones, as it offers a handheld experience like no other.
It does take extended play though. In fact, differences between the game worlds of LCS and GTA 3 are mostly superficial, and on first impression hardened GTA players could be forgiven for thinking of this as a lazy port. For example, because LCS is set before GTA 3, certain tunnels and bridges fully intact in the PS2 game are still under construction in the PSP title, but the city itself still retains the basic three island setup, with all of the recognisable landmarks. Some buildings may look less run down three years back in the timeline, and unlike GTA 3 you can now commandeer bikes, but flying vehicles are still off limits, and there's still no swimming. Despite some additions then, for all intents and purposes it's a case of so far, so familiar.
Liberty City Stories subverts expectations for the franchise, and as a result feels both fresh and rewarding.
Where the game triumphs is in the integration of its new content. By presenting a brand new narrative to play out in a familiar game world, Liberty City Stories subverts expectations for the franchise, and as a result feels both fresh and rewarding.
The player character in Liberty City Stories is one Toni Cipriani. Working for the Leone family, Toni killed a made man, and had to lay low for a while. The game begins with his return to Liberty City and back into the grateful arms of the Leone's leader, Don Salvatore. Problem is, the Don isn't quite as grateful to Toni as our lead character would like, and instead fobs him off to his second in charge, the ambitious Vicenzo Cilli. Thus begins the game's opening chapter.
Working for Vicenzo - and later other equally dubious characters - Toni is tasked with taking up a series of missions in order to drive forward the game's narrative. Things start with a few simple tasks, such as dropping a Leone drug dealer at his dealing spot, whacking fairly low level member of rival gangs and playing getaway driver for some of the lesser skilled Leone thugs. As things progress though you're drawn into a seedy crime underworld driven by the city's political wranglings and an intense inter-family turf war.
A charm all of its own
The story itself isn't the most original ever told, and conforms to the usual GTA archetype, but nevertheless it has its charm. Gangsters, hookers, politicians and trans-sexual cops may come across nowadays as a stale attempt at controversy, but catching an overweight pimp strip club owner wearing a gimp suit can't help but raise a surprised smile. Oh, and there's a whole sub-plot in the game involving Toni's mum, who isn't exactly the sweet old lady you might think.
Missions tend to fall into one of three variants. There's destroying something or killing someone, there's travelling across the city to collect or protect a particular object or person, and there's the race-against-time objectives. With further progress missions become more complex variations on these themes, and frequently incorporate elements of each style. They may lack the originality and depth of those in San Andreas, but on PSP, for sheer variety Liberty City Stories is in a league of its own.
The same can also be said from a technical standpoint. LCS presents a giant, freeform city to explore, with PS2 quality graphics and some exceptionally entertaining audio. There are several tongue-in-cheek stereotypes broadcast on the game's many radio stations, with a Simpson's-esque portrayal of American police forces proving one of the most genuinely funny social commentaries in modern gaming. "Join Liberty City's Finest", it says. "You'll get to eat donuts all day and shoot people". Genius.
Catching an overweight pimp strip club owner wearing a gimp suit can't help but raise a surprised smile.
As impressive as the singleplayer game is though, it's the Wi Fi multiplayer mode that's truly peerless. Allowing players free reign over the game's complete islands may seem like madness, and admittedly, playing a two-player match it can take an age to find your opponent, but with four players there really isn't an experience like it on any machine. Street races, tank battles and a limousine-based variant on Capture The Flag are but three of the modes available, and all feel positively epic played out in the streets between Liberty City's high-rise buildings. The only problem really is finding three friends with PSP's and copies of the game, but for those that can it's a thrilling experience to be savoured.
Alas, like with previous instalments, this GTA is by no means flawless. It fixes none of the series' inherent problems and so the dodgy enemy lock-on and a temperamental camera are present as ever. Likewise, Liberty City Stories suffers from usual criticisms levelled at all PSP titles; control is mapped to the analogue stick, and so feels floaty - more so even than on the PS2's Dual Shock pad. All of these things were expected however, and none of them could we blame Rockstar for directly.
The only thing that feels truly out of place in the entire package is the lack of a quick save option, which really would have come in handy. Having to visit a safe house every time you want to save is all very well on a home console, but the demands of portable gaming sometimes necessitate the need for a quick power-off, and the convolution of saving the game here is a definite annoyance. It's practically the only thing not considered in the translation to portable though, so here's hoping they get it right next time around.
And let's face it, there's bound to be a next time - the GTA franchise is gaming's biggest killer app, and its latest release does its best to deserve that mantle. Despite the flaws then, Liberty City Stories does what it promised and sets the standard for future games on Sony's handheld. Visually and aurally nothing on the system can hold a candle to it, and in scope, style and execution it's every bit the PSP's premier title.
- A fully realised freeform 3D city in the palm of your hand.
- Wonderful visuals, sound and production values.
- Vast, varied and nothing like it on any handheld.
- Dodgy lock-on, made worse by a temperamental camera.
- Floaty PSP analogue control.
