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Miami Vice: The Game PSP

Published by Vivendi Universal Games
Developed by Rebellion
Release Date: Out Now
Price: £29.99

Miami Vice: The Game, an introduction.

Miami Vice was a hit TV show back in the 1980's that millions of viewers tuned in to watch every week. I have to say though that I wasn't one of them. For a variety of reasons the TV show just didn't appeal to me although in truth many of my friends watched the show. I haven't even seen the movie, which Miami Vice: The Game is based on, and I daresay I am not the person to comment on whether the game manages to fully capture the look and feel of the movie. In fact I've looked at Miami Vice: The Game purely on its gaming merits and surprisingly, for someone who wouldn't watch the movie or the TV show,  I've actually enjoyed it.

What's the game about?

Miami Vice: The Game is a third person shooter that puts you in the shoes of Tubbs or Crockett , two undercover narcotics officers. The game is set just before the events of the movie with the ultimate goal being to bring down the organisation of a South American drug lord. As well as having an enjoyable single-player game there's also a multiplayer co-operative mode that can be played using the Ad Hoc wireless connection method. Here you'll get to play the same missions you'll find in the single-player game and it actually works very nicely.

What's good about the game?

Even to someone who never enjoyed the TV show, or as someone who hasn't seen the movie, Miami Vice: The Game still manages to be an enjoyable third person shooter. As you all know games based on movies are usually mediocre at best but Miami Vice: The Game is a game that rises above this usual mediocrity  and is well worth a look to fans of third person shooters. Like most shooters these days, you'll have to use a little stealth and make a good use of cover if you're going to complete your missions. Tapping the circle button will allow your chosen character to crouch (making them less visible and audible) and in specific places you can take cover using the L button and you can reach out and fire from these covered positions. Objects such as small statues can be pushed over to give you additional cover locations and when you've dealt with the immediate threat you can then vault such obstacles to continue on your way. In order to add variation to the game there are some boat chases and in between missions you get to visit the Police Station to hack any FlashRam you've found during the previous mission, via a mini-game, which usually leads to weapon upgrades or details on the location of a drug baron's whereabouts. You can also visit a tailor to change your clothes. Some clothes improve your reputation whilst others have armour to prevent you from taking as much damage in the next mission. You can also visit drug dealers to trade for drugs (drugs are needed to pay off your informant who can provide you with some rather useful information) and arms dealers to purchase weapons. Each place you visit takes up a day and you have a fixed amount of days before you embark on your next mission. Some may regard the use of a checkpoint save system as a problem but the checkpoints are sensibly placed thus preventing too much backtracking.

What's not so good about the game?

Perhaps the most disappointing aspect of Miami Vice: The Game is its brevity. The game only requires between 5-7 hours of your time to complete and seeing that the game is a completely linear affair there's no reason to play through the game again (unless you want to attempt a more challenging difficulty level). The enemy AI could have been smarter too. Sure you'll see your enemies run for cover, which is pleasing, but they will leave the relative safety of their cover to run out in the open where you can take them out with relative ease. None of the game's three difficulty levels should pose much of a problem to most gamers. The game could also be accused of being very repetitive and it's fair to say quite a few of the missions do feel very familiar which is a little disappointing. You may also be disappointed to learn that a multiplayer game will require each player to have a copy of the game, which is going to mean fewer gamers are going to have a chance to experience this rather enjoyable mode.

How does it look?

Miami Vice: The Game is actually pretty impressive when it comes to how it's presented and is certainly on a par with most PlayStation 2 shooters when it comes to the quality of the visuals. The character models look good and the various environments you'll find yourself in during the game also look good. Some animations are rather suspect, particularly the ones you'll see when you've shot your enemy. The frame rate does dip on the odd occasion but for the most part it's more than acceptable. Holding down the R button allows a Resident Evil 4 style over the shoulder view that makes aiming at your enemies much easier than it would otherwise be. It's also good to see that the load times are nowhere near the painful extremes we have experienced on quite a few PSP titles.

How deaf gamer friendly is the game?

It's great to see that Miami Vice: The Game is subtitled, however, not  all of the speech in the game is shown in text. All cutscene dialogue is subtitled with the subtitles appearing at the bottom of the screen. The subtitles are in white text and are placed on a darkened overlay. The subtitles don't have any character portraits or names next to the speech to show who is saying what but for the most part this won't cause any problems. All tutorial messages are shown in text and introduce you to all of the game's controls quite nicely. The comments that your enemies give out when you encounter them are not subtitled but whilst this is a little disappointing, it's not exactly a major problem because for most of the time during the game you simply follow a set course and your enemies are usually visible around the same time that they are audible. Mission objectives and a map of the area can be accessed at any time by pressing the select button and these objectives are in text. You're notified in text when an objective has been completed and when a checkpoint has been reached.

Final thoughts.

It's quite difficult to think of a better third person shooter/action game than Miami Vice: The Game on the PSP at the moment. Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Essentials was a disappointment and with Metal Gear: Acid being a turn-based strategy card game it means that there hasn't been an enjoyable third person shooter/action game to enjoy on the PSP until now. Miami Vice: The Game has a few disappointing aspects such as its brevity and its linearity but on the whole it's an enjoyable game and one that fans of the third person shooter/action games will certainly enjoy. If you happen to be a fan of Miami Vice too, then you'll definitely be sold on the game.

Overall Game Rating: 7.2/10

Deaf Gamers Classification:

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Miami Vice: The Game is an enjoyable third person shooter. It has its problems such as its brevity and a suicidal AI (at times) but on the whole it's enjoyable.