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Not so long ago a GTA knock off by the name of Gangstar: West Coast Hustle was created for the iPhone and all the GTA fans flocked to it like moths to a flame. Now a second one has been created with some upgraded fixes from the last one that provide you with first hand control of our favourite criminal. The sequel is named Gangstar: Miami Vindication.
In Miami Vindication, you are the character; Johnny Gainesville and you undertake a violent search for your brother who has been kidnapped; he is only 15 years old. You will make some unscrupulous friends, but each serves a purpose in getting you to where you want to be, such as Reginald the pimp, who hires you to be a bouncer in an escort service that he operates.
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Miami Vindication brings the true Vice City atmosphere to the iPhone with the very colorful language that is expected, along with the missions and the weapons. Your orders and missions will include gunning down cops and other people in the crime ring and sometimes simple things like meeting someone at a specific spot or stealing a specific car. Your weapons will include sniper rifles, rocket launchers, machine guns, flame throwers, baseball bats and more and the guns are easily accessible by pausing the game and selecting the menu.
There are exactly 75 missions to complete which provides hours of fulfilled gaming and the vehicles that you can steal are not limited in style. You can use cars, bikes, helicopters and even boats and your character can also swim!
Gangstar: Miami Vindication is completely voiced over and is deemed as an upgrade from most previous Gameloft creations, this may be due to the fact that the game was partly written by a writer from The Wire, the TV show. Overall the gameplay is what you would expect of a GTA type game and the missions and characters fit their roles.
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The controls for Miami Vindication are a lot better than the first Gangstar release and you are now able to use tilt and slide controls and these will come in handy depending on the particular vehicle that you are driving. For instance, when riding a motorbike, tilting the phone back and forth will usually result in a wheelie or a pop up stop, respectively. While this can be fun and entertaining, try not to get carried away and have an even more entertaining crash. The motorbikes and the helicopters require the use of the accelerometer, so they may be a little bit harder to control than the cars and boats. When you tilt the helicopter, it does not provide any tricky entertaining effect, it is actually a way to move the copter forwards and backwards.
The cars are relatively easy to control, which is a good thing considering how many of the missions require you to drive. The boats may sometimes come off as being choppy when in the water although they still drive ok.
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Graphics and Environment
This is where the Gangstar sequel falls down, the Miami Vindication graphics are fairly poor and the environments could have been better. There are constant environmental glitches and quite a few pop-ins. The vehicles themselves do not look that bad although their wheels are not entirely round, but you get the idea and they move like they should, so why complain? While the cars and such are ok, the people in the game do not make it at all, their faces lack expressions and their mouths do not move at all when they speak. As a matter of fact, they have no definitive fingers and when they speak, they simply move their stumpy hands around in gestures and move their heads a little. Often, things like this are overlooked as the gameplay is really what counts, but the game has a lot of dialogue sections, so these graphical imperfections become pretty noticeable.
Some scenery is present where you can see far away buildings and lands, but some of the close up items seems a bit too close as if depth perception is a bit off. There is one thing that has not really been upgraded from the original Gangstar and that is the fact that there are not many people to be found on the streets at any point in time; neither walking nor driving.
If you can try not to concentrate too much on the graphics and the barren streets, you could actually enjoy what the game does have to offer. Maybe it would have cost Gameloft too much money to make the graphics better and as such the cost of the game would be more; although they have released some better looking games since this one.
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Conclusion and Overall Rating
Ok, let’s highlight the negatives first and get them out of the way. The main issue is the eyesore graphics and sparse population. Once you can get past that, you are left with a really good game. Think Vice City, where you can steal cars, motorcycles, choppers, boats and anything you can get your hands on. It’s a 3D experience that allows you to be as badass as you want to be with the many weapons and vehicle selections. There are many missions so that you do not get bored, and you can feel free to just ride/drive around and cause mayhem as you see fit. Download Gangstar Miami Vindication from the iPhone app store for only $6.99.