GTA in the palm of your hand. Doesn't that seem impossible? Technically, it's been done before, with efforts like GBC Grand Theft Auto 2, and GBA Grand Theft Auto Advance. But never has there been a fully fledged Grand Theft Auto title on a handheld system. The PSP truly is an amazing machine to be able to fully handle this game.
Liberty City Stories takes place, obviously, in Liberty City, the same place as in GTA 3. The setting is absolutely perfect for a handheld version of GTA because it's not so big you get lost in it, making it great for pick-up-and-play sessions, nor is it so small it gets boring. It's just the perfect setting. Some people say it's a cop-out that they didn't make a new city, but why should they when they have such a great one that's perfect for portable gaming on their hands? The use of Liberty City also allows great use for returning characters. I love the fact that you play as Tony Cipriani (who GTA 3 vets will remember).
As always, Rockstar has created a wonderfully colorful cast of characters with a great script and top-notch voice acting to go along with them. You really sympathize with Tony over the course of the game (though perhaps not with all his actions), and you really see him mature, especially at the end. Also, the humor and satire present in all GTA games is present here as well. It has my favorite GTA talk show hosts ever, frankly. Lazlow returns with his most dynamic script yet, and a handful of other new radio personalities appear as well, such as two computer nerds, an environment-loving hippie, a sexist, drug addicted rock star, a violent French chef, and my personal favorite: Nurse Bob, a spot on spoof of Dr. Phil.
The graphics are absolutely fantastic. It looks better than any of the PS2 releases; I would call it about on par with the XBOX version of San Andreas. Everything is top notch PS2 quality, except for perhaps the water.
But how does full a full on GTA control scheme translate to a handheld? Perfectly. Everything plays like a dream. The targeting system is still questionable at times, but it is undoubtedly the best one in the series thus far.
Even if you aren't a fan of the genre, you must pick this up if you own a PSP. You absolutely need to. I think the only game equal to this in quality on the PSP so far is Syphon Filter: Dark Mirror (Logan's Shadow wasn't as good, nor was Vice City Stories), and even then it's a toss-up. This game will blow your mind.