My viewpoint’s probably slightly skewed because I actually don’t have a problem with touch controls. As a new generation grows up playing games on smartphones and tablets, this’ll become the norm rather than the exception (if it hasn’t done already) and I’m hardly going to avoid a game like Vice City on my iPhone just because the buttons are on the screen.
So I didn’t. And the game’s actually just about fine. Yes, having a ‘proper’ controller is the best way to play a game like this, but there isn’t one on the iPhone, so that’s that. The controls that are in the game are fully configurable (you can move and resize everything, and there’s loads of options including motion control) and I’ve blasted through the first missions and had a jolly old drive around without any real fuss to speak of. That might change as the missions get tougher though.
Visually it’s definitely a clear step above the original. On an iPhone 5 it’s all pin-sharp and widescreen, and although Rockstar have bumped up the polygon count and the texture detail it’s clear that most of the game is still based on last generation’s graphics. It’s so high resolution that you can actually see through bits of cars when close up (in one of the very first cut-scenes too) but on the whole it’s not a bad looking game at all, considering.
Of course, the music’s still as brilliant and you forget just how good the voice acting was in this game – the characters are so deliciously over the top and soaked in 80’s day-glo that you can’t help but raise a smile at the script. Vice City was probably my favourite out of the GTA III-era games – the storyline’s superb and as a child of the 80’s this connects perfectly with me.
Loading is snappy, the frame-rate’s solid (again, I’m testing this on the latest iPhone) and the ‘tap-to-shoot’ is inspired, meaning there’s little to moan about in terms of how the game is presented. Even the menus are cool in they way that you’ve to drag over them rather than just blinding tapping to make a selection – a small touch, but a neat one nonetheless.
Of course, the real test will be whether this is just another novelty – it’s hugely exciting to play a game you fondly remembered from years back on nothing but your everyday phone, but will you be playing it tomorrow, or next week? I’d imagine this would be heavenly with an Android phone that has a controller built in, but without one to test, all I can say is that I’m happy enough with how this has turned out. It looks decent, and plays as well as I’d hoped.
Tommi Vercetti’s epic tale is just £2.99, and is available now.