Vice City

The circle is now complete. The last of the PlayStation 2 era Grand Theft Auto games will be released through the PlayStation Store as a PlayStation 2 Classic. Joining the ranks of Grand Theft Auto III and Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas comes the game that proved the series was more than just a passing fad, Grand Theft Auto: Vice City.

Few were able to see how Rockstar North could possibly follow up the massive success of Grand Theft Auto III. The nation had been taken by a storm of violence, and some were skeptical about whether or not this open-world sandbox style could be turned into anything more than a simple outlet for pent up teenagers.

Well, Vice City proved them all wrong after only a year of development.

Certainly, it continued in the tradition of unleashing a madman on a city with all the weapons and freedom to do as he chose. However, with this entry in the franchise, fans were treated to Rockstar's first attempt at serious storytelling and an overall arching plot. Grand Theft Auto III dabbled in the idea with cutscenes and colorful characters, but Rockstar's brilliant take on 1980s Miami showed off their talents on a whole other level.

The video game industry was also getting more and more exposure thanks to the success of the PlayStation 2, and Hollywood stars were being attracted into voice work more and more frequently. Liberty City mafia gangster Tommy Vercetti was brought to life by Ray Liotta of Goodfellas fame, and a slew of other great actors joined him in bringing Rockstar's vision to life.

Grand Theft Auto: Vice City finds itself in an awkward position of being the best remembered of the three and also the least remembered. It's a strange statement to make since everyone who's played it has loved it, however San Andreas is often remembered as the best and Grand Theft Auto III is the one that got the ball rolling.

Which of the PlayStation 2 Grand Theft Auto games was your favorite?

Grand Theft Auto: Vice City will be available for $9.99 after his week's PSN update. Those happen on Tuesdays.