Grand Theft Auto for the DS (5 out of 5)
Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars is the latest handheld version released by Rockstar Games for the DS. The game features trademark missions and mini-games played on GTA III and IV. Set in the same Liberty City, Chinatown wars offers unimaginable GTA experience with some excellent touch screen mini-games with a typical tale of gang wars.
Gameplay (4 out of 5)
Rockstar Games introduced a completely new star cast for all you GTA gamers. Chinatown Wars lets you play from the perspective of Huang Lee, who enters Liberty city to avenge his gangster father’s death. Well, that’s the initial script; the rest is all about gang wars, police chases and fast cars. There will also be various missions that go along with the game’s storyline and it will take you about ten hours to complete it.
GTA: Chinatown Wars has some excellent touch screen side-missions. Any attempts to steal a parked car will force you to follow a series of mini-games and of course, use the touch screen. You will have to enter an immobilizer PIN, dabble with your screwdriver and hot-wire it to steal, all with the help of your stylus. There are also other touch screen mini games including marking tattoos on rookie gang members, searching for weapons in dumpsters and using sonar to search for lost drug ships. But, the touch screen also comes into play at inappropriate situations such as switching between weapons, flinging projectile weapons etc., making it a bit frustrating for DS gamers.
Weapons in Grand Theft Auto Chinatown Wars include everything from bare fists to flamethrowers, shotguns, flashbangs and even swords. Occasionally you will get a chance to dabble with sniper rifles, but for using it you will have to assemble it with the help of the touch screen (pretty fun!). As you progress through the storyline, you will acquire more advanced weaponry. For using most weapons on enemies, you will have to lock on and hit the A button, but for grenades you will have to plot the direction and range via touch screen.
GTA: Chinatown Wars has everything similar to its 3D counterparts including vigilante missions, ambulance and taxi missions. But, the cream of China Town Wars is the ability to enter races, hijack drug shipments and raid ol’ warehouses. The mission rewards are lower than GTA III and IV, but missions are aplenty. You can check out the GTA: Chinatown Wars Official Site for some more Goodies and latest game info.
Graphics (4 out of 5)
Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars is played on a top-down perspective. It is actually not a pure 2D game. Developers used a cell-shaded three dimensional presentation to add more fun to it. The cut-scenes are more comic-book styled and the character artworks give you a stylized feel. The in-game camera does a great job as you can rotate the view of the game. As you can see below in some of the screen shots, the graphics for the DS version are just as good as the graphics on the larger consoles, such as the PS2, PS3, and more. So, you are not sacrificing any quality by getting a portable version here.
Sound (4 out of 5)
The sound effects in GTA: Chinatown Wars are impressive. The glass panes shattering, the death cries of pedestrians getting hit accidentally and the gun shot sounds are convincing. Although the big-wigs had many radio stations, Chinatown Wars offers five radio stations featuring instrumental electronica, hip-hop, jazz and rock. There’s no voice acting here, which might be disappointing for some, but it is compensated with some nice script-writing. Watch out for the funny text dialogues in-between cut-scenes as they can crack you up if you really pay attention.
Overall, the developers of Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars have brought a sand-box styled game to a completely new platform. The open-ended gameplay was somewhat missing here, still this portable version has a vast playground. The touch screen mini-games will give you a unique experience, just like with some of the other Grand Theft Auto versions that had hidden mini games inside them as well. With such nice old and new additions to this version of Grand Theft Auto, expect more sequels in the near future.
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