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5 reasons why Vice City Stories is underrated when compared to GTA Vice City

Both Vice City games are a blast to play through (Image via Rockstar Games)
Both Vice City games are a blast to play through (Image via Rockstar Games)
Alan Sahbegovic
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Although GTA Vice City Stories is an improvement in several aspects when compared to GTA Vice City, it's unquestionably the less-remembered game.

The former is technically a prequel to the latter game when it comes to chronological events. However, Vice City Stories (often abbreviated to VCS) came out after GTA Vice City (sometimes abbreviated to as just VC).

Ideally, a game that releases later in a series outclasses its predecessors. While there are several areas where VCS shines over VC, it is easily the more-forgotten game when it comes to the test of time.


Five reasons why Vice City Stories feels underrated when compared to GTA Vice City's legacy

1) GTA VC was a mainline game, but GTA VCS was not

VCS was a fun side-story game (Image via Rockstar Games)
VCS was a fun side-story game (Image via Rockstar Games)

The mainline games in the series are:

  • GTA 1
  • GTA 2
  • GTA III
  • GTA Vice City
  • GTA San Andreas
  • GTA 4
  • GTA 5
  • GTA Online

Since GTA III revolutionized 3D open-world games, the mainline games have always stood out compared to the secondary titles like VCS. It doesn't necessarily mean that the mainline games are always better, but it does help ensure that they're more recognizable to gamers.


2) Accessibility

VCS was on the PSP, which was the only advantage it had over VC (Image via Amazon)
VCS was on the PSP, which was the only advantage it had over VC (Image via Amazon)

One way to ensure a game has more recognition than another is through accessibility. VC is available on:

  • Android
  • iOS
  • Fire OS
  • Mac OS X
  • PS2
  • Windows
  • Xbox

By comparison, VCS is only available on the:

  • PSP
  • PS2

That doesn't even mention the GTA Trilogy introducing new people into the world of GTA Vice City. Naturally, gamers need to play the game to rate it properly. In the case of Vice City Stories,' it's underrated by virtue of being underplayed.


3) GTA Vice City felt more revolutionary when it came out

It had an average Metacritic critic score of 95/100 (Image via Rockstar Games)
It had an average Metacritic critic score of 95/100 (Image via Rockstar Games)

A few years apart can do a lot to influence a game's perception. Even though VCS has objectively more content than GTA Vice City, it did less to revolutionize the series with respect to its release date.

VC came out in 2002, whereas VCS was initially released in 2006. Technological advances occurred in those four years and, unfortunately, VCS didn't do much to be regarded as revolutionary.


4) GTA Vice City has better reviews and sales than Vice City Stories

Both games take place in a near-identical setting (Image via Betaz)
Both games take place in a near-identical setting (Image via Betaz)

A video game having better reviews and sales than another often makes the lesser game feel underrated by comparison. In this case, VC far outperformed VCSs:

  • PS2 Metacritic Critic Ratings: 95 vs. 75
  • Lifetime Sales: 17.5M sales by March 2008 vs. 6M by March 2008

Both the reviews and the lifetime sales are related to the previous entries on this listicle. The amount and quality of reviews and sales that a game garners, is usually directly related to its accessibility. On all these major counts, VCS fell to the wayside.


5) Vice City Stories was sandwiched between San Andreas and IV

VCS could never compete with these two games, one of which ended up completely overshadowing VC (Image via hossein.diba/Instagram)
VCS could never compete with these two games, one of which ended up completely overshadowing VC (Image via hossein.diba/Instagram)

All things considered, GTA Vice City did an excellent job surpassing GTA III as far as sequels go. The same cannot be said about Vice City Stories, which came out after GTA San Andreas. That game overshadowed its predecessors through its memorable gameplay and numerous controversies, making it hard to compare most Grand Theft Auto games to it.

Several features from GTA San Andreas were absent in later titles, which especially hurt Vice City Stories' perception among casual gamers. It didn't help that GTA 4 came out shortly afterward, eclipsing VCS in the public light.


Note: This article reflects the writer's personal views.


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Q. Which Vice City game do you prefer?

GTA Vice City

GTA Vice City Stories

Edited by Abu Amjad Khan
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