Rockstar North/Rockstar Games
Reviewed On: iOS
Street: 12.06.12
There are plenty of Grand Theft Auto fans who will point to San Andreas and GTA IV as the best games ever, but for my money, Vice City’s outstanding voice cast (which includes heavyweights like Ray Liotta, Burt Reynolds, Dennis Hopper, Lee Majors, Gary Busey, Luis Guzman, and William Fichtner) and portrait of drug-and-neon soaked Miami culture is the pinnacle of the landmark, third-person action-adventure series. The story of convicted felon Tommy Vercetti (Liotta), Vice City is a blood soaked gangster tale that takes place in a fully open-world Vice City in 1986, complete with pastel-colored suits and girls in high-waisted bikinis. Everything from the original has found its way to the small screen: Every vehicle, weapon and opportunity to commit multiple felonies return, boasting new, high-definition textures and lighting effects in its new, digital package. As with last year’s mobile release of GTA III, Rockstar’s done a great job translating the complex controls to the mobile screen, with an array of adjustable virtual buttons to make car-stealing missions and hooker-shooting tangents easy as pie. Playing as an adult, the touches of misogyny spread throughout can be a little unsettling, but there’s still nothing as fun as running over pedestrians in a stolen cop car while peering over the virtual coastline of the city, listening to the greatest, licensed video-game soundtrack of all-time on full blast. A masterpiece from beginning to end, GTA: Vice City 10th Anniversary Edition is a vulgar piece of gaming nostalgia, beautifully preserved in this new, mobile edition. –Randy Dankievitch

Ravensword: Shadowlands
Crescent Moon Games
Reviewed on: iOS
Street: 12.20.12
The premise of Ravensword: Shadowlands, Crescent Moon’s new adventure RPG for iOS, is simple for an open-world fantasy epic. In a nutshell, a powerful magician fucks up, letting an unspeakable evil from the parallel world of the Shadowlands into the feudal kingdom of Tyreas. As the only survivor of the kingdom’s army, the goal is to find the three Ravenstones, which will produce the ass-kicking power of the ancient Ravensword weapon. One of the most ambitious titles to hit the platform, Ravensword takes the heart of its predecessor’s exploration-based, hack-and-slash gameplay, and drops it into a vast empire of gorgeous (and dangerous) environments. The result is a battery-and-time draining game, with dozens of varied kill-and-fetch-style side quests that have kept me entertained for hours. I’ve played fun open-world games before on my iPhone, but none have the graphical prowess or scope of this title—not to mention the game’s fantastic control scheme, which boils movements down to a few action buttons and a D-pad, allowing players to ride horses, fight dinosaurs and hunt goblins from either a first- or third-person perspective. It has its share of small, technical glitches here and there (and story-wise, is nothing more than the typical, Jesus hero-complex tale), but the impressive scope of the world and well executed gameplay mechanics make it one of the more engaging mobile fantasy titles, ending the year in iOS gaming on a high note. –Randy Dankievitch