How GTA Vice City Was Ahead Of It’s Time

Does Vice City's iconic gameplay still hold its own in today's gaming world?

GTA Vice City
How GTA Vice City Was Ahead Of It's Time

Following the groundbreaking success of GTA III, Rockstar Games wasted no time capitalizing on the open-world formula. Released just a year later, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City cemented the series’ legacy as a titan of the genre. 

Even though this game only remained in production for a year, Vice City, in my opinion, is still in the top three GTA games. The Miami Vice-inspired neon aesthetic was unlike anything Rockstar had done before. Stepping away from the gritty realism of GTA III, Vice City embraced a vibrant 1980s Miami aesthetic, offering a unique blend of action, satire, and nostalgic charm.

Key Takeaways
    • Despite being older, Vice City’s neon-soaked 1980s world holds up remarkably well.
    • The core gameplay remains a gem, offering a mix of thrilling action, outrageous car chases, and over-the-top heists.
    • Vice City isn’t just about the story – it’s a vast open-world playground where you can explore, experiment, and have a blast.
    • From building a criminal empire to becoming a nightclub mogul, Vice City caters to a variety of playstyles.
    • This timeless classic proves that pure, unadulterated fun never goes out of style.

Seeing as how GTA 6 is returning to Vice City, I wanted to revisit this masterpiece. 

The Action Packed Narrative

GTA Vice City ditches the gritty streets of its predecessors in favor of sun-soaked beaches and the thumping nightlife scene. The game’s aesthetic draws heavy inspiration from the popular TV show Miami Vice, and the iconic Al Pacino crime movie, Scarface. I mean Diaz’s mansion is directly based on the bright red mansion of Tony Montana.

Diaz Mansion
Diaz’s Mansion

The game throws you into the action as Tommy Vercetti, a mobster fresh out of prison and tossed straight into the heart of Vice City’s criminal underbelly by his own crime family.

Emerging from a grueling 15-year prison stint, Tommy Vercetti finds himself transplanted to the shores of Vice City. Unlike the stoic Claude from GTA III, Tommy (voiced by the legendary Ray Liotta) is a force of personality. There can be so much said about the amazing voice acting, but we will leave that topic for another day.

Voice actors play each character on top of their game and add to the crime drama of Vice City. The story stays focused on a single goal this time. Tommy is required to find the people who stole the family’s drugs and money and bring it back.

Most of your campaign revolves around trying to win the favors of other characters to get closer to your goal. There may be one or two occasions where the story may seem to be going in a different direction. However, the story never strays off the course too much.

Missions Are Fun

Unpopular opinion; Vice City’s missions are a timeless gem. They prioritize pure, unadulterated fun, throwing you headfirst into thrilling shootouts, outrageous car chases, and over-the-top heists.

Gone are the time trials popular in GTA 3, and instead we get assassin missions. This may seem like a bland idea on paper, however, Vice City uniquely executes these missions. No two assassination missions are the same.

One mission may require you to eliminate people through your sniper, while the others may take you running around the golf course in your Caddy, trying to get your mark. It is exactly as hilarious and over-the-top as it sounds.

Caddy Mission
Leaf Links Assassination Mission

GTA Vice City also features missions with turret sections. These missions drop you right in the heart of the action, putting you behind the mounted gun of a speeding vehicle or a fortified hideout, tasked with mowing down waves of enemies in a glorious explosion of bullets and mayhem. 

Tired of shooting enemies on foot? Vice City throws you into heart-pounding motorbike chases, where you blast away at enemies while weaving through traffic. It’s pure action movie mayhem!

Want to fly a small RC helicopter created by the devil himself to plant explosives inside a building? The infamous Demolition Man, mission has you covered here as well.

Bike Chase Shooting
Bike Chase and Shooting

Vice City’s world isn’t just about the main story. There’s a ton of side content to explore if you’re looking for a break. You can become a pizza delivery driver, race through the streets as a paramedic, or collect cool cars to build your collection.

Vice City Is Your Playground

One of the core things people often forget about is the design of the open world in Vice City. The city is designed like a player’s playground. Unlike some games that restrict your freedom, Vice City encourages you to explore, experiment, and have a blast.

Buying Malibu
Buying Malibu Club

In Vice City, you can buy the Malibu Nightclub and Movie Studio, as your personal properties. Not only do these properties offer you safe houses that generate income, but these places also come with their unique missions. These missions aren’t just put in for extra content but offer some of the most exciting moments in the entire game.

If this wasn’t enough, the city is full of ramps placed conveniently so you can jump across the Vice City sky earning bonuses. Each jump unlocks a unique cash bonus and takes you to inaccessible parts of the map.

Bike Stunts
Bike Stunts

There are even hidden packages scattered throughout the city and even a death race course located near the airport. There are just mountains of content for players to try.

GTA Vice City Truly Holds Up 

Despite its age, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City remains a captivating open-world experience. The vibrant 1980s Miami aesthetic continues to enthrall. While the visuals might not compete with modern titles, Vice City’s core gameplay shines brighter than ever. Missions prioritize unadulterated fun, throwing you into thrilling shootouts, outrageous car chases, and over-the-top heists.

Beyond the gripping story, Vice City transforms into a sprawling playground, brimming with opportunities for exploration, mayhem, and side activities.

Whether you crave building a criminal empire, becoming a nightclub mogul, or simply soaking in the atmosphere, Vice City caters to your every whim. This timeless gem proves that pure, unadulterated fun never truly goes out of style.

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