When i purchased this game, i only had one thing on my mind. I had just completed The Godfather and had 10 months to wait for GTA 4 so i bought Vice City Stories to keep me going in this time, and that's all it will ever be, a stop gap game.
Here are the bad points, the graphics are terrible compared to San Andreas and even its sister game, Liberty City Stories, the graphics are fuzzy and you can clearly see the pixels which make up the bodies of the characters. The characters themselves are very poorly animated, the only way to tell which character is speaking is by looking at their chins which make small oscillatory movements occasoinally. It seems to me that the graphics have taken a huge backstep from the predecessing games, the original Vice City was my favourite of the series before the mighty San Andreas came along, i loved the warm, rich texture of the graphics. The way they used subtle pinks and purples to create that Miami atmosphere. Fair enough i understand that this game was originally intended for the much less powerful PSP but upon releasing it for the PS2 they could have made slight improvements, if they did not wish to make improvements then it should have stayed on the PSP. Another bad point is the range of vehicles, they all seem to samey to me, there isn't a lot of variety, there are the customary Sentinels and Sabre gang cars and then all the Manana and Regina trash which litter the roads, clogging up the fast lanes. However, there isn't much difference from those few. There is the same 'storm forces bridge to close' storyline which means you are momentarily marooned on one island, interestingly it is the opposite island to the one which you are stuck on in the original Vice City, this mean you can no longer cruise the beach until you have completed enough missions to open the bridge up. Though this is not a fault with the game, i did not appreciate this as you are stuck on the crappy, industrial island with nothing but concrete to look at.
Now for the good bits, once again the voice acting and characterisations are superb. This is one thing Rockstar never fail to succeed on, the scripts and quality of voice acting. The characters are original and endearing which does give the game a more realistic feel as you can relate to the characters and truly believe in them. The gameplay is as open ended and varied as it's predecessors, using the same map as the original Vice City, with the addition of an army base. The Vice City map was my favourite of them all so i very much appreciate Rockstar bringing out a game which recycles the old Vice City map. There is a long and interesting main storyline which contains the usual twists and turns which make this series of games so enthralling.
Overall this game, though interesting and well worth buying, is not a patch on any of it's predecessors, the graphics and game content seem to have taken a step backwards. The original Vice City, though being 5 older, is much much better and if you are looking to buy your first GTA game i would steer clear of this one. In spawning the god of games that was San Andreas, Rockstar have shot themselves in the foot as every game they now bring out will be compared to SA, this game included. So my conclusion is that this game can only ever be a stop gap for people who want something to do whilst awaiting GTA 4, for this price, i would recommend getting it but don't get too excited