The future is pretty great. We’ve got game systems that we can control with voice commands and gestures – the system with the magic remote that followed your movements is SO last generation. We’ve got awesome-looking curved television sets. Perhaps most importantly, we’ve got phones and tablets (basically giant phones, who’d have thunk it?) with some serious processing beef behind them. With these newly powerful phones readily available, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that older titles like Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories are being released for mobile platforms.
Some history: Liberty City Stories was originally released for the PSP in 2005 and was subsequently ported to the PlayStation 2. This is, simply put, the PSP game ported to mobile devices with a minor touch-up here and there. It’s slightly prettier, but don’t expect miracles. We could spend a page or two waxing poetic about how we now have the power of the PSP on our phones. Instead, let’s focus on the game.
The plot is unchanged: you’re Toni Cipriani, a two-bit mobster who does two-bit mobster things. There are plenty of betrayals from all sides, and problems are generally solved with firearms and high-speed automobile collisions. This is a GTA “side story,” so the majority of the plot-significant action remains with Claude Speed in GTA3 proper, but keep in mind that GTA4 and GTA5 are part of a different canon and…er…why am I discussing plot in a game like this? Hit the bad men with your car and shoot them with your guns.
If you aren’t familiar with the game, Liberty City Stories is basically GTA 3.5. That means no swimming (water kills you dead) and no fancy customization. You can change clothes and that’s about it. GTA is one of those series that’s steadily improved with each iteration, so Liberty City Stories feels pretty primitive in comparison to something like GTA 5 or even San Andreas. In particular, that swimming thing led to my death time and time again; it’s tough to lose such an integral feature after you’ve gotten used to it!
Unless you’ve got a controller (the SteelSeries Nimbus works nicely) then you’re playing with touchscreen controls. As you might expect, playing this on a touchscreen isn’t really the ideal way of experiencing this game. It works, but don’t expect any significant degree of precision. With a controller set up, however, this is the definitive version of this game. Those graphical improvements I mentioned, while minor, set LCS on iOS apart from the original PSP and PS2 releases.
It’s a shame that Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories has to compete with the vastly superior San Andreas, really. Back in the day, if you wanted GTA on the go, this was one of your few options. Now you can easily boot up San Andreas and play to your heart’s content, to say nothing about GTA4 or GTA5 on a gaming-capable laptop. Still, if you’re a GTA addict and need a quick fix, this is one of the lesser-known titles in the series and is probably worth checking out.