Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars first made its appearance on the Nintendo DS back on March 17, 2009. Rockstar recently decided to bring the title over to the Sony PSP, but revamped a bit.
The player assumes the role of Huang Lee, who arrives in Liberty City after the murder of his father, who was a Triad boss. Upon his arrival to the city, Huang is looking to find out what happened to his father and exact revenge. This is done in typical GTA fashion with various missions that must be completed to advance through the story.
There are plenty of things to do in this bout inside Liberty City. It will definitely keep the gamer interested for hours on end. This is the Liberty City featured in GTA IV, and the entire city is available to explore on the handheld with the exception of one island (Alderney).
The game has been revamped to be more suitable for the PSP. It’s been optimized for the wider screen and features more missions and radio stations. Overall, it is a more fluid experience than its DS counterpart.
Graphically, the game takes a different approach than most Grand Theft Auto titles. It features more of a cell-shaded style. The cutscenes feature still images and text–no spoken dialog.
The game’s communication system revolves around Huang’s PDA system, which features an email function. The map, which can be viewed via GPS, is also accessed here. The GPS also allows the user to set markers so that directions can be given on the fly to a specific place, just like in GTA IV.
Those that played the DS version of the title may remember the dualscreen moments, such as getting items out of a bag, or selling various drugs. The transition made to the PSP version was perfect. Since the PSP features only one screen, the title features a split screen mode during these moments, and it works perfectly. For example, during a drug deal, the character is seen on one side of the screen, while the “goods” are shown on the other side.
Neither the missions nor the minigames are overly challenging, but they are certainly entertaining. There are several things that have been changed to make the game a better experience for the on-the-go gamer, such as the cop chases. In GTA IV, the player had to get out of the radius of the flashing lights on the mini-map to get away from the police. In Chinatown Wars, the player disables police cars by crashing into them while on the go. The more stars accrued, the more police vehicles that need to be disabled before the escape process can begin.
All in all, this game is fantastic–probably the best GTA handheld title that is available. For fans of the series, this is definitely worth the purchase.