- No quick save.
There's nothing like a bit of the old multiplayer, is there. From those early days of playing four-player Goldeneye on the N64 to travelling in guilds in World of Warcraft, there's just something about gaming with friends - whether you've met them or not!
Those of you who've played multiplayer will know that, every now and then, something truly memorable will occur. So here's a few of our very own memorable multiplayer moments - including some we'd rather forget. Still, at least we have chicken...
Jamie - Builder of Digital Dreamscapes:
When playing GTA race online multiplayer, my mate was being a bit cocky about how good he was.
Helicopters had been chosen as the vehicle class for this particular race, and it was pretty near the finishing line as most other players were now watching either him or his opponent. The other guy steamed towards him... tilted his helicopter to the side as he did a fly by and sliced my mates helicopter in half, mid air.
Cue every other player on the game belly laughing down their mics as my mate's chopper span hopelessly to its doom.
Carl - Design Doodler
I have spent many hours playing Halo Reach - over 350 to be exact! And I would estimate that about 20 of those hours have been spent apologising to my fellow Care Bears after I have accidently betrayed them! Yes, I'm part of a clan, and yes, we're called the Care Bears. That's right, laugh it up!
The most memorable of these unfortunate events is when I managed to take out our entire team of five with a single well placed, or rather badly placed, grenade. Reflection was the map and capture the flag was the game type. As always I ran for the shotgun on red ramp - if you don't know where I mean then learn your call outs! After the initial scurry for power weapons we all met up on the flag. With three of the enemy team dead and weeping in the headsets we grabbed the flag, and that's when it went very wrong!
I saw one of the remaining blues running down over the window stairs and threw a frag grenade, just as a teammate walked across my path. The grenade bounce off his back and landed at my feet. At this precise moment another Care Bear spotted the same blue Spartan and fired a rocket. The grenade blast that just took down all of our shields sent the rocket off course - it went straight up, hit the ceiling above red flag spawn and wiped out all of us. Leaving one bewildered blue Spartan staring at all five dead Bears.
Needless to say I wasn't the most popular Bear of the bunch after that. See you on the playing field!
Ali - Queen of the Internet:
My favourite multiplayer moments were in Gears of War 3. I regularly played Horde Mode with three friends and was definitely the cannon fodder of the group. We would choose the map with the river running through the centre and all hold our regular points around one of the houses. My section was the garden.
For levels 1-9 I was pretty competent at ducking behind rocks to fire from cover and using the trucks to shield me from explosions. Around level 10, though, the calls over the headset would be less "Are we secure?" "Yes", and more "Where is Ali?" "She's here, here, here, a little bit over here too".
However, nothing can beat the time we set the mortar off in the doorway of the house we were hiding in rather than outside of the house where the enemies were. Brilliant :S
Glenn - Mad Mod
Starcraft II. Qualification game for season 6, hoping to get promoted to Gold Division. Terran vs Zerg (TVZ).
I was at about 140 supply, going for a Bio/Mech build. I had tried to go for a timing push, just as my Siege Tanks got +2 Attack. The Zerg was transitioning from Roach/Speedling (Lings with the Speed upgrade to Muta(Mutalisks)/Speedling) and I was lucky enough to kill the third in the transition, Wiping the Roaches and Speedlings in the process.
Leaving with around 3 Medivacs, 5 Siege tanks and approx 30 Marines, and I felt pretty confident as I healed up, and advanced on the natural.
Out of metaphorically nowhere, approx 12 Mutas approached. I hadn't expected any Mutas out at this point, however I leapt to action tapping keys in a frenzy of concern as I stimmed my marines and went on the offensive, victory felt certain and the heady heights of Gold loomed BUT and in my haste I pressed the wrong hotkey and ordered my siege tanks to attack my Marines instead of my Marines to attack the Mutas.
Devastated I GG'd as he nuked my siege line and hit my SCV's square in the face L
Note to self: Scan more, don't order your Siege tanks to attack your own troops.
Note to others: Demuslim is a boss
Sound familiar? Feel free to share your own multiplayer memories with us in the comment boxes below!
Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Storie… (20/10/2005)
Mark visits lady Liberty to see how she's shaping up...
Every console has its defining games; releases that resist the ravages …Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories (17/11/2005)
The original gangster game goes back to its roots...
When Grand Theft Auto released in 2001 it was greeted with praise from…
Those of you who've played multiplayer will know that, every now and then, something truly memorable will occur. So here's a few of our very own memorable multiplayer moments ?including some we'd rath…Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories User ReviewsTop review1 year agocoolits fun1 year agoCoolIt is Very Good3 years agoGrand Theft Auto: Liberty City StoriesAwsome game, China town wars is coming out for the psp soon, not sure when but it is coming. I cant wait for that3 years agoGrand Theft Auto: Liberty City Storiesawsome game i like VCS more though4 years agoGrand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories5/5 I like this game. I would say though get Vice city Stories instead. I like the missions better on this one and the characters but I think it is more fun on VCS to free roam.Configuring your price alert
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