Tommy Verzetti grimaced in disgust and pushed the receiver as far from his ear as possible. After a week in Vice City, he was already tired of starting every morning by listening to selected Italian curses. Yes, he screwed up. Yes, he was set up and lost the Forelli family’s money. Yes, Sonny is mad as hell, but this is not at all a reason to yell over the long distance calls.
The screams died down for a moment. Tommy lifted the phone carefully to his ear.
– Look, don’t upset me boy! Shouted Sonny from America’s east coast.
– Do not worry. I’ll do everything right …
The receiver grunted in satisfaction and disconnected.
“… <censored> shit, <censored> shit,” Tommy added, and walked out of the hotel.
A change of scenery
Goodbye twenty-first century. Farewell to the metropolis of glass and concrete. Goodbye cold climate. We drive to Vice City, a city where time has frozen at the 1986 mark, where the orange sun glares on the leaves of bizarrely curved palm trees, teenagers on skateboards and rollerblades ply the streets, and the voice of the then popular Michael Jackson can be heard from the radio. “Moths” are on strike peacefully, showing their tanned flesh to stern policemen. A great place for a healthy vacation, if, of course, you are not a rude young man of a gangster appearance with a brick charm, and you are not worried about more pressing problems. For example, “How to repay a debt of several tens of thousands of dollars?”, “How many days are left until Sonny Forelli arrives?” and “Where can I get a decent sniper rifle?”
“On Demand” and “More is Better” are the two main slogans of any self-respecting sequel-maker, and Rockstar North is no exception. The city, traditionally divided into three “islands”, has grown significantly compared to the cramped Liberty City. The arsenal of weapons has increased due to the addition of new models of pistols, machine guns and tons of household equipment. The fleet of wheeled vehicles has expanded, and not only thanks to cars – motorcycles and mopeds returned to the series, surpassing everything else in ease of control. Coming from GTA 3 MP3 support will appeal to those who do not want to fall into nostalgia for more than nine hours of 80s music. The crippled Dodo bird gave way to real winged machines, and guided helicopters (think of the Apache!) And jet-powered boats started up in secluded places.
On the wings of freedom
Rockstar’s Stakhanov’s tread is impressive: all of the above, plus a wagon and a small cart of other innovations, about which – below, the authors built in one year, having contrived not to bring the game balance to the grave. The praises that we sang about GTA 3 a year ago have not lost their relevance: like the City of Freedom, the City of Vice professes non-linearity and expresses a passion for open endings.
Vice City lives its own life, and our protagonist breaks its measured course every now and then. Fed up with completing “storyline” tasks, he switches to side missions, earning money, rare cars and close attention of the press. Having hijacked an ambulance, he turns into a half-mad racer, transporting residents to the nearest hospital in exchange for hard currency. Taxi driver, firefighter, crime fighter – Mr. Verzetti’s career doesn’t end there. How about pizza delivery by moped? Ice cream sales? Bus driver professions? Or maybe buying real estate? The assortment includes hotels, bars, restaurants, factories, semi-underground repair shops, luxurious mansions with spacious garages (which is especially important, because at first the hero is generally deprived of the opportunity to have a personal car) and even a film studio. Money alone will not be enough – the buildings will be transferred to the new owner only after special missions of varying degrees of complexity have been completed. Sooner or later, from a pitiful “six” Tommy will turn into a well-to-do bourgeois, whose wallet is full of constantly flowing profits. Life is good.
Attention to detail
At the risk of slipping to the level of the whatsnew.txt file, diluted with critical maxims, we will continue our story about a thousand little things that raise Vice City above its competitors. The parade alleys are opened by motorcycles, rearing up if necessary, and spectacular jumping out of the car – significant additions to the list of “cool” factors. A change of clothes bonus has appeared in free circulation, which removes two icons from the “Wanted” scale at once. The shops can be robbed (in the case of the Ammu-Nation weapons shop, it is not always possible). Cars crumple after being kicked, and killing the driver by shooting through the cockpit glass is no longer the prerogative of Mafia alone , as a result of which hitherto unhelpful drive-by shootings have become one of the methods of survival.
Another dream of the fans of the series has found embodiment – the ability to enter buildings. It is allowed, however, not everywhere and not always, limiting freedom of movement to the most important locations. But jumping to the roof of any building from a helicopter is always welcome. Especially for conducting aimed fire from heights, there is an option “sit down”, which has a beneficial effect on the accuracy of shooting and reduces the chance to catch a bullet.
It’s a pity that we were never taught to swim. We are drowning with terrible power.
Film without cinema
A funny paradox: the game is replete with animation, but at the same time it is almost devoid of the “cinematic” inherent in Max Payne or Mafia. Tommy came to the next employer, listened to the assignment, inserted a couple of meaningless remarks, left – this is the content of most videos. The characters are reminiscent of the Kukryniksy caricatures, rather than the bright personalities that inhabited the City of Lost Heaven in the 1930s. Grotesque images, Hollywood voices and a couple of exaggerated features – from such “sets” you get a cowardly neurasthenic lawyer Rosenberg, an almost exact copy of Sean Penn’s character from “Carlito’s Way”, the hot-tempered bandito Diaz, the dashing Texan Avery and other caricatures.
However, this is not the main thing. In Vice City, you have to play and enjoy the process, instead of looking at the most important of the arts, and in terms of gameplay, the designers of Rockstar North will not be furnished anytime soon. Crazy chases on everything that moves, dashing air raids on enemy lairs, sabotage attacks on the set, hijackings, contract killings, competitions at the stadium, risky jumps on the roofs … What a movie there! And if you want to listen to witty dialogues, just tune into the K-Chat station.
Trouble in Paradise
The sea, the sun, beautiful landscapes, the salty breeze – everything would be perfect if the City of the City had no technical flaws. The first (it is the last at the time of this writing) patch brought back to life all those whose Vice City refused to display any picture on the monitor at all. Blurred building facades and optical illusions like asphalt disappearing underfoot, oddly enough, are also curable – just look into the settings and turn on / off the “Frame Limiter” option.
Alas, such troubles say about one thing – the developers had a rest on porting. Raindrops creeping on the glass, looking like rice paper confetti and not real water, objects materializing ten steps from the camera, the disappearance of cars behind the back, which has already become the talk of the town – all this should not be here. RenderWare, the multi-platform, scalable graphics engine that powers both versions of GTA: Vice City, is capable of rendering a much better picture, especially with such and such system requirements. It’s good that the main textures were redrawn at a higher resolution.
Progress and AI were not affected. You can admire the wonderful motion capture for as long as you like (how long-legged beauties defile there, how the cops roll on the ground! What wonderful gestures Tommy V. knows!), But this will not add intelligence to the crowd. When it comes to capturing our humble persona or reacting to an attack without scripting, virtual residents periodically lose their memory, vision and the ability to navigate the terrain. I just want to cite one little-known Czech game as an example …
We love this city. Behind the scale, devilishly cunning missions, neon sparkling streets, the roar of motorcycles and a billion pleasant moments that remain in the memory after the end credits. We firmly believe that the Ultimate Gangster Simulator will be released from the forge of Rockstar North in a few years.
This is left behind the scenes:
1. Like a year ago, actors from American cinema and TV were cast on the voice acting of the characters: Ray Liotta (The Good Guys, Turbulence), William Fichtner (Armageddon, Pearl Harbor, Equilibrium), Tom Sizemore (“Natural Born Killers”, “White Earp”, “Saving Private Ryan”, “Black Hawk Down”), Dennis Hopper (needs no introduction) and many lesser-known “stars” in Russia.