Release Date: October, 2005 (Initial)
Rating: M (Blood and Gore, Intense Violence, Strong Language, Strong Sexual Content, Use of Drugs)
1998 was the year when the criminal underworld of Liberty City would be changed forever thanks to the return of the prodigal son, Toni Cipriani. It was a defining moment in the 3D-era story arch, and gamers could now return to the city that introduced them to a life of crime with Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories for the iPhone.
Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories is no stranger to mobile gamers as the original was released back in 2005 for the PlayStation Portable. Yet its arrival adds verity to a platform dominated by unique puzzle games, arcade ports, and freemuims that are an embarrassment to gaming. While casual gamers are consistently blowing their money to progress in some freemuim title, more dedicated and experienced gamers could enjoy this overlooked classic any time they want.
The story is set before the events of Grand Theft Auto III as the Leone Family are fighting both the Sindacco and Forelli’s for control of the city. Everything changes when Toni Cipriani returns from exile to once again serve Salvatore Leone. However it’s not the welcome he anticipated as he must once again start from the bottom and work his way up. Not helping his cause is the Leone Family being threatened by internal conflicts while Toni must also struggle to earn the respect of his mother.
It’s the classic crime story that fans love with The Sopranos and the works of Martin Scorsese being an obvious inspiration. At the same time it feels like a retelling of Grand Theft Auto III only with real character development as players witness the transformation of Cipriani as he grows to become one of the most notable leaders in the Leone Family.
For gamers who grew up playing the Grand Theft Auto series on the PlayStation 2, Liberty City Stories will feel like a crime spree down memory lane. Old school gamers will feel right at home as they return to the original Liberty City and interact with the characters they fell in love with back in 2001.
In regards to its gamplay mechanisms, it has the classic setup used in GTAIII along with features that were introduced in Vice City. Unique to the iPhone version is an auto-save feature that makes it more convenient for players to pick up where they left off. Add the sharper graphics that neither the PSP nor PS2 version had, and it makes the iPhone version superior overall.
However it’s far from perfect as it, too, has a few minor flaws with the most obvious being that the controls are a slightly difficult to use. Unfortunately this has been a problem that has plagued every version of Grand Theft Auto for the iPhone, hence most gamers will most likely be used to it by now. Another issue is that Michael Madsen did not return for the role of Toni Cipriani, but this is something that can be easily overlooked if one feels that Danny Mastrogiorgio did an excellent job.
Despite its minor flaws, this is a good game to have for gamers who either have been looking for a good game for their iPhone, or need to kill time on their commute because they are not dumb enough to find Candy Crush challenging.
Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories is not only a nostalgic crime spree but the games return to the mobile platform. Gamers who miss the good old days of the Sixth Generation console era will enjoy the return to Liberty City in the role of a familiar character.
Words by Stan Rezaee