Gangstar Vegas is a thrill-a-minute action game set on the mean streets of Sin City. It's the fourth in Gameloft's series of GTA-style open world games and the biggest of the lot so far.
Thrills and spills in Sin City
In Gangstar Vegas you star as a prize fighter who upsets a mob boss and must run for his life, before seeking to get his own back. It's an age-old tale and there's little originality in the way the story played out in Gangstar Vegas. The main character's personality feels a bit wooden and the script is pretty clichéd (some of the characters that appear are good fun, though). However, that doesn't mean that Gangstar Vegas isn't fun to play - quite the opposite, in fact.
The game world in Gangstar Vegas is immense - incredibly it's nine times bigger than the previous game, Gangstar Rio. There are 80 different missions to complete in total, and they vary considerably in terms of gameplay, from prize fights to chasing bad guys on foot, to participating in street races. There are many challenges in Gangstar Vegas in which you can compete against others in online leaderboards.
The Quick Play mode in Gangstar Vegas allows you to part in one-off challenges, such as heists, brawls, survival and time attacks. It's great to be able to dive straight in and play in this way, especially if you've been away from the game for a long time and want to brush up on your skills before heading back into the main story.
The setting of Vegas makes for lots of fun, whether it's chasing bad guys down the strip at high speeds, or playing blackjacks in the casinos to earn more cash. As you play, you'll realize just how much there is to explore in Gangstar Vegas and the level of detail in the game world is impressive.
There are plenty of weapons to collect and upgrade in Gangstar Vegas, including guns, grenades, molotovs, flamethrowers, and baseball bats. The shop also allows you to change your look with new clothes, hair cuts, or even a chipmunk mask! Of course, you can buy vehicles as well, and the selection is very varied, covering everything from mopeds and trials bikes to monster trucks and tanks.
Taking to the streets
The controls in Gangstar Vegas are much the same as previous versions of the game. You walk around using an on-screen directional pad and there are action buttons for running, shooting, and interacting with objects.
The driving controls can be set up according to what you find easier, allowing you to choose between tilt, arrows or stick-based steering. What's great is that you can define different control systems for cars and bikes, so you could use arrow-based steering for cars and tilt-based for motorcycles if you like.
There's the ubiquitous city map, which shows you where missions are and displays various points of interest. Generally you can skip straight to a mission in Gangstar Vegas without having to drive to the start point, which is handy. A mini map in the corner of the screen shows your current position.
The graphics in Gangstar Vegas are very good, and rival those of the mobile versions of GTA III or Vice City. The city of Las Vegas is brought to life with an incredible level of detail and it really drags you into the story.
Animation is great too and the accurate ragdoll effects make performing stunts a real treat. There are the occasional graphical glitches as with most huge games like this, but not enough to detract from the overall experience. The characters look good, although the voice acting is poor in places.
Be warned that bad language and adult themes litter the dialog, so Gangstar Vegas is certainly not suitable for children, and is classified accordingly. Just like GTA, Gangstar Vegas features in-car radio, and the range of stations seems very heavily influenced by the Rockstar game series. There's some quality tunes licensed though, with something to suit everyone.
Gangstar Vegas borrows so much from Grand Theft Auto that you'll forget it's a totally different game series. Of course, this is no bad thing and Gangstar Vegas is so big and deep that you'll struggle to find a better sandbox action for mobile - GTA included.