Miami Vice: The Game PSP Review

Let’s get straight to the point: this is a surprisingly good game. It should not be a good game, but it is… Think about it; this is a title based on a movie and we all know that’s not a good start. Not only is it game based on a movie, but it’s a game based on a movie that is a remake of a TV show. If that’s not bad enough it is a third person action title on a PSP and as we know from recently released titles that is also never a good thing. Nevertheless with all this adversity standing in its way, Rebellion has crafted something that’s very fun to play.

As you would expect, Miami Vice: The Game puts you in the shoes of the world famous Sonny Crockett or Ricardo Tubbs (the two officers now bear a small likeness to Colin Farrell and Jamie Foxx to match up with the 2006 movie rather than Philip Michael Thomas and Don Johnson of the 1980s TV series). Of course these two officers are working undercover narcotics for the Miami-Dade Police Department. The game starts off with rescuing an informant from merciless associate. From then on you take control of either Crockett or Tubbs as you start retrieving narcotics and battling endless hoards of drug-dealing henchmen over a myriad of levels in different locations throughout Miami.

Even though the above does not sound like the most interesting premise for a game, in the end it doesn’t really matter as Miami Vice: The Game is set up perfectly to be played on a handheld meaning you won’t be focusing much on the storyline. The game is all about moving between each location and just getting the job done. To help, Rebellion has created a ‘cover system’ allowing you to quickly and easily take cover behind objects. Each level is laid out with this system in mind so there is always something to hide behind when fighting. The enemy also uses the system to avoid getting hit when they see you. As with most PSP games you can’t move and shoot at the same time. With most titles this would be seen as a weakness, but seeing as Miami Vice is built around the cover system this actually suits the game style very well as it shifts to an over-the-shoulder zoomed in view when targeting (ala Resident Evil 4).

Sometimes the game tosses up little mini-game, known as FlashROM hacking. These appear when Crockett or Tubbs find a memory unit while on the crime scene. If you choose to hack it to gain upgrades the game starts. The game is like an old school shooter where you control a triangle that shoots out shockwaves to destroy cubes and collect other items. It plays like a less refined version of the famous Xbox Live Arcade game Geometry Wars. Another nice touch is the game’s co-op multiplayer through. This section is fun to play with a likeminded mate, but it is almost too easy to blast through. The overall difficulty does not rise at all to compensate for the extra player helping meaning enemy encounters hold no fear and Crockett and Tubbs can shoot down everything in next to no time with little thought.

After each mission your score is tallied up based upon a number of criteria (weapon used, accuracy, completion ratios and clothes you wore). Once added up this turns into a ‘Rep Bonus’ letting you visit locations on the map where the city’s most predominant drug dealers live. You can buy and sell what you’ve confiscated to dealers. This is an interesting mode that is a nice break from the normal game, but would probably be seen as a bad thing by the ‘Jack Thompson’s of the world. There are also a few other locations on the map that let you upgrade clothes, weapons, armour and gather intel on the next mission.

Graphically Rebellion seems to have recreated the atmosphere of the movie to a tee. Even though I have only seen some trailers for the film, I do believe the game matches up well. The game also runs at decent frame rate with most textures looking decent. Load times never seem to go on any longer than 5-7 seconds which is commendable for a modern day PSP title.

It would have been very easy for Rebellion to dream up some cheap GTA style game, shoehorn the Miami Vice storyline into it and churn out a game that will sell on name alone, but in a surprising move (that goes against the norm these days) they did their best to create something playable. The game was made with PSP button layout in mind and with that rather simple decision Miami Vice: The Game raises itself above all the other third person PSP titles we have seen of late. All in all the game is loads of fun to play with the only problem being that it all ends too soon.

A Highly enjoyable PSP title that no one really expected.

7.3 out of 10

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