393580_largerThe Gangstar franchise is weird. It's a series of games with little connection to each other outside of some pretty basic stuff: open worlds, guns, intense violence, and car jacking. You could probably say the same thing about Grand Theft Auto, but Gangstar is sorta unique in that each game is a crude copycat of whatever AAA sandbox game is toast of the town at the moment of its release. Rio [$6.99] rips off Saints Row 3. Miami [$6.99] direly wants to be Grand Theft Auto 4. West Coast Hustle [$6.99] does its best to ape Grand Theft Auto III: San Andreas. And now Gangstar Vegas [Free], which takes cues from Sleeping Dogs and, of all things, Far Cry 3. As a result of this design approach, Gangstar as a whole lacks a voice. It doesn't have too much to say because it's too busy trying to be another game.

This long-running problem is, maybe, my biggest beef with Gangstar Vegas. Otherwise, it seems like a pretty competent open-world shooter. As we promised earlier, we gave it a spin this afternoon, spending some time shooting innocent bystanders and running away from the (short) arm of the law:

Wonky stuff and identity crisis aside, this is probably the best open-world game on the mobile market at the moment. If what you saw clicked with you, you should probably give it a look.

  • ODMay

    Just bought me an iTunes gift card for this.

  • Krel Adam

    Well worth the money guys

  • TomCrown

    You guys might want to travel outside of North America before making retarded comments about "everyone" having rock solid internet 24/7.

    • Karzay

      Don't forget aliens of different planets...

      (Don't take it so literally.)

  • QWERTYthebold

    Looks good. A little more modern than vice city for sure. But... The cars don't even get dented up? No losing doors? What about flat tires? Anything!? Other than that, it looks fairly good.

  • TheGrimCreeper

    Sometimes it lags in iPod 5 or the startup menu will freeze, but it's fun. It also has guns from Modern Combat 5 if nobody has noticed.

  • pajman sarafzadeh

    this series has two problems

    1) terrible voice acting and story elements
    2) lack of fun thanks to bad controls

    seems to be maintaining its pedigree

  • PureRumble

    So when gameloft rips of some other dudes' intellectual property we hear some people say "hey this is ok because otherwise we wouldnt have game X on iOS, gameloft just bring us what we want"

    Yeah? But last time i checked the app store offered me a fair share of genuine GTA games from rockstar (i counted three titles) and im just guessing rockstar are squeezing more titles down their ios pipe as we speak

    So am i the only one having a problem with gameloft getting away with this?

    • Cpt.Gagarin

      What do you think of Saint's Row then?

      • MidianGTX

        The first Saints Row game felt very much like a cheap GTA III clone, but since then the series has evolved and grown its own identity, to the point where SR3 feels nothing like any GTA game.

      • iammane

        Agreed, Saints Row is so over the top and goofy it knows it and it shows. It is like the ultimate braggadocio, where GTA is more tongue in cheek and "real life"

    • davidonabus

      I hear what you're saying.. but I think this has become a genre, and isn't a knockoff. Just like not every FPS is a doom clone anymore.

      • MidianGTX

        I agree that open world sandbox games are a genre, but this is still a clone. Even the screenshots they decided to use on the AppStore represent the best things that were in GTA: SA. The only way I can imagine someone claiming this isn't a clone is if they haven't played enough sandbox games to recognise one.

      • Karzay

        Or someone who doesn't recognize what a sandbox game is. FYI, open world is not the same thing as a sandbox.

  • htp24

    The GTA games' plots (since GTA3) are loosely related to each other and some characters make cameos in other games. Gangstar games are related in name only.

    • Shadowking2214

      Didn't Claude appear in San Andreas?

      • htp24

        Yep. You race against him I believe.

      • dariusjr98

        I hate that damn mission so much. Most GTA games I've played have awful racing missions. Only thing I don't like about 'em.

  • tranceforma

    I'm enjoying it very much. Far better than Rio and I'm not sure which storyline this is ripping off but it certainly isn't sleeping dogs lol

  • jrusty

    Dude has anybody noticed that the main characters voice is Goku from Dragon Ball Z(not sure which series) it's so crazy, hard to pay attention to the story now though XD.

  • RedDeadRedemptionPC

    Well at least iOS has GTA clone, PS Vita doesn't even have the clones.

  • natttnattt

    Whatever, This is good for me cuz in Thailand they block the GTA game X(

    • detourne

      The same in Korea.
      I thank Gameloft for having games accessible in countries other than USA and Canada

  • phonecats

    toucharcade thinks gameloft is too big to fail.

  • xStatiCa

    That was too funny when the cop cars went into the water.

  • dexterdavis

    Omg gameloft rips off every game. Every single GTA, then team fortress, then call of duty/battlefield, and even halo, although I kinda liked nova 3. Gangstar 3 was the worst by far a d was a waste of my 99 cents. Like it was soo bad!

    • Adams Immersive

      Particularly blatant ripping off in this case, since the real GTA series is on iOS too.

  • Singhapura

    This reminds me again how hypocritical Apple's appstore policy is. If you're a small developer and you make something that looks even remotely similar to something a big publisher has made (I'm looking at you Atari), you get kicked out without ceremony. If you're a big player like Gameloft however, you can copy whatever you want. Money talks I suppose.

    • Adams Immersive

      It's hypocrisy if the outcome was Apple's decision alone--but the other vital decision, before an app gets pulled, is whether the company being copied challenges the copier/reports it to Apple. Atari complains, and they get stuff pulled. Does Apple let big companies get away with copying Atari, and only cans small ones? And re Gameloft: did Rockstar complain, but Apple ignored them because Gameloft was big? (Whereas when Rockstar complains about a small app, it gets pulled?)

      If those things aren't the case, then we don't have the evidence of hypocrisy.

      Now, there's room for unfairness even without hypocrisy: maybe Gameloft can afford the lawyers to fight Rockstar, but the little guys cannot.