Liberty City Stories

I’m sure every UK PSP owner has heard the news that although the game was due today, it’s not hitting shops a week later on 7th November, so I won’t dawdle on it beyond to say that MCV is reporting that it might not even meet that date, being used as a spoiler for the Game Boy Micro and possibly even the Xbox 360 launches. Apparently the debacle over import PSPs didn’t teach them anything, because most import shops in the UK have them already and I know of one that sold twelve copies today and has several orders for tomorrow’s batch. Region free games, FTW!

Anyway, I have the game in my hands right now. I’ve only had the chance to play for an hour or so but although it’s not a completely faithful conversion that suffers from the technical limitations of the PSP in some ways (the controls aren’t ideal, for example, and the audio sounds very compressed) it’s still a phenomenal achievement to have crammed it so well into a handheld. Liberty City has always been my favourite so a return to it with an all-new storyline and missions, as well as the minor changes that occured between 1998 and 2001 in the game world, means that it’s worth returning to. There are even little graphical effects that weren’t in GTA3 on the PS2, like how your lights reflect on wet asphalt.

I had a quick blast on multiplayer which seemed quite cool, but the game doesn’t seem designed for that style of play. I’d imagine it could be much better with a bigger group of players and would certainly make a great game if it were put online on a home console that could handle much bigger numbers of simultaneous players. The series has always been fun to just thrash around in so one would think that it would transfer well to a multiplayer environment.

Overall, definitely worth buying. If you’re in the UK and not inclined to wait, ordering from the excellent Video Games Plus with priority shipping should get it to you early for about the same as the UK price (£39.99).

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