iOS games have always been easy to download and play. They don’t cost a lot, and they are wild and crazy games that are small and simple to get—and you end up looking like you paid more for them than you actually did.
Unless, of course, it’s from a company called Gameloft.
The one we’re reviewing is called Gangstar Vegas, and it’s big and mean and not meant for the kiddies;
Gameloft comes up with intricate, complex mobile games that take forever to download, mainly because they’re measured in gigabytes, not megabytes. Their Android and iOS games are complicated things that are worthy of being on game consoles, not on itty-bitty mobile devices like your tablet or smartphone. The problem inherent in these kind of games is that they’re not for those with gadgets with low storage, else you’ll run out of space quickly.
The Grand Theft Auto-inpired Gangstar Vegas takes up 2.6GB, and if your device has just 16GB of space, that’s going to be a tight squeeze. For an iOS game, that’s massive. But for the wondrous graphics and gameplay, these games are worth it.
This game virtually recreates the city of Las Vegas, creating a big open sandbox that is much larger than previous Gangstar titles. It departs from aping Rockstar Games’s titles by using the Havok graphics engine, which is entirely different, and creates a nice, detailed recreation of Sin City. You drive and move around the area and its surroundings, taking in the sites and the people, taking in their cash, and generally causing mayhem.
It tells the story of Jason Malone, our hero, who fails to take the fall in an MMA prizefight, incurring the wrath of the mobster boss and being forced to rely on several new “friends” in order to just stay alive. There are dozens of missions for you to accomplish, most requiring you to do unsavory criminal acts in order to survive and satisfy equally unsavory criminal characters. There’s plenty to do, plenty to collect, and plenty to accomplish.
There is a joystick on the left side of the screen, and you are quickly taught to move around, punch and kick, shoot, and do things like steal cars. You can travel Vegas and the surrounding desert on foot or any number of vehicles, including cars, motorbikes, planes, copters and boats. The controls are a bit unwieldy, and you generally move around like a drunkard, but it’s manageable. The shooting is easy in the game; all you need do is point-and-touch in the direction you want to shoot and the game takes care of aiming for you.
There are occasional glitches as far as the graphics are concerned, and occasional slowdowns as well. People, cars, and objects sometimes just appear in front of you, and you’re likely to drive into something that wasn’t there a moment ago.But if you can get over these problems, the game is engrossing.
You go on jaunts where you rob banks, fight in the MMA, go on illegal street races, and even go on missions where the whole point is just to create havoc and destruction. Slowly you earn money and points and level up in the game, with a gradual increase in the number of people after you (mostly cops and SWAT—towards the end you’ll have armies of them after you). You slowly earn skill points where you can upgrade almost every aspect of your character. If you die, you will just revive and be out some bucks for hospital bills.
If you like, you can forgo all the missions and just go around killing people, stealing cars or any number of criminal behavior, and it will be as much fun. It’s up to you.
The voice acting is decent for the most part, although there are some lapses into cliches and general ridiculousness. The language is strong and on the R-rated side, as is the violence, which is sometimes (often, actually) gratuitous. The writing is what sets this game apart from the others, and over time you start to care for Jason and his friends. That, and the impressive graphics and animation of the game.
If you’re a GTA fan who doesn’t mind the occasional graphical quirk or bump and can forgive sometimes patchy controls, get Gameloft‘s Gangstar Vegas for your iPad or iPhone, available on the Apple App Store for US$6.99.
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