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Published:January 12th, 2007 05:25 EST
Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories for the PSP

Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories for the PSP

By Michael Bergeron

Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories for the PSP is the story of gangster Antonio as he makes a name for himself.  Players will find themselves immersed in the chaotic anarchy of gangsters, mafia kingpins and pimps of Liberty City.  Players can free roam around three distinct areas of the city with their own personality, making each area different and unique.  By different and unique though, I do mean a complete copy of the map from Grand Theft Auto 3 for the PS2.

Although the game world is from the original Grand Theft Auto 3 on the PS2, Rockstar has done well to make the gameplay interesting, as well as include new content and features that no one would have thought to include before.  Liberty City Stories can support 6 people on wireless multiplayer with seven different scenarios ranging from racing missions to last man standing.

Through software available for download on the official Liberty City Stories site, players can import music onto their PSP and listen to their custom tracks on the game radio.  This is a nice touch as well seeing how many people may not enjoy the psychotic and insulting redneck rants of a Dr. Phil parody, a bloodthirsty French chef or the famous Lazlo who previously has made radio appearances in two of the three Grand Theft Auto games for the PS2.  Users should make sure to label their music before hand however, or else players will be scrolling through “unknown artist, unknown album” after “unknown artist, unknown album” until they find the right song.

There were initial problems involving weird animation problems during one of the first few missions cut scenes and the in game running of the character, but animation wise during gameplay and the remaining cut scenes went smoothly.  The only audio problem was the barely noticeable problem of lip-syncing with character voicing.

When it comes to rampaging through the city, players will notice that now people on the street can hold their own when involved in a fistfight, and will be able get in a few good punches and kicks before going down.  The weapon variety is very good, and firing animation is smooth.  Switching between weapons may seem difficult at first because of the buttons used for scrolling through your arsenal, but becomes second nature as players are faced with plenty of opportunities to blow up stuff.

Driving in Liberty City can be a really interesting trip with the steady flow of traffic and back alleys to travel down.  Handling is smooth for the most part, but does vary from car to car, as does speed and acceleration.  The vehicle options range widely from a scooter to a tank.

Although there were a few problems, and the fact that they reused the map from Grand Theft Auto 3, the gameplay, missions and story make up for any unoriginality and problems that players may face.  The added bonus of multiplayer, as well as custom tracks, give a much-needed facelift to a predominantly single player franchise.  Players will enjoy blissful hours just wandering around Liberty City leaving carnage in their wake.  I give Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories, 8 Italian-American ethnic stereotypes out of 10.