The Grand Theft Auto series has been here since the beginning of gaming… well since 1994 anyway. But only now has a new version of the game debuted on a Nintendo console, namely the DS. ‘Chinatown Wars’ was released in March and hasn’t been doing too well in the charts, but how does it play? Is is fantastic, fair or flop?
Now I have something to admit, this is actually my first ever Grand Theft Auto game. I’ve played parts of others, but this is the first that I’ve gone out a brought (I couldn’t resist for a tenner!). In the past I’ve found the game to be an ok affair, but have never really seen why it is so highly rated.
I think I may have now found it’s appeal.
And that for me really is the freedom. GTA games give you missions to carry out, which are great fun, but that’snot the whole game. Rockstar have created a whole world for you to go out and explore. And it really is massive. I’m truly gobsmacked at how big a world they have managed to fit onto a little DS cartridge. There’s several different districts, faire stations, an airport, a port… the list goes on, it really is massive!
So onto the actual gameplay. Regulars to the GTA series will know that the main aim of the game is to complete missions such as saving a gang leader, blowing up a rivals base etc. You do this generally by stealing cars as transport and committing many various crimes, the whole time trying to avoid the police. By playing through the missions you progress through the story of wars going on within Liberty City. You can also progress the story i your own way by visiting the contacts you want to complete missions for.
Or alternatively you can forget all that and just explore the map. There’s loads of hidden features on there including a tank which is hillarious fun! Sometimes its actually a lot more fun just to get the police chasing you around the city than actually playing the game and that I think is the beauty of GTA that I’ve never had teh chance to see before. You really can do anything!
Something which really please me is that this game is not just a port from another console, it was built from the
ground up purposely for the DS. This means that they’ve made great use of the touch screen. Most of the time it’s used for your GPS and map planning, but it’s also used in missions. You can say, throw a grenade with it, or a petrol bomb. If your playing firefighter you can use it to aim the direction of your water. When you steal a car, it’s used to deactivate the alarm system. It’s really pleasing to see a game designed for the DS and not just with rubbish extra touch controls tacked on.
The graphics are also a joy to behold. Unlike the more modern versions of the series, GTA Chinatown Wars has shunned realism for an almost cel-shaded look. This works very well and makes the most of the DS’s lower graphical capabilities. The frame rate is also excellent with no noticeable slow down at all, it’s all very very impressive for a DS game. It’s clear that this game has had an awful lot of work put into it unlike some of the rubbish available for DS these days.
Graphics: Fantastic , some of the best I have seen on the DS, a real credit to Rockstar’s development team
Sound: Fair , there’s nothing wrong with it, for the DS it’s quite good, but if anything is, then this is the games weak point.
Presentation: Fantastic , easy to understand and navigate around and presented in the style of a GPS system, similar to how the DSi’s menu looks.
Lifetime: Fantastic , There are plenty of missions to keep you going and after that it’ll take you ages to find and complete everything the game has!
Gameplay: Fantastic , simple controls, great fun to play, I now finally realise why this game has such a big following.
Final Thoughts: I really think it’s criminal that this games not selling. Maybe it’s because it’s too similar to previous GTA’s, but I fear not. For only £10 at certain retailers it’s an absolute steal and a must-own game!