GTA Vice City might be one of the oldest games in the series, but its charm and gameplay still hold up well today.
It's the second mainline game that most GTA fans remember. It came after GTA 3's success, and it continued to pave the way for future GTA games. Naturally, this meant that GTA Vice City introduced several features that would still be seen in later games in the series.
However, it's interesting to see what GTA Vice City does that's still largely unique to it. Given the connection between the two games, it will share some unique characteristics with Vice City Stories, but it's worth noting that these attributes are largely absent from the other dozen or so games in the series.
GTA Vice City stands out from the other games in the series
5) GTA Vice City features a completely different set of gangs
No other GTA game features Haitians as a gang in the series. Of course, that's partly because of the controversy associated with their inclusion in GTA Vice City, but it's still unique to that game.
Cubans also seldom show up in the GTA series, as they're largely relegated to just GTA Vice City and Vice City Stories. Naturally, the Vercetti gang also doesn't show up in any other GTA game for obvious reasons.
4) Only GTA game with a cheat code to play as a named character
Other GTA games have a cheat code that allows the player to play as a generic pedestrian, but GTA Vice City goes above and beyond. Players can enter a cheat code in this game to play Candy Suxxx, Lance Vance, Ricardo Diaz, and a few other named characters.
Of course, GTA Vice City still has a Play as a Pedestrian cheat code. However, the ability to use the model of other important characters sets GTA Vice City apart from other games in the series (and without mods too).
Funnily enough, they still keep Tommy's voice.
3) A tritagonist became an antagonist
Surprisingly, most GTA games don't have the tritagonist (the third most important character) become an antagonist. GTA Vice City is the only exception where Lance Vance betrays Tommy Vercetti and aligns with Sonny Forelli.
It's an interesting dynamic, and it's part of the reason why GTA Vice City's story is so memorable. It's a fresh spin on the usual narrative, especially since Lance Vance was so friendly to Tommy throughout most of GTA Vice City.
2) It represents the 80s well
There is only one other GTA game in the 80s, and that's GTA Vice City's prequel, Vice City Stories. However, GTA Vice City was the first GTA game to take place in the 80s, and it's easily more famous than its prequel in this regard.
Naturally, this means fashion trends and music are unlike anything else from the rest of the series. Gamers who love 80s nostalgia will likely love GTA Vice City, especially since its references toward that time period are pretty spot on.
1) Vibrant colors
On a related note, GTA Vice City is a bright and vibrant game. It shares this quality with Vice City Stories yet again, but it's a noticeable departure from the rest of the series, anyway. This game doesn't have the best graphics, but its art direction is good enough to mask some of its weaknesses in that department.
Compare that to a game like GTA 3 or 4. Those games are much darker and more depressing to look at.