Miami Vice: The Game ReviewRush Montgomery III
Miami Vice started as a police drama way back in the 1980s, starring Don Johnson as Sonny Crocket and Philip Michael Thomas as Ricardo Tubbs. It was the days of hot pink and lime green, of neon and fast cars. Fortunately, the PSP game follows the more modern Miami Vice scenario of the recent feature film, with Crocket and Tubbs infiltrating the seedy underworld of organized crime, weapons trade and drug trafficking. One thing I learned from this game is that Miami is full of seedy criminals, and most all of them have the same Latino accent.
Miami Vice is, of course, a movie-based game, which will immediately turn those people off who remember the countless other sucky games based on movie properties. If you're interested in the overall storyline of this game, I advise you to watch Miami Vice, starring Jamie Foxx as Ricardo Tubbs and Colin Farrell as James Crockett. I never saw the movie myself, but I've heard it's not so bad, as far as Hollywood remakes go. The game loosely follows the events of the film, choosing instead to invent new scenarios where the Miami Vice officers are hot on the hunt of rampant drug lords and weapons dealers. The player begins with the option of choosing either Crocket or Tubbs, with the game unfolding in much the same way, regardless of the player's choice.
The game play is pretty straight-forward: pick up weapons, pick up ammo, pick up health, shoot the bad guys. The game ditches the run-and-gun mentality of most modern shooters and chooses instead to guide the player from room to room, as you use obstacles and natural environment as a shield, choosing opportune moments to pop out and deal some justice. Statues can be toppled for cover, boxes can be crouched behind - pretty much anything in the environment will allow the player to hide from incoming fire and reload their weapon. Although the player has full control of their character - run, duck, hide, etc. - it is very reminiscent of the shooter-on-rails game Time Crisis. The formula is repetitive, in that the player is forced to move into an area, find cover, pop out to eliminate opposition, and then move through a door into the next hostile area. This in itself would become boring, but the developers have added extra spice to the mix, allowing the player to confiscate drugs and sell them to dealers in order to gain enough money to buy more powerful weapons. Buying and selling drugs and weapons gives the player reputation, which unlocks a new mission and sends Crockett and Tubbs deeper into the crime world, with the ultimate goal of taking down a notorious South American drug lord.
I won't lie and say that I didn't expect Miami Vice: The Game to suck big time. Movie-based games are usually sub-par and thrown together with the loosest basis of the actual movie it's patterned after. I was shocked to discover that the game is actually a lot of fun and would be a really cool game even if it had an original storyline that had nothing to do with Miami Vice. The controls are solid, the tutorials are helpful and non-intrusive, and the action is nonstop. My only real gripe is that everyone in Miami is voiced by the same voice actor with a fake Latino accent. Surely there are some Caucasian criminals in Miami. Miami Vice: The Game is well worth the price of admission.
Disclosure: We are provided copies of games from the game companies for some games that we review.