Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories

Game review by
Aaron Lazenby, Common Sense Media
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories Game Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
Another brutal, unabashedly adult game.

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 9 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 40 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this game.

Positive Messages

Typical of the series: violence is the answer to every problem, ethnic caricatures abound, and crime pays.

Violence

Contract killings, gang wars, torture, drive-by shootings, and a body count measure (including number of cops killed).

Sex

Just a sample: houses of prostitution are part of your criminal empire and a sexually ravenous, androgynous character constantly propositions you.

Language

No restraint is shown here -- prepare for a flurry of F-bombs, a slew of S-words, and assorted variations on the word "ass."

Consumerism

Part of the GTA series.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Episode featuring homemade liquor pales in comparison to the drug content. Cocaine is central to the plot and characters are depicted snorting the drug.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that the content of this game is consistent with previous entries in the series -- brutal violence, smarmy sexuality, drug use, and bad language are all in full effect. Players will be involved in contract killings, gang wars, torture, and drive-by shootings, and are encouraged to kill people, and ethnic caricatures abound. Despite the game's amazing depth and detail, the developers have made another unabashedly adult game that revels in explicit content. It is only for mature players.

Wondering if Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories is OK for your kids?

Set preferences and get age-appropriate recommendations with Common Sense Media Plus. Join now

Continue reading Show less

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bydarthsitkur June 6, 2016
Adult Written byDforDavid April 17, 2015

Not as bad as the other titles

This title in the GTA series is unarguably the most tame, I don't know what everyone else is talking about! While the other games stick sex innuendos in yo... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old March 18, 2016

I honestly don't think that any of the age ratings are even that accurate

Seriously though it doesn't make sense why these games are rated 18, like cod. I know that the campaigns can be bad, but the average person just gets the g... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byLilithEdwardo July 1, 2010

It destroyed my brother

My big brother was a really good boy, until his 14th birthday because a friend of him bringed to him this game. He was addicted to it and now he is 17 now and h... Continue reading

What's it about?

GRAND THEFT AUTO: VICE CITY STORIES takes place prior to the events of its console predecessor, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City. Players control Vic Vance, brother of a leading character from the earlier game, who enlists in the military to provide his family with some financial stability. But when his corrupt commanding officer forces him to run drug errands, Vic is kicked out of the Army and pursues a life of crime to help his family. Along the way, Vic meets a wild array of characters who populate a dark world of drug dealing, extortion, prostitution, and robbery, to name a few pastimes.

Is it any good?

The second GTA for the Sony handheld delivers almost everything you'd expect from a console game -- comparable graphics, a sprawling game world, intuitive controls, memorable characters with top-notch voice acting, and a vast array of unlockable extras. The missions and Mini games are the perfect length for quick gaming sessions, extending the game's replay value almost to infinity. Ten multiplayer challenges give you ample opportunity to compete against your friends.

While building your empire is fun, fending off the steady onslaught of attackers becomes tiresome, distracting from the rest of the game. But as with other GTA entries, the shocking content is really what is on display here. Unless you're OK with dropping your kid into a seedy virtual backwater, the PSP's trip to Vice City is an adults-only affair.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the complex ethnic and racial world depicted. Does the revelation that white supremacist bikers are gay somehow mock their hateful ideology? Is the coarsely named "Cholo" gang a lazy use of a Latino stereotype or a reflection of street crime reality? Does the main character's noble motives somehow soften his antisocial acts? Why do you think the GTA series is so popular?

Game details

  • Platforms: PSP, PlayStation 2
  • Price: $49.99
  • Available online? Available online
  • Developer: Rockstar Games
  • Release date: October 30, 2006
  • Genre: Action/Adventure
  • ESRB rating: M for blood and gore, intense violence, strong language, strong sexual content, use of drugs
  • Last updated: November 19, 2019

Our editors recommend

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate