Gameplay & Control
Gameplay is incredibly smooth and action packed. When playing Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars it is hard to remember that you are on a mobile device. All aspects of the game are engaging and complete which lead to an overall console-like experience.
The majority of the gameplay consists of completing missions for your uncle and two other candidates for the leader of Chinatown. The story follows the basic concept that your uncle is losing his position of power in Chinatown. You can either decide to help him, or help one of the other two leaders to rise to power. The game is set in Chinatown, and as such the music, characters and general theme of the game resemble stereotypical Asian culture.
There are a wide selection of weapons available within the game. Weapons include: SMGs, assault rifles, baseball bats, tasers, flame throwers, grenades, shotguns, explosives and just about everything else. Vehicles can be hijacked at any point and used for your own mischievous cause. Many vehicles from the original series appear and each vehicle has its own unique handling and acceleration. Vehicles are driven using touch controls, steering and acceleration/brake alike. This is a welcome control scheme which is far superior to using the iPhone's accelerometer.
Money is earned by completing missions and by selling drugs. Drugs can be purchased from a wide range of dealers and you will receive occasional "tip-offs" in the form of in-game email. Tip-offs lead you to the best places to sell and buy drugs. Exchanging drugs in Grand Theft Auto is the easiest way to make large sums of money fast, but beware, the occasional transaction turns out to be a bust, gun-fire and all. Money is used in the game to purchase vehicles (should you find the need to) as well as order weapons from AmmuNation, the in-game arms dealer.
Weapons can also be obtained by robbing them from the bodies of hoodlums, regular citizens and even police. In addition, AmmuNation delivery trucks can be found throughout the city. Robbing an AmmuNation delivery truck will result in free weapons, although it is not an easy task.
The control scheme in Chinatown Wars is completely touch based. The game does not make use of the accelerometer, which may be for the better. Controls feel very natural and allow for smooth gameplay. One of the coolest features of the game is the extensive use of the touch controls. Hijacking a car often requires unscrewing the dash panel, and hot-wiring the vehicle. This is manually performed with your finger on the touch-screen and provides a very satisfying element of gameplay. Driving feels a little flimsy at first, however, the controls quickly prove to be effective.