Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars

The bulk of the DS iteration remains unchanged, but there are a few noteworthy additions in the PSP release of Chinatown Wars

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Rockstar Games Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars
  • Rockstar Games Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars
  • Rockstar Games Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars

Pros

  • Classic GTA formula, drug trading mini-game is surprisingly addictive

Cons

  • Not enough new content, touch-based mini-games are slightly awkward with the analog nub

Bottom Line

I lost my DS a month or so ago. It was during the time I was reviewing Scribblenauts. I think I may have put it down somewhere and my brain, lulled into a dreamlike state by Scribblenauts' quirky and addictive gameplay, simply forgot to remember where that "somewhere" is. My biggest regret is that I never got to play Chinatown Wars on the DS; the game is sitting unused on my desk, haunting my thoughts. Thankfully, my PSP is still around and as you'll soon see, the war for Chinatown made the transition to Sony's handheld intact, so I'll be happily blasting my way through the gritty streets of Liberty City once again.

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The original sandbox experience strikes back with yet another installation in the stellar Grand Theft Auto franchise. Featuring plenty of PSP exclusive content for newcomers and jaded criminals alike, Rockstar is asking gamers everywhere to leave their morals at the door for this entertaining handheld joyride.

When I was asked to review the original Chinatown Wars on the Nintendo DS, I can safely say I didn't go in with high expectations. One of the grittiest, bloodiest and most mature franchises making its way to Nintendo's relatively kid friendly handheld? Well, it certainly raised my interest. The end result, however, was a rich and incredibly fun overhead experience, packed with some truly addictive mini-games. Now, about seven months later, Rockstar's Liberty City redux makes its way to Sony's PSP with a few extra bells and whistles, but is it worth re-investing in?

Of course it is: it is GTA after all. The bulk of the DS iteration remains unchanged, but there are a few noteworthy additions in the PSP release of Chinatown Wars, including new widescreen cel-shaded visuals, a few new instrumental radio stations (including one dedicated to Toronto-based rock gods Anvil) and a series of new missions, such as a plethora of new Rampage opportunities. The DS touch-screen mini-games remain in the PSP port (save a few untranslatable instances) only now they're mostly played with the analog nub and the shoulder buttons. This works well, for the most part, but there's no denying that it can occasionally feel pretty awkward. The new missions are certainly fun, but not exactly reason enough for an entire re-purchase of the same game, and it's a slight disappointment that Rockstar wasn't willing to go all out for a full musical library and voice acting known to other GTA experiences.

Still, most of these annoyances are minor complaints at best, and Chinatown Wars remains an absolute blast from start to finish with plenty of trademark Liberty City locales ripe for exploration, not to mention a cast of incredibly memory characters (Chan Jaoming, I hardly knew ya.) If you're looking for a good action adventure experience that harkens back to the more cartoony Grand Theft Auto days, then Chinatown Wars is certainly worth the investment.

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