The digital delights of Sony’s scrumptious PlayStation Network service know no bounds. Aside from letting punters compete in online gaming, stream films, browse the Internet and more, its premier attraction rests in the copious supply of downloadable games ripe for the picking. From PSN exclusives to PSOne Classics, minis and plain old add-on content, Sony’s online space is chock full of goodies battling it out for your hard-earned digital dollars.
Welcome back to another installment of Inside PlayStation Network, where every Monday – Friday we’ll pluck a PSN release—be it new or old—and put it in the spotlight for a thorough dissection. Fancy getting a new PSN game but don’t know what one to plump for? Perhaps this feature will help. Didn’t realize that a game was available in your region until now? We've got you covered. Or, perhaps you were musing over what those lucky Japanese folk were tucking into over in the Land of the Rising Sun? You can be sure our coverage will extend to those rare regional exclusives as much as those firmly embedded on the public consciousness.
Today, we examine the downloadable PSP crime outing, Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories.
Developer: Rockstar Leeds
Region(s) available: North America, Europe
A major selling point for early PSP adopters, GTA: LCS sees players dipping their toes in GTA III’s sprawling sandbox of Liberty City in the year 1998, with the game serving as a prequel to the revolutionary 2001 PlayStation 2 hit. Gamers hop into the shoes of returning bad boy Toni Cipriani, who after carrying out a hit for crime overlord Don Salvatore Leone some years before comes out of hiding to find himself back in the saddle once again – and by that, we mean carrying out all sorts of dodgy dealings for Leone and family.
Liberty City Stories sticks rigidly to GTA III’s polished paradigm of slogging through your bread-and-butter story quests, as well as tacking numerous side quests. These include the usual suspects such as delivering pizzas, taking part in taxi and ambulance missions and various other vigilante-based tasks. You can even answer pay phones to bag yourself a place in street races, or test drive various cars and bikes for potential consumers for the local car lot. If you fancy a challenge, you can also try hunting down all 100 of the game’s hidden packages that are strewn about the bustling metropolis.
Core missions shouldn’t surprise long time GTA fanatics, ranging from pinching a car and driving it to the desired location without trashing it, eliminating rival gang members or blowing up structures and vehicles. Sometimes you’ll find yourself accompanied by a couple of Leone’s flunkies, though the AI is a pretty bog-standard affair, so don’t expect to be issuing any form of tactical commands to your buddies. As expected, combat remains an integral component to the proceedings, and Cipriani will be able to lay his mitts on various weaponry including pistols, machine guns, shotguns and many more. There’s plenty of goons to dispatch along the way, so expect to get yourself embroiled in some heated gun battles as you go about your business.
Of course, the Old Bill won’t take kindly to your crime-ridden antics, and if you fail to apply the necessary discretion in order to remain inconspicuous in your actions, you’ll quickly find yourself a wanted man. Police response is pretty much on par with previous iterations, chucking everything from patrol cars to helicopters in your direction, depending on how high your wanted level is. LCS is also noted for its inclusion for multiplayer, a first for the series at the time of release. Up to six players can participate in a number of rudimentary game modes, such as death match, capture the flag and king of the hill. Furthermore, you can unlock fresh characters and environments for the multiplayer as you progress through the game’s solo campaign.
That’s it for this week. Join us again Monday for another poke around Inside PlayStation Network.