Gangstar Vegas, Gameloft’s latest iteration in their Grand Theft Auto-inspired series, is now available from the app store. Featuring a solid physics engine, flashy graphics, and an even larger open-world sandbox than they’ve offered before, Gangstar Vegas certainly looks the part though despite some control quirks.
Gangstar Vegas Pros:
- Impressive graphics, immersive lighting, and smooth animations
- Terrific soundtrack and improved voice acting
- Familiar controls, tap-to-aim takes the frustration out of targeting
- Plenty of main missions, side missions, and fun to be had at all corners of the huge map
- Nice variety of weapons and vehicles to use; tons of upgradeable elements
Gangstar Vegas Cons:
- Occasional slowdown or graphical glitches
- Controls are cumbersome
When protagonist Jason fails to take a dive in an MMA bout due to an accidental knockout of his opponent, he flees from a corrupt kingpin and must rely on a new set of friends to stay alive while eliminating the threat to his well-being. There are 80 missions for you to complete, imploring you to commit all manner of criminal activity to satisfy a cast of unscrupulous characters. Of course, you could always forgo these objectives and simply cruise around the city making your own fun by stealing cars, killing pedestrians, and any number of other deviant behaviors. Gameloft boasts that the Vegas map is nine times larger than previous Gangstar maps, so you should have no shortage of places to go and things to do. Known for its wealth of weapons and vehicles, Gangstar provides plenty of fun toys to play with, like Molotov cocktails, flamethrowers, and the like. You can tear through the streets in souped-up cars, zippy motorcycles, and even take to the sky in aerial missions. There are tons of objects to collect, real estate to purchase (while providing a steady source of income), and jumps to send you careening through the air. Side missions abound, giving you the option to engage in illegal street races, bank hold-ups, and even carnage missions that task you with wanton destruction. Your activities will earn you money while filling your experience meter. When full, you level up and earn skill points that allow you to upgrade nearly every aspect of your character, from his ability to run farther before tiring to his skill with each and every weapon and vehicle type. It provides a great sense of progression, enticing you to keep causing mayhem while Jason becomes more adept at fitting into the seedy underbelly of the city.
Graphically, Gangstar’s visuals are top-notch, coming closer and closer to matching the level of polish seen on the console versions of the titles from which they derive their inspiration. Lighting effects and shadows help to give the city a realistic look and feel, and the animations are pretty smooth and immersive. An small map in the upper left corner orients you to your whereabouts in the city, as well as point out locations of interest and mission locations. It even conveniently lays down a line to follow when engaged in a mission, taking the guess work out of how to find where you are going. Ringed around the map are bars for health, armor, and experience. One of our favorite new features is the ability to jump straight to a mission via the in-game map rather than have to drive to the location, which saves a ton of time and limits the wear and tear on your vehicle. A few glitches and slowdowns aside, we were quite impressed with the presentation. The soundtrack employs a ton of great music tracks, and the voice acting has improved considerably from past versions. The controls utilize a joypad for movements and buttons for accelerating/braking your vehicle, stealing cars, attacking, and the like. There is also a tilt-to-steer option for driving if you prefer. Gone is the manual aiming of weapons. Instead, you can tap enemies or vehicles to target them, making gunfights a bit easier. You can even crouch and take cover during firefights, which is a good deal of fun. Swap guns in the upper right corner as needed. It’s all pretty straight forward and familiar. Unfortunately, the controls can be quite cumbersome, sending Jason in a serpentine pattern when you are simply trying to run straight. Sprinting brings the added bonus of allowing Jason to jump over objects, though it’s not so handy when on staircases and rooftops, as he tends to leap off and over barriers without a thought to his own safety. Even the camera controls are skittish and can’t seem to handle manual commands all that well. We expected a better experience given how solid the other aspects of the game were.
Replay value is outstanding as usual, given that you can do just about anything you want and have a blast doing it. Mission difficulty varies, so you shouldn’t get discouraged or bored due to the game being too tough or too easy. It seems to strike a pretty good balance to make it accessible for all players. The drive to upgrade player stats is also a factor in motivating gamers to keep playing, and there are even some casino games to try your hand at. This is Vegas, after all. A universal app for $6.99, Gangstar Vegas is a competent 3.5-Dimple release.
Gangstar Vegas Review,