Grand Theft Auto: Vice City for iOS – A Welcome Revisit of a Modern Classic [Review]

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Around ten years ago, Rockstar released one of the most highly acclaimed titles in all of gaming history, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. Ten years on, after receiving critical acclaim and selling over 17.5 million copies on the Playstation 2 alone, Rockstar, as part of the title’s ten year anniversary, has brought it to two of the biggest mobile platforms today, iOS and Android. When some developers released their classic titles to iOS and Android, they ended up being watered-down copies of the originals. But Rockstar decided instead to get the entire game that we know and love and port it straight over to the mobile platforms. God I’m thankful for them doing that.

IMG_0698When you first open the app, all the memories of playing the game on a console come flooding back. You’re greeted with the familiar Rockstar intro, followed by the intro movie of the actual game. Once you get to the menu, you’re met with one that has clearly been redesigned for the touch interfaces on practically all smartphones and tablets today. The other modern addition is the ability to store save games in iCloud, which is handy if you play the game on more than one iDevice.

Once you get to experience some of the gameplay, you’ll recognise a lot that’s similar to the original release: the vehicle mechanics, the weapons, the storyline, the graphics and the pedestrians are all exactly the same across both releases. The only change to the gameplay is the addition of on-screen controls which are placed comfortably at the edges of the display, and are surprisingly accurate given the fact that they are touch-based.

IMG_0704While you are busy doing favors for kingpins and blowing up the compounds of rival gangs, you can tell that, no matter how new your iDevice is, the hardware is taking an absolute wallop, especially the battery. Even though Apple say that every iPad can last for ten hours, you’ll be lucky to get around a third of that in solid playing time. Expect it to be worse if you’re playing on an iPhone, with its shorter lasting battery and all. You can also tell at times that the processor and GPU are stretched to the limit, with frame rates sometimes dropping noticeably, even on my third-generation iPad.

But it’s worth it. And it’s one hell of a feat to directly port a game that was originally designed for gaming consoles and PCs onto a mobile device. That shows you how far technology has come over the past ten years. At this rate, expect to be playing Grand Theft Auto V on your fifteenth-generation iPad or your iPhone 10S.

In conclusion…

When Rockstar first announced that they would be porting GTA: Vice City to the mobile platforms, they risked losing all the praise and acclaim that the title received if they did a bad job. Fortunately, all that praise and acclaim has been left unaffected. This version, designed for mobile platforms, brings back all the great memories that were had when the game was originally released. But more than that, it’s a statement. It shows just how far mobile devices have come, and it proves that tablets and smartphones are the future of personal computing.

Grand Theft Auto: Vice City is available on both the iOS App Store and the Google Play store on selected devices.

 

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