I did not expect to sink forty-five hours into GTA: Vice City, but I did.
It’s important to remember this is an important game. Rockstar North proved they weren’t just a one trick pony with 3D open-world games after GTA3. It’s also important to remember Rockstar popularized the 3D open world genre with this game’s predecessor.
Vice City builds and/or improves on what GTA3 established in pretty much every way. It’s a bigger world, there is better voice acting, they’ve done away with the silent protagonist, there’s more licensed music… the list just keeps going.
The biggest shortcoming of Vice City is this: toward the latter half of the game, you are required to go on a TON of side missions. The main story starts to get really interesting, and then it just drops off, because you have to do so many unrelated missions. By the time you get back to it, you’ve done so many of these unrelated missions that the main story feels irrelevant to how you spent the past 10+ hours.
As a big fan of GTA4, it’s nice to play Vice City for some perspective on how 4 came to be. This said, the game is too long, and the flaws GTA4 does away with are noticeable having played the next generation’s sequel.