Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars Review (DS)

Posted by GDN Staff, Mar 21, 2009 23:54

I remember sitting at the Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles for E3 2008, during the Nintendo Conference, hearing about this game for the first time. There were a lot of oh’s and ah’s and a round of applause, including me. As I sat there through the rest of the speech, I kept coming back to this game, thinking, why are we all excited about this game, its a DS game, what is going to make this any different then any of the other? Over the months since that time, each time I’ve checked out the latest screens, or trailers, I’ve had the same sort of thoughts, even up to the point of opening the package. Until now.

The game is similar to its big brother on the major consoles. You have the freedom to explore the city,
drive by shootings, etc. (You know what I mean, create mayhem) You play the character of Huang Lee who is a spoiled rich kid on a plane from Hong Kong to Liberty City. Your father (a boss of the Triads) has recently been assassinated and you must return the Yu Jian (a sacred sword and family heirloom),  to your Uncle Kenny.

After you get into Liberty City you are kidnapped, the sword taken from you,  shot, and thrown in the back of a car, which is pushed into the river for dead. This is where you first start to play and have to break out the back window before you drown. The whole story weaves its way around, yet leaving a bunch of characters that don’t seem to be that memorable, unlike other GTA games. The story maybe a bit short on details, it does just enough to keep you going. As I mentioned before there is so much like the console versions, I won’t really get into it. Now saying that, I want to mention that there isn’t anything wrong with that, especially considering its on a DS, and I am totally blown away that they were able to make it compete with its larger relative. There is so much to do within the game. There are the normal missions,  and side missions. You can become a taxi driver, cop, paramedic and firefighter for these side missions, though the later two seem to be a bit on the rare side. If your really bored or frustrated over not completing a mission you can just run the heck over people in your car, make cares explode, etc.

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Our Rating for Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars Review (DS)
9.0 Replay
It took me just over 20 hours to complete the game.(Yeah, I maybe a bit slow) Even after completing the game, there is just so much to do, its really easy to find yourself playing it again. The local multiplayer and link-up online adds even more things to do.
9.5 Graphics
I know I’m going to get some flack here about this, but comparing apples to apples, this is one of the best for the DS. If they had spent a bit more time on the characters, I might have given this a ten.
7.0 Sound
This is really the only issue I can see with the game, but I’m not the developer so there might have been a good reason why voice overs were left out for the most part. The music comparing it to other GTA’s, it really was lame.
9.5 Gameplay
I can’t see how there could be much improvement here. Being on the DS could have been a really good excuse to give a half-hearted attempt, but that wasn’t good enough for Rockstar. They gave it their all
0.1 Multiplayer/Online Content
Not Available for this review
9.0 Overall
As much as was crammed into this little cartridge, I am suprised that it fit into the DS. It maybe only March, but at this point, its the DS Game of the Year.

Rating: 4.0, votes: 3

#1 Mar 27, 2009 11:34:33 Mar 27, 2009 15:34
Great review. The game truly does advance the GTA series and make the DS look a whole lot sexier. They’ve got a cool site up at too.

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