597th played so far

Genre: Action
Platform: Playstation 2
Year of Release: 2005
Developer: Rockstar Leeds
Publisher: Rockstar Games

As there are 10 GTA series games on the list of 1001, we tend to play one every 100 games – and as, per tradition, the first games in the series were played at the 100 point, that’s where all subsequent sequels appear now.

Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories goes back to the city of Grand Theft Auto 3, although set a few years prior to that game. Most of it would be familiar at least – the same city in more than just name and style, as seems to be the case for other repeated cities in this series.

Our Thoughts

Although I played Grand Theft Auto III for some time, I wasn’t really expecting to come back to its world a few years later and still be able to find my way around, recognise places and know where my old base was. It was a pretty nice return, but I didn’t remember quite as much of the story as I did of the environment I spend a lot of time traversing. I’m sure there were some characters I vaguely remembered, but they didn’t connect as much as they would have for someone who spend hours in the game going through all the missions.

It also gave me a chance to reflect on the changes that have been made. It’s not as smooth as the way I expect the fourth official installment in the game to run, based on what I’ve seen of Grand Theft Auto V and the Saints Row series – saving could be handled so much nicer in my opinion – but the controls are feeling better and missions are a bit nicer to handle, and seemed more varied. Sometimes easier too, in a good way, but there were still places I struggled. I still didn’t feel quite as lost as I had elsewhere.

When it came to playing it, the missions were less imprenetable than earlier games, although still marred by the lack of more frequent autosaves (causing meaningless repetitive diversions) and some oddly constrained choices in the time given when combined with the still awkward control choices. It felt like time was one of my enemies too often, as it was the only reason I failed missions, in a place where it didn’t fit. It seemed like an artificial constraint detracting from more fun mechanics.

Still, the main problem is that these interactions kept me from interacting with the world and story, something that I didn’t feel at all during my first outing in Liberty City. That’s a powerful thought, really. Let me do my thing my way.

Final Thoughts

Liberty City Stories might be as good as San Andreas if you ask me – although I probably shouldn’t say that too loudly here. It feels like it’s as good of a game and setting, even if the world feels slightly less engaging. If we could just get to a place where levels are less frustrating to play, it would be a really good game.