Developer: Gameloft
Price: $6.99
Version: 1.0.0
App Reviewed on: iPhone 5

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★☆
Game Controls Rating: ★★☆☆☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★½☆☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★½☆☆

Overall Rating: ★★½☆☆

IMG_0019What do guns, misogyny, and crime sprees have in common? They sell games. If the Grand Theft Auto and Saints Row franchises have taught us anything, it is that a little societal counterprogramming can go a long way. Gameloft seems to be venturing down the same road with the newest iteration in their Gangstar series, Gangstar Vegas. It more than lives up to the setting of Sin City.

Guy meets guy. Guy pays guy to take a dive in an MMA match. Guy accidentally wins the match anyway. Guy ends up spending the rest of his days running for his life. It is a tale as old as time. Players take control of fighter on the lam, Jason Malone, as he tries to make a name for himself in Vegas, while still covering his own hide in the process. He is willing to do just about anything in order to clear his name, even if it means getting his hands dirty in the process.

As the game progresses, the massive world of Gangstar Vegas is unfurled, revealing a wealth of areas to explore, rob, or otherwise eviscerate. Completing missions allow the player to upgrade Jason’s stats or weapons, in order to turn him into the most deadly hoodlum ever to saunter through the streets of Sin City. Much like other titles in the genre, the traditional star wanted system is also present. Be sure to try to keep a low profile, though. Otherwise, the military will come out of the woodworks and look for Malone’s head on a proverbial pike.

IMG_0021What could have been a potentially fantastic open world adventure is hampered by a litany of problems that could have been avoided, given more time and polish. For one, there are visual presentation and AI bugs from the start. For example, it is a bit difficult to complete an assassination mission when the target is stuck clipping through a wall. This is just a brief taste of what unfortunately seems to be a fairly common occurrence. And don’t even start on the control issues, because quite frankly, they are sluggish, unresponsive, and borderline unusable when in any sort of time-sensitive sequence.

By all accounts, Gangstar Vegas should have been a good game. Had more care been taken to address the countless technical issues that plague the title, it could have provided a much more compelling reason to explore the streets of Vegas. Potential players may have better luck putting their seven dollars on black than spending that on this ultimately disappointing experience.

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