Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars
Nicholas "bapenguin" Puleo
Rockstar Games- DS
We already reviewed Chinatown Wars and its cooperative mode. And while we felt that was lacking a bit, it was the single player experience that really stood out to me. Rockstar has managed to squeeze an entire open world GTA game onto the handheld, and in doing so, has given a few throwbacks to the original top down games.
You'll follow the story of Huang Lee, a Triad boss's son sent to America to deliver a family heirloom to his uncle. Upon arriving you get ambushed and end up trapped in a car in a river. It's from here that Rockstar sets the tone for the game, classic GTA action mixed with DS style mini games, as you'll have to quickly tap the screen to break the glass and escape the car before drowning. These mini games range from hot wiring a car, to tattooing a gang member, and even searching a dumpster for weapons. There's literally dozens of these little things that break up the gameplay a bit and keep things fresh.
Rockstar managed to squeeze the entire city of Libery City onto the handheld, all with no loading times. Like any GTA game the cops play a big role in things, and the cop chases are really satisfying. A new mechanic to the game is the ability to take out a cop car to decrease your star level. I was really impressed with the variety of missions in the game, it's not all go here and kill that kind of stuff. And don't get me started on how addicting the drug trading system is in the game, this could be all you do for hours on end and not even touch the story.
When you combine all of this with the social aspects of the game; the online chat, trading and Social Club integration; you end up with such a full featured and complete package for a handheld game, that you almost forget it IS a handheld game. Hands down if you own a DS, you need to own this game.