CGRundertow GRAND THEFT AUTO: CHINATOWN WARS for Nintendo DS Video Game Review

CGRundertow GRAND THEFT AUTO: CHINATOWN WARS for Nintendo DS Video Game Review


Grand Theft Auto’s one of those venerable
names that seems to turn everything it touches to gold. It’s also another example of one
of those series where – like Persona and Mega Man – everyone seems to have the third one,
to the exclusion of their earlier counterparts. By the third iteration, you’ve established
enough of yourself that, if you make a change, it’s more noticeable. But, invariably, these
games return to their roots. Persona declined to re-vamp the earlier entries in the style
of P3 when republishing them for the PSP, Mega Man scrapped mechanics like sliding and
the whole Doc Robot revisitation crap for its 9th entry, and Grand Theft Auto… Well,
it sheds some of its 3D patina. The whole of Liberty City, for the first time, on the
DS. And you don’t even need any mind-altering substances to enjoy it.
Befitting the name, you’re in the role of an heir to a prominent Triad family in Liberty
City, and soon find yourself embroiled in the constant gang wars that seem to be that
town’s reason for living. How soon? Well, you’re shot in the head right as you get
off the plane, then dumped in the water and left for dead. But since that’d make a terrible
game, you utilize the touchscreen to break out of the car (in defiance of a number of
episodes of MythBusters), swim to safety (thus putting you leagues ahead of that doofus from
GTA3), and hotwire a car with your stylus-slash- screwdriver. The inclusion of DS-centric touch
elements feels organic enough, but can seem to slow the pace a bit if you’re used to
the frantic “GET IN THE CAR” action of its predecessors. And while the comicbook-style
thick lines and mostly-overhead view feels like a throwback
to GTAs 1, 2, and London ‘69, the rather close camera and dependence on the GPS on
the bottom screen can make actually getting around Liberty City a bit tricky. This isn’t
aided by the fact that, apparently in response to its reputation as a wretched hive of scum
and villainy, every third car or so is a police cruiser. I think cops outnumber bystanders
in this game. Fortunately, though, you can shed your wanted level by making cops wreck.
And in this game, that ain’t tough. So how does Chinatown Wars compensate for
its dialed-back DS version? Well, by keeping
the writing – and innuendo – as fresh and sound
as ever, improving the PDA interface to… well, an actual touchscreen, and introducing
a drug-dealing mechanic so you can take advantage of the vice market for your own personal gain.
Yep, peddle E, green, and smack, wherever you are, without any consequences for those
actions! (So long as it all takes place within the game.) There’ve been sandbox games for
a long time, exemplified by this series, but rarely are you given a market scenario to
manipulate. You get to manage risk and reward, as carrying more contraband on your person
increases your potential profits… unless you get busted and lose it all. That’s what
Chinatown Wars comes down to. Grand Theft Auto meets Recettear. And I think I’m going
to hell for that sentence, but at least I’ll have something to keep me busy.

72 thoughts on “CGRundertow GRAND THEFT AUTO: CHINATOWN WARS for Nintendo DS Video Game Review

  1. True no other GTA is as good as the PC version of Vice City, but this is still a really awesome game for a handheld machine, and one that needed some more adult games at the time of Chinatown Wars release, and a shame it did not sell more copies, cause if it did, there might have been a DS and/or 3DS squeal.

  2. I loved this game on the DS, I think it was a really well made GTA game for the DS. I actually like the 2D style GTA for some reason alittle better. I spent more time playing this then any other GTA…

  3. It's actually easier to navigate the city compared to most of it's predecessors IMO
    Just need to set a way point and arrows on the road show you where to go.

    I'm not sure the reviewer knows about this.

  4. This is the only GTA of all I really finished. Loved this game!! I´ve just bought in on iPad and it also feels good – if you forget about touch control..

  5. all you dumbasses comparing this to console GTA games are missing the point of this game which is random shits and giggles not meant to be taken seriously

  6. ugh every time i see a that TJ is the reviewer on a video i ended up not watching.. i hate his style of review too much unnecessary blabbering.. this guy is pulling undertow down..!

  7. Why review a game Mark already reviewed? Is everyone going to copy everyone? Will Derek review this game one day?

  8. Great game, the cop chases are very fun with the way you have to take them out to get your wanted level down. Should defiantly get a follow up on 3DS,Vita, Ios

  9. it was in the ds first
    and not everyone owns a psp
    thats why (plus its the exact same game and cheaper)

  10. i have this game for Ds Psp and iphone
    im going to get killed for saying this
    but this if my favorite GTA game

  11. I have both DS & PSP versions of Chinatown Wars. I really enjoyed them even though I'm not the biggest GTA fan.
    Only thing to complain for me is that I wish there would have been more stuff to do with your hard earned money. I know you can buy houses & lottery tickets, but that's not enough for me.

  12. this was better than those 3d gta games on psp, there was much more to do in chinatown wars, for example the drug dealing in this game is so fun, you can also ride in taxi's, manually hotwire cars, play the lottery, eat a hot dog,order ammunation guns over the internet and have them delivered to your house, ect. and the city was bigger than both liberty city stories and vice city stories combined because it's the SAME CITY from gta 4,

  13. I have this game on both PSP & Nintendo DS.
    This is a fun game. I really enjoyed playing this, althought some of the missions are pretty tough.
    Only thing I would complaing is that with all the money you have, you don't have much to do. There should have been more stuff to buy than houses, guns & drugs.
    Still this is awesome game.
    Now why they didn't do a new GTA on Nintendo 3DS? WHY!?

  14. the best way to play this game. psp go connected to hd tv with bluetooth ps3 controller, pure bliss. i hate swapping from buttons and touchscreen on the ds amd the graphics are far behind psp

  15. This game is still so fun. Its so distinctively grand theft auto but also so unique compared to the console versions. I just bought a copy of this off Amazon last week to relive my childhood memories of digitally slanging powders and pills and crashing cop cars. I love the radio stations too!

  16. I have Chinatown Wars on both PSP & Nintendo DS.
    I haven't played them for a long time at this point, but I did play them for many hours back in the past.
    Chinatown Wars is a fun game & not a bad as an Grand Theft Auto game.
    Hopefully we'll see another GTA made on the 3DS and/or Vita.

  17. Best game for Nintendo Ds, and one of the best GTA ever!!
    Do not underestimate it because is for Nintendo Ds fellas!
    Give it a try and it will blow your minds up!

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