Less than a year after releasing "Grand Theft Auto 3," arguably the best game of the year, Rockstar Games has done it again.
"Grand Theft Auto: Vice City," is everything that "Grand Theft Auto 3" was -- and more. Unlike "GTA3," which is set in the present, "Vice City" takes gamers back to the '80s and the fictional Vice City (basically Miami).
The city, which spans about 50 percent more space than Liberty City of "GTA3," is glorious. From the bikini-clad beachgoers to the competing gang members, the environment of the city is realistic. Except, of course, for the havoc you create when you steal a car and run from the cop who just so happened to witness the crime.
The more crime and murder you commit, the more trouble you have with the authorities. Go too far, and the Vice squad comes after you, straight from the hit show "Miami Vice."
What makes this game so much better than "GTA3" is the sheer volume of things you can do at any given time. There are multitudes of side missions and mini-quests to take away hours of your time.
As for the main storyline, it is actually shorter than the story from "GTA3," but as a whole, the missions are more fun and more manageable. A few of the missions, such as the remote-control toy helicopter mission, are incredibly annoying -- but persistence will get you through them without too much hair loss.
Graphically, the game suffers in a few areas. Every now and then, cars, people and buildings load on the screen late, leading to unforeseen accidents.