I've been playing LC Stories a lot lately, on account of it being one of the few worth while PSP games on the market. Its a pretty snazzy little title for a handheld, but in this post San Andreas era, I feel a bit let down.
Liberty City Stories is basically Vice City Lite. The improvements over GTA3 are those which were seen in Vice City (graphics, motorcycles, multiple weapon sets, asset completion) but even then are less fleshed out.
In the case of assets, there aren't specialized missions as was the case in most of the Vice City asset missions. You basically just do quick errand missions more in the vein of taxi missions. There are some snazzy little side missions here and there, but nothing new to say the least.
When I say they skimmed off the top of Vice City, I mean it. While there are helicopters that look like you should be able to pilot them, you never will. They'll only ever be pilotd by NPC's, usually carrying a group of jerks to gun you down. I looked in to the missing aspect of flight and found that Rockstar couldn't figure a way to render the city from flying altitudes, so they left it out. I'm taking that as a half assed excuse.
Did you enjoy swimming, customizing cars and wooing the ladies in San Andreas? I admit, I did, which only added to my disappointment when I found that all of these features were left out of Liberty City Stories.
The game is even lacking the classic GTA pollish when it comes down to production values. The graphics are superior to Vice City and GTA3 in most aspects, save water, but the voice acting isn't as grand as it was in the past games. Liberty City Stories doesn't boast a cavalcade of stars lending their pipes to the characters. Rockstar Leeds didn't even get MIchael Madsen, the original voice of Toni Cipriani, to do voice work for this game in which Toni's the star.
At the end of the day, its a fun game, and possibly even an exceptional handheld game, but that's just what it feels like. When you look at the other spin offs and ports that go to handhelds, they always feel a little forced and out of place, and Liberty City Stories tends to follow suit. I would have expected more from the company that's sold so many games in this series and is currently releasing gems like The Warriors, but I guess they're just a little to busy for their smaller scale game.