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Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories Review

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A multiplayer slice of deeply twisted goodness

★★★★★

Normally, any game plagued by a clumsy camera and frustrating gunplay would struggle to scrape a couple of stars, never mind be hailed as one of the year’s most remarkable releases. But – as with its classic predecessors – the latest GTA is no ordinary game, Liberty City Stories instead doing things with a portable console that really shouldn’t be possible.

Whereas most familiar titles shoehorned onto a handheld are either cut to shreds or presented in a completely different way to their console cousins, LCS offers gamers all the depth and complexity they’ve come to expect from
Rockstar’s slick series, including vast cities to explore, stylish 3D graphics and a licensed soundtrack that brings the savage digital world to life.

Based in Liberty City – the three-island environment from GTA III – LCS also boasts the sharp storytelling and character development that sets the franchise apart from its rivals, along with an eclectic selection of
missions that keeps the action fresh from beginning to end, whether it be hijacking limousines, slaughtering contract killers or helping crooked politicians win an election.

Sure, the stripped-down PSP controls make it tough to position the camera in a firefight, and it’s hard to pick off rivals as the targeting system is unwieldy and cruelly flawed. But with a wireless multiplayer mode where you can challenge your mates to a shootout in GTA’s sublime urban sprawl, LCS is one of 2005’s most stunning games and another jewel in the PSP’s crown.

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