Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories
Liberty City Stories tells the tale of one Toni Cipriani, a regular-type mob guy who did a good deed for the head of the Leone crime family, Salvatore Leone. Toni had to go away for awhile, but the heat's died down, and he's back on the job in Liberty City, maintaining his loyalty to Sal while wiping out the family's enemies in droves along the way. As you ascend to become Salvatore's right-hand man, you'll start and finish gang wars with other mafia types, a few triads, the yakuza...pretty much all of the usual suspects are present.
If you're familiar with the various mafia presences over the course of the past three GTA games, you'll recognize a few of the names and faces here. But the story stands alone and doesn't require you to remember the various cast members. That's a good thing, because the mafia characters in the other GTA games have been largely forgettable. The game's storyline really isn't up to par with the console installments in the series, because very little actually happens. Even potential plot points are squandered, like when Toni finally becomes a made man but a bad cutscene doesn't actually show the ceremony. The game's mission path doesn't deviate into crazy territory, and most of the characters are fairly lifeless. There are no enigmatic weirdos like Truth, the crazy hippie from San Andreas, or Steve Scott, the porno director from Vice City, to break up the heavier-handed mafia tasks. This dulls the game's personality, preventing its characters and events from becoming as memorable as we've come to expect from GTA games and their excellent storylines.
If you stick to the missions and don't mess around too much, you can finish the game's story mode in 10 to 12 hours. But the deceptive game-progress counter will only report around 40 percent completion if you stick close to the missions and don't do much else. The game has some rampage side missions and the standard pizza delivery, vigilante, taxi service, and ambulance missions, too. You can seek out ringing pay phones to get into street races. You can report to car lots to sell cars or motorcycles by test-driving vehicles for prospective consumers. And, of course, there are 100 hidden packages to find. If you get into all this optional stuff, there's a lot more city to see, and plenty of different cars to see it in.