Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories

Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories Review for PS2

On: PS2PSP

The PSP GTA game will arrive on the PlayStation 2 before the end of April 2006.

Review verdict Read Review
8Out of 10
Back to game info
At under £20, Liberty City Stories on PS2 is a bargain.
At under £20, Liberty City Stories on PS2 is a bargain.

At under £20, Liberty City Stories on PS2 is a bargain.

GTA: Liberty City Stories was released in October last year, and has since gone on to be the only clear killer app for Sony's handheld. A new GTA game was always going to be popular, and there could hardly have been a better way to spur PSP sales. Sadly for PlayStation 2 owners, that meant no new GTA game for their system in 2005. With GTA IV now set for October 2007, Rockstar's port of Liberty City stories to the PlayStation 2 is a timely release for the console, and while not up to San Andreas' impeccable standard, it's a game that GTA fans shouldn't be without.

Rockstar quite wisely returned to Liberty City for their first GTA game on the PSP. Last seen in Grand Theft Auto III, the location has been burnt into the memory of millions of gamers, and going back feels like visiting the place you grew up in. You play as Toni Cipriani, Salvatore Leone's right-hand man. Eventually you become a Made man and get involved in all the usual mafia business found in the GTA series, with gang wars aplenty.

Story wise, Liberty City stories isn't as great as the previous home console games, with few truly memorable characters and moments. It still has a comedic edge to it - something that has run through the series - but it's not the well rounded experience that you might be expecting. Cut scenes are often quite poor and key events are underplayed, making most of the story rather forgettable. Being a straight port, nothing has changed in this area during the game's transition to the PlayStation 2, but the core GTA gameplay is still there and as solid as ever.

On the PSP Liberty City Stories looked remarkably good. In fact, along with Ridge Racer, it was a true showcase title for the system. Seeing the game on the PlayStation 2 is a rather different experience. The series as a whole has never been technically stunning, with rough textures, plenty of pop-up and a fairly dodgy frame rate, but 2004's GTA: San Andreas still looked impressive. Liberty City Stories on the PS2 is pretty much the PSP game, running on the PlayStation 2. The frame rate seems to be marginally improved (still not smooth), but textures are messy, character models are rather blocky and the series' trademark repeating cars and near pop-up rear their ugly heads.

'Playing the game on the PlayStation 2 means camera control isn't an issue...'

I'm prepared for all the hate mail, but in my opinion tight controls have never been the series' strong point, on consoles anyway. I've got used to them over the years and the overall quality of the games more than made up for this. Still, control was the biggest issue I had with the PSP game, with the system's single analogue stick causing plenty of camera problems. Playing the game on the PlayStation 2 means camera control isn't an issue, but you'll still get the same twitchy controls (particularly when riding bikes) that you either love or hate.

Missions tend to be pretty simple, with most involving only one task, with the usual 'return car' and 'take out gang' missions taking up a fair share of your time. Not that these aren't entertaining - they are. They're just not as diverse or as challenging as those that GTA fans will be used to, particularly if the last GTA game you played was San Andreas. Fans of mindless violence and general carnage can still take to the streets and cause mayhem, with the inevitable police chases that follow. Cop cars are pretty brutal in their pursuits, but they tend to be limited in number. The frame rate also tends to bog down a fair bit during the most intense chases - when you've got cop cars and a chopper on your tail - but it never drops into unplayable territory.

It's the same old GTA, which can't be bad.

It's the same old GTA, which can't be bad.

Many of the GTA staples are present, with the obligatory radio stations, paint shops, clothing changes, stat tracking and more. Your look can't be totally customised as it could in San Andreas, but you can pick between complete outfits. The radio stations don't feature an awful lot of licensed music, meaning the game lacks the nostalgia factor of previous GTA games, but voice work is generally excellent and the funny radio ads that have appeared in every GTA game make an appearance.

Liberty City Stories on the PlayStation 2 has been released as a budget title, and as such is lacking the multiplayer modes seen in the PSP game. While this might be disappointing for GTA fans hoping to get their first taste of multiplayer GTA (bar unofficial mods for the PC games), the single-player campaign alone more than makes the game worth its cheap price tag.

Discerning GTA fans will notice that Rockstar's latest isn't quite up to the hugely high standard that the first three PlayStation 2 games have set, but Liberty City Stories is still a GTA game, and ticks most of the boxes. This isn't a follow-up to San Andreas, and as long as you go into the game knowing that you're playing a game originally designed for the PSP, you'll find it hard to spend £20 on a better purchase this summer.

New stuff to check out

6 Comments

To add your comment, please login or register

User Comments

TheWarriors's Avatar

TheWarriors

Not the best GTA game. I agree that San Andreas is the best one. And then GTA IV
Posted 01:31 on 16 January 2009
Spyder79's Avatar

Spyder79

its okay, but i think san andreas is the best grand theft auto, now its grand theft auto IV and soon V.
Posted 18:53 on 14 August 2008
GUY's Avatar
Delete Post

GUY@ munna

incase u dont know , this game is designed for the PSP which is now on ps2 so u cant really compare this to san andreas wait for the new onw coming in 2007
Posted 09:34 on 07 December 2006
joe's Avatar
Delete Post

joe@ munna

are you able to fly anything in this game?
Posted 17:17 on 26 October 2006
sparki's Avatar
Delete Post

sparki@ munna

i am absolutely apalled by the gameplay the graphics and the story, i waited ages for the next gta after spending ages getting 100% completion on san andreas, and this is what i get? the missions are simple, i completed 11 in a row without losing any health. if this is the way ps2 is going i think i will go to xbox!!!!!!!!!!
Posted 13:08 on 24 June 2006
munna's Avatar

munna

not bad but not so good
because it's not an unique gta
Posted 04:42 on 14 June 2006

Game Stats

Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories
8
Out of 10
Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories
  • It's GTA
  • Great value for money
  • Pretty ropey visuals
  • Missing multiplayer from PSP game
Agree? Disagree? Get Involved!
Release Date: 23/06/2006
Platforms: PS2 , PSP
Developer: Rockstar
Publisher: Rockstar
Genre: Action
Rating: BBFC 18
Site Rank: 226 23
View Full Site