Published on January 14th, 2010 | by Deejay Knight, Editor/Founder
GTA: Chinatown Wars Review
Release Date: October 20, 2009 (PSP)
Developer: Rockstar Leeds, Rockstar North
Platform: PlayStation Portable [Reviewed], Nintendo DS
Let’s get this out of the way quickly: GTA Chinatown Wars is a port of the Nintendo DS game of the same name. While most games that get ported get slim or no changes, this isn’t one of those games.
Graphically, the game is much clearer than the pixelated madness found on the DS, and the difference is nearly night and day. There’s also been a slight tilt on the camera, as it’s angle is a little better for viewing the on-screen festivities. That doesn’t mean that your viewing angle will be perfect by any means, but it’s better than before.
Instead of the DS’ stylus controls, the PSP’s analog nub takes over for minigames and actions such as making molotov cocktails, drawing tattoos on gang members, or throwing grenades.
You start the game as Huang, flying in from China to meet your uncle and avenge your father’s death, but in true GTA fashion things go downhill pretty quickly. The overall story is standard GTA fare with twists thrown in for good measure.
One of the focuses of the game is dealing drugs, where buying low and selling high is your priority. Think back to “Dope Wars” and you get the idea. To make things easier (too easy, if you ask me), you get emails from both buyers and sellers informing you of their sales. The in-game menus emulate the PSP’s Cross Media Bar, so they’re easy to navigate.
Get ready to roll in the dough, though, because if you start dealing drugs before you get into the story mode, you’ll be very disappointed at the mission cash. Take for instance, I had over $100k in cash, three safe houses after the first, and the mission I completed gave me $300. You can easily make multiples of that in a single drug sale, depending on the drug and how much it’s going for.
To make that even easier, you get stats at the end of the week, filling you in on your over/under on drug purchases for the week. It’s like your own personal drug broker helping you make the best illegal purchases you can make!
All in all, Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars is a fun game – if you can get over the fact that it’s not as graphically detailed as Liberty City Stories. It’s easy to pick up and put down, so whether you have five minutes or fifty, you’ll have a great time.