Cruising down the street on your Harley Davidson, Flashback FM on the radio and pistol in your hand. Not usually how we'd describe the journey to work, but an example of how Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories on PSP is taking over our lives. They say that the devil makes work for idle hands, and it will come as no surprise to Daily Mail readers that the devil's name must therefore be Rockstar. But come on, it's one of the greatest games ever made, in your pocket, and with the exception of long loading times and the odd bit of slowdown, it's just as good as the PS2 version.
Yep, from a technical standpoint, this is the best thing we've seen on the PSP so far. Anyone who played GTA III (so, everyone then) will feel like they're revisiting an old friend -- it's the same city from the first game, but incorporating the bikes from Vice City and the combat from San Andreas. It's like a GTA Greatest Hits album. And there have been no compromises in squeezing this living, breathing city onto a UMD disc -- you can run over the same pimps, hookers and drug dealers on your way to all the familiar locations.
But it seems that converting one of the most revolutionary games of the past five years isn't enough for Rockstar, and they've also set themselves the challenge of creating a wireless multiplayer mode. Spot anyone with a PSP on the bus right now and chances are they'll be playing GTA: LCS -- approach them with a smile and gently suggest that you'd like to blow their freakin' face off. Minutes later, you could be battling it out on the virtual streets, giving that pent-up aggression a healthy outlet instead of taking it all to the office and stapling a co-worker's tongue to the desk.
Is Liberty City Stories the handheld game of the year? Well, it's about as far away from Nintendogs as possible, yet both have made portable gaming something that can challenge even the home consoles. And with the Xbox 360 on its way in a matter of weeks, we think 2005 will be looked back on as a vintage year for gaming. -GC