There are a few things that Vice City Stories executes better than GTA Vice City. However, that's not to say the latter is a bad game.
GTA Vice City is a great game, but Vice City Stories is a criminally underrated title that deserves more praise. For some fans, Vice City Stories could even be considered the most underrated GTA game of all time.
As Vice City Stories was released after GTA Vice City, it inevitably fixed a lot of the issues of the latter game.
As some of the reasons listed here are gameplay-related, this listicle is more opinionated compared to others of a similar nature.
What are the things that Vice City Stories does better than GTA Vice City?
#5 - Victor can swim
One of the strangest issues that players had with GTA Vice City was that Tommy Vercetti couldn't swim. Unlike Liberty City, Vice City is a beautiful coastal town where it doesn't make sense for the characters to not be able to swim. Tommy Vercetti might have been imprisoned for a number of years, but it's still bizarre that he lacks any knowledge of swimming.
In Vice City Stories, Victor Vance can swim. It isn't the most useful feature given the context of the game, but it allows players to immerse themselves in the world of Vice City.
#4 - More original story
Vice City Stories still derives some inspiration from various 80s media, but not to the level of GTA Vice City. The latter game still has an original story for all intents and purposes, but one could argue that it borrows a lot of ideas from other mediums.
By comparison, Vice City Stories is uniquely its own and has a different approach to storytelling. For some players, Vice City Stories has a more interesting story compared to GTA Vice City, but that's purely a matter of subjective taste. The only objective thing is that Vice City Stories' plot has fewer parallels to popular 80s media.
#3 - Less clunky controls
One of the most obvious differences between GTA Vice City and Vice City Stories is felt when actually playing the game. GTA Vice City is playable, but Vice City Stories incorporates a smoother gaming experience thanks to its updated control scheme.
Victor Vance also has more cool combative techniques than Tommy Vercetti, which can help diversify melee combat. This, in conjunction with Vice City Stories' superior control scheme, makes general gameplay feel more exciting.
#2 - Better graphics
This comparison mostly applies to the PS2 versions of both games. As Vice City Stories isn't officially on PC and GTA Vice City is, it means that the latter could easily be modded to be superior to the former. However, as both games are present on the PS2, it's easier to compare their graphics.
Vice City Stories looks better on the PS2. The characters look less blocky, and the overall textures are improved over the older GTA title. If Vice City Stories was on PC, then it would likely be the better game, graphically speaking.
#1 - More side activities
Vice City Stories has more side activities for players to mess around with. While there is a debate regarding the quality of the two games' missions, it's hard to argue that Vice City Stories does more for side activities that aren't related to missions.
In GTA Vice City, players can't do many activities that aren't mission-related. They can perform robberies, go to a strip club, and find collectibles, and that's practically it.
In Vice City Stories, Victor can find collectibles, but he can also own properties unrelated to missions. Hence, they seem more like a side activity compared to GTA Vice City's assets, which need to be finished 100% for the final mission.
That's not even mentioning golf or going on the Chunder Wheel. They might be primitive compared to modern GTA features, but they're still pretty neat in their own right.
Note: This article reflects the writer’s personal views.