Grand Theft Auto: Vice City 10th Anniversary Edition full review

The best of the Grand Theft Auto games comes to iPhones and iPads, and Android smartphones and Android tablets, as did its predecessor Grand Theft Auto 3 for iPad a few months ago. Here's our Grand Theft Auto: Vice City 10th Anniversary Edition review.

Not too much has  changed , and it's doubtful that much more will when the inevitable GTA: San Andreas port arrives a little down the line. We are, though, looking at the game where Rockstar's notorious driving and murdering series really found its groove. Unlike the later games there's not too much bloat or arrogance, and unlike GTA III it has a distinctive and unforgettable style. The Miami Vice and Scarface inspirations are written in letters the size of Florida, but it winds up as one big, celebratory 80s party rather a contrived string of references.

The soundtrack's the main thing, all Billie Jean, Judas Priest, Human League, Tears For Fears, Megadeth and Foreigner, but the neon excess of an exaggerated Miami is just as much the star of the show.

It's all present and correct in the mobile version, and running at a higher, sharper resolution than the original PlayStation 2 version ever offered. We can also attest to it running smooth as you like on an iPad 3, though buildings and cars do pop into existence rather than be drawn at huge distances.

Alas, there've been no other changes to the game's appearance, so characters are block-faced monsters which look far beyond the capabilities of your average iPad even if the rainbow lighting is quite the treat.

 Grand Theft Auto: Vice City

More seriously, despite a bit of polish in the controls department it's as much of a pig to aim guns and drive cars as GTA 3's mobile port was. While mucking about in the open world is easy and satisfying enough, the precision shooting and racing required by some of the missions is pretty much impossible.

Android players can hook up a gamepad and jailbreakers will likely seize finer control of the iOS version, but even so casually playing on train, bus or porcelain throne will be a frustrating affair.

So, while it's lovely to revisit a bona fide classic, and simply cruising around the streets listening to Gold and Kids In America is a true pleasure,  there is a nagging sense that this is either a just-because release or a cynical moneygrab - or both. At least the relatively low (given the amount of content) price reflects the fact that the control issues keep it from being a must-have mobile title.


Grand Theft Auto: Vice City 10th Anniversary Edition: Specs

  • iOS version: Compatible with iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPod touch (3rd generation), iPod touch (4th generation), iPod touch (5th generation) and iPad. Requires iOS 4.3 or later. Android version due very soon.