Miami Vice: The Game

By on October 7, 2006

Third-person action shooter inspired by Universal Pictures’ Miami Vice hits the PSP.


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First Impressions
My reaction is

Miami Vice is yet another movie tie-in for a game. Ironically though, it’s not much of what we’ve seen in the movie aside Tubbs and Crocket. There is this tad bit of difference in the game and it’s called a storyline.

In fact Miami Vice The Game (they specifically mention ‘the game’ on the box) is void of any solid storyline and therefore any character development. It’s mostly a mission oriented game which requires you to be an undercover cop and shoot through delivery stations and warehouses busting cocaine and marijuana and collecting flash rams. That’s about the jist of the game and you do all of that in a semi-third person perspective.

Yes indeed, this is another flick which makes ample use of the RE 4 shoulder cam and it proves hellava useful for it too. You can choose to play as Tubbs or Crocket at the beginning of the game but it doesn’t really affect anything on the levels you go through. The game requires you to take a lot of cover and use objects to save your ass from a constant shower of bullets your foes spray at you. There is room for melee or sneaking, but it never works out, as your enemy AI almost definitely sees/hears you all the time. AI is one of the commendable features of the game. Very alert and once you shoot they’d fire you from different positions. When you advance they go back. Even the character animation, when you shoot them, is excellent to the point that they’ll limp when hurt and walk for cover.

At the same time though, the game goes easy on you, as the enemy might just jump out of cover cocking a gun with his head tilted (like the cool homie style) standing bare waiting for a blind man to hit him with a stray bullet. However once you’re amidst a fight, you’d actually like that as you get scarce on bullets and health packs and you get hoards of villains to shoot down, and thereby the game plays you on the quantity. The ingame action is actually quite intense and fun for most part of it. You swap guns, shut down cameras, shoot people who just won’t die and it does play well, thanks to the responsiveness of the controls and the simple linear aspect of the missions – In through one door out through the other.

The game has a sub menu interface, which is actually a map of Miami and locations of your snitch and street dealers as well as your office and the next mission. This is where the game plays a second fiddle to the action in the missions where you can redeem stuff out of the rams you’ve collected and make money out of the drugs you confiscate. Making money could be as good as giving off the drugs to the barons and claiming the free moolah. And if you’re feeling greedier you can play in the share market type of environment. Buy from one baron and sell to the other, and a small text message would show you that METH has gone down by 15% so you can buy that and deposit it for later sales when the price goes up. This is fairly interesting as the money you make here can buy you information from the snitch or upgrades of weapons and suits you wear. The weapons and suits, apart from providing you infantry, armour and good looks are also helpful for building reputation points. For e.g., you can wear an armour and go to war or just a classic tux and earn more reps. You can also hole up the enemies with your assault rifle or just use a pistol for better reputation.

The flash rams on the other hand are required to be hacked in order to earn the benefits. Hacking them sees a side scrolling space war like set up for you to blow open data packets and retrieve data. Its difficulty is up a notch but once you figure out the pattern of the appearance the packets it can be a piece of cake. A nifty addition for a minigame and serves the purpose well. Besides if you want to be able to buy any upgrades for yourself you’ll first have to unlock them through here.

The better feature of the side games however is the meeting with the drug barons. You need to buy into the secretary of the drug baron first and then climb up to the actual boss for closing your deal. Most of this is done playing a minigame where in you need to keep the line inside the defined areas. The cinematic atmosphere and the shoulder nudging etc give this concept a nice place inside the worlds of Miami Vice The Game.

Despite of feeling so intricate and detailed in the main game as well as holding a solid back game it still suffers from some major shortcomings. Most importantly, the crummy story line with just mission objectives that provide the orientation for the way the game is going. And even when that was not enough, they throw in some major saving issues. You cannot save ingame, there are only check points. You need to either quit the mission or complete it and save from the map, which is a shame as being a portable game its meant to be an on the go scenario and game save is extremely imperative. The last down side of the game is the monotony of doing the same thing over and over again. Although the action etc is intense, you won’t want to do it more than 3 times in a row. And when they do try to change the recurring nature it’s only pointless. For instance in one level you need to ride on your go-go boat and take down the other boats and take their drugs; you don’t get killed and you have infinite ammo; hence the point is lost.

Even with that said, the game does feature some good graphics and a better musical score. It may not be as sexually flooded as its movie counterpart, but it does have a good amount of foul language in its sound files which your enemies shall not hesitate calling you by. Apart from that, the soundtrack is absolutely lush and fits the game play as well as the menu you’ll be scrolling by when you trade stuff.

All said and done, the game’s inability for being on the go and at the same time being repetitive kind of makes it a hard to recommend game. But the gameplay and effects are top notch and if you’re the one who likes to swallow a level at a time Miami Vice could be a good choice.

The Scorecard
It’s got intense action and good mechanics to keep you busy, as well as some interesting minigame features running on the back end.
The areas look good, the Miami hue's very well done and even when Crocket and Tubbs don’t look like themselves that’s only forgivable.
Excellent music and sound effects.
Neat minigames and good action gameplay, but the loose ends and over use of the objectives just plague the value.
Repetition is not what we like, specially if it’s got almost no major in the big picture (if there is any).
Short spins are good. Longer times will just accumulate dislike.


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