Even though some people consider GTA Vice City to be outdated, there are some aspects of the game that have survived the test of time.
GTA Vice City might have been released in 2002, but that doesn't mean that the game is entirely outdated for a 3D sandbox game. If anything, there are some timeless elements of GTA Vice City that are still wonderful to experience to this day. Sure, there are aspects of GTA Vice City that haven't aged that well (like graphics), but one could argue that most games fail in that department in some way.
The five aspects listed in this article aren't necessarily the only features of the game that can be considered "timeless." Moreover, these five aspects are chosen because they perfectly encapsulate GTA Vice City's heart and passion.
What are the 5 features of GTA Vice City that have survived the test of time?
#5 - Excellent locale
Even though Vice City isn't visually appealing (on the level of modern games anyway), the idea it was based on is simply amazing. A coastal city based on Miami will always work in video games, but sprinkling in an 80s motif helps make the game stand out even more.
There is a reason why fans are clamoring for GTA 6 to take place in Vice City. It might seem like a simple city at surface level, but its small size works in its favor. Players don't feel like there are large stretches of nothingness in Vice City, which helps make the city feel more alive compared to other similar games.
#4 - The storyline
While a large portion of GTA Vice City is inspired by Scarface, it's not a verbatim clone of the movie. The game was also inspired by other 80s movies and TV shows.
GTA Vice City's excellent cast elevates both the main and minor storylines. Tommy Vercetti is an interesting character, and players can understand his frustration with Sonny Forelli. However, they can also understand why Sonny did the things he did.
#3 - Quality of Life features (plus new series direction)
GTA Vice City introduced several quality of life features that would eventually end up as staples within the GTA series.
While it is true that Tommy cannot swim, it is possible for him to evade diving into a body of water by bailing out of the vehicle beforehand. It seems so rudimentary, but GTA Vice City introduced the concept of bailing out of moving vehicles to the GTA series.
Likewise, GTA Vice City also introduced changeable costumes (which later games would expand upon). Not only that, but Tommy Vercetti is also the first protagonist with a defined personality in the 3D era.
Of course, there are also other great features like Taxi Rides and purchasable safehouses.
#2 - Memorable characters
Good characterization can transcend normal gameplay boundaries. Likewise, terrible characterization can ruin a game for years to come. Fortunately, GTA Vice City includes several characters of the former category. Between smarmy characters like Ken Rosenberg and overly patriotic ones like Phil Cassidy, there's often a character of every archetype in GTA Vice City.
Some of them are flanderized into a single role, but this is done so in a skilled manner. Hence, even flat characters can play a memorable role in GTA Vice City. The characters themselves aren't necessarily complex, but their actions and a few lines of dialogue are often enough to set them apart from one another.
It's difficult to find a major character that is downright forgettable or even worse: bad.
#1 - Radio stations
If any single feature were to be looked at within a vacuum, it would be incredibly difficult to say that GTA Vice City's radio stations are objectively bad. Even if the humor isn't a player's cup of tea, the sound quality and transitions are downright excellent. The side characters are memorable, the DJs are often amusing, and the music selection is top-notch.
Since GTA Vice City takes place in 1986, the vast majority of the game's songs are from the 80s (up to 1986). These are real-life songs, so having them in GTA Vice City adds a lot of immersion to the overall gameplay experience.
It's not uncommon for players to go to YouTube to look up these iconic songs. For some players, GTA Vice City's soundtrack introduced them into a rabbit hole of new songs that they still vibe with to this day.
Note: This article reflects the writer’s personal views.