Following the massive success of Grand Theft Auto 3, Rockstar Games had plenty of expectations to live up to. Roughly a year later, it released Grand Theft Auto: Vice City on the PS2. Set in the 80s, it offered a brand new story, a new playground in Vice City and plenty of new content for fans to sink their teeth into. After numerous awards and millions of copies sold, it’s getting the remastered treatment in Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition which is out on November 11th for Xbox Series X/S, Xbox One, PS4, PS5, PC and Nintendo Switch. Let’s take a look at 15 things a new player should know before taking the plunge into Vice City specifically.
The story sees Tommy Vercetti of the Forelli mafia leaving prison after a 15 year stint and being sent to Vice City for a deal with the Vance Brothers. Things go south when the group is ambushed and it’s up to Tommy to retrieve the product and the cash for his boss Sonny. Like many adventures in the series, a journey through the criminal underworld begins as Tommy meets various characters, locates the culprit and just has a ball living out his violent tendencies.
The first major difference between Grand Theft Auto 3 and Vice City is that Tommy is a fully voiced protagonist (with none other than the legendary Ray Liotta playing him). Other characters that the player meets include Lance Vance (played by Philip Michael Thomas), who’s seeking revenge for his brother’s death; crooked real estate developer Avery Carrington (played by another legend in Burt Reynolds); and kingpin Ricardo Diaz (played Luis Guzman); and much more. Other star talent includes Gary Busey, Dennis Hopper and even Danny Trejo.
In terms of scale, Vice City isn’t a whole lot bigger than Liberty City but it does have a lot to offer. Inspired by 80s Miami, it’s composed of two main islands – Vice City Beach and Vice City Mainland, each having their own districts and unique locations. There are also two smaller islands – Starfish Island and Prawn Island – to explore as well.
Rockstar has already confirmed extensive visual improvements across the board like revamped character models, high-resolution textures, more effects and environmental details, and greater draw distance (with support for 4K and up to 60 FPS). Compared to Grand Theft Auto 3, the aesthetic is a lot brighter and more colorful, whether it’s the sunny beaches or the neon-drenched skyline at night.
Open World Design and Activities
In terms of open world design, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City features many of the same activities as Grand Theft Auto 3 like vigilantism, fire fighting, stealing a taxi cab and delivering passengers for fare, and acting as a paramedic. A new activity, pizza boy, is also included. Completing these will once again unlock specific perks and bonuses like increased max health and body armor, fire immunity and so on. Other new additions that help the world come alive include a shooting range for testing out different weapons, robbing stores and, of course, causing random havoc to increase one’s Wanted level.
More Side Content
While GTA: Vice City has “only” 38 Story Missions, its side content is significantly greater than GTA 3. There are asset missions (which increase the amount of money earned from an asset per day), phone missions involving assassinations, street races, RC races, stadium missions which range from a demolition derby to a bike obstacle course, and much more. Combined with all of the different activities that need to be completed, there’s a lot of content on offer.
After completing a certain story mission, GTA: Vice City provides the option to acquire Assets. These are essentially businesses which can provide a steady stream of income each day (provided you complete all of their associated Asset Missions) along with save points. The majority of them must be purchased and while it costs $400,000 in total, the mobile version of Vice City halved each Asset’s cost. Perhaps this will carry over into the Definitive Edition? We’ll have to wait and see.
Safehouses and Properties
Much like in GTA 3, you have safehouses where you can save progress, change outfits and equip weapons. However, there are also various different properties which can be purchased. These function as safehouses but also allow for storing vehicles in the garage. Some even have neat features like employing bodyguards outside of the premises. While not introducing tons of new features over its predecessor, being able to marvel upon your properties, whether it’s the Ocean View Hotel or El Swanko Casa, is great.
Though the “businessmen” rule Vice City, there are still various small gangs fighting to eke out a living. Tommy can undertake missions for different gangs and upon completion, they’ll come to his aid in combat. Meanwhile, rival gangs will attempt to attack, which can lead to some impromptu gang warfare.
Like Grand Theft Auto 3, there are nine radio stations in Vice City but with much more licensed music than before. You have Flash FM with pop music like Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean; Iron Maiden’s 2 Minutes to Midnight on V-Rock; and Fever 105 with tracks like Summer Madness by Kool and the Gang. There’s also Vice Public Radio, a public talk station, and K-Chat which hosts celebrity interviews. An “MP3 player” is also available like in GTA 3 which allows for importing one’s songs into a custom playlist.
There are 101 vehicles in GTA: Vice City with a much greater variety to choose from across Four-Door Cars, Two-Door Cars, Vans, Industrial vehicles, Boats, Sports Cars and RC Cars. It also introduces motorcycles and aircraft that could actually be flown. The Definitive Edition promises a control layout similar to Grand Theft Auto 5 but how this will improve the original game’s driving – which is still better than GTA 3 – remains to be seen.
Compared to Grand Theft Auto 3, Vice City significantly ups the amount of weapons that can be acquired. These include the Colt .45 and Colt Python pistols, Spaz 12 and Pump Action Shotgun, the MP5 and Tec9 SMGs, and even a minigun alongside the flamethrower and rocket launcher. Even better is the sheer number of melee weapons from a simple screwdriver and knife to a katana, chainsaw, meat cleaver and machete.
Though all games in this trilogy will benefit from a checkpoint system, it’s especially useful for Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. Now you can restart the Demolition Man mission immediately upon failing it, cutting down on a lot of the frustration. Hopefully, the GTA 5-style control scheme acts as the real difference maker and improves the actual handling of the RC Helicopter.
In terms of playtime, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City requires 19 hours to complete the story as per HowLongtoBeat.com. This extends to 27 hours if you play the main story missions and side content but for completionists, it will take 43 hours to accomplish everything. Again, considering the development time and how much there is to do over Grand Theft Auto 3, that’s pretty good.
10.768GB on PS4 and PS5
Grand Theft Auto: The Trilogy – The Definitive Edition is roughly 39 GB in size according to PlayStation Game Size on Twitter. Vice City’s Definitive Edition isn’t the biggest game but it still requires 10.768 GB of installation space.