A lot or a little?
Parents' guide to what's in this game.
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.
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?
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