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Grand Theft Auto Chinatown Wars (DS) The thread, previews, pics and more
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Thu, 22 Jan 2009 20:45:23
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Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars Screenshot

Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars Screenshot

Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars Screenshot

Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars Screenshot

Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars Screenshot

Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars Screenshot

Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars Screenshot

Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars Screenshot

Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars Screenshot

Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars Screenshot

Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars Screenshot

http://games.kikizo.com/features/gta-chinatown-wars-handson-p1.asp

As is the case with particular DS software that's had genuine time and effort go into it, the screenshots don't do justice to Chinatown Wars. Seeing the game moving and taking the time to play it, it quickly becomes obvious how much painstaking detail has gone into the production of the game, and how the world in motion lives up to the expectations you'd have from the company that brought you GTA IV.  

Elsewhere on the audio side of things, the music sounds pretty beefy, and is a nice combination of traditional eastern and modern western. In-game of course, you've got a choice of various radio stations. The radio music is all original, instrumental arrangement that makes good use of the limited game card capacity and does a good job of representing each of the music genres on offer, including electronic, hip-hop, dub, jazz, funk and rock.

If one of the main aims here was to combine the best elements of various GTA titles, then based on our first in-depth hands-on, Chinatown Wars may just pull it off.

http://www.gameplayer.com.au/gp_documents/090121GTAChinatownwars.aspx

From the high-speed car chases of GTA 1 and 2, to the innovative mission structures of GTA III, Vice City, and San Andreas, to the enormous playground of Liberty City witnessed in GTA IV, Chinatown Wars on DS is on track to serve up the best bits from one the finest videogame series ever made. In addition, the clean, slick PDA interface, along with the inventive new ways to interact with the world of Grand Theft Auto using the DS’s unique hardware capabilities, put Rockstar on track to deliver a mature, fun and entirely original GTA title that’ll make you all wish you had invested in a drool proof case for your DS

http://gamesblog.ugo.com/index.php/gamesblog/more/grand_theft_auto_chinatown_wars_first_look/

There’s a crapload to talk about with GTA: Chinatown Wars, so we’re going to roll out some of the remaining info over the rest of the week. For the time being, though, just know that this game has jumped to the top of my most anticipated DS games list. This is GTA people, and it looks like Rockstar’s doing it right.

http://www.gamedaily.com/games/grand-theft-auto-chinatown-wars/ds/game-previews/preview/7805/20649/

The thought and energy that has gone into creating an experience that's unlike any other DS game is instantly noticeable, though we have to say a little of its GTAness seems lost in the translation. The game experience almost perfectly mimics that of its big bro, GTA IV, but there's something missing without the fully realized 3-D version of Liberty City pimped out with special lighting effects and other visual details. Of course, it's totally unfair to compare a DS game to a full-blown 360/PS3 game, and if you've been dying to play a well-crafted M-rated game on your DS, Chinatown Wars is shaping up to be the answer to your socially unacceptable prayers. Look for the game on shelves (and let the protests begin) March 17.

http://uk.ds.ign.com/articles/946/946288p1.html

Martin: Well, it's obviously quite far removed from the splendour of GTA IV, but one of the first things that struck me while playing it was how accurate a depiction of Liberty City it was - having spent countless hours playing IV, rolling around in Chinatown Wars felt pleasantly familiar, with the layout of the city instantly recognisable. The 2.5D view didn't feel like too much of a compromise either - Rockstar said that this was the culmination of 10 years of GTA, and it felt that way. It nicely straddles the gap from the top-down GTA of old with the new 3D iterations, with more than a few little touches of its own.

Alex: It instantly felt like a GTA game, which for me is hugely important. I don't just mean you can nick cars and shoot people, but that the city and the story and the people you meet are stuck firmly in the GTA universe. Chinatown Wars does a pretty good job of squeezing Liberty City into a DS cart, which in itself is a hugely impressive feat.


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Thu, 22 Jan 2009 20:49:30
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This IGN UK chat about the game is well worth reading. Happy

One of the very few highlights of Nintendo's underwhelming E3 2008 conference, the announcement of Chinatown Wars for DS last July was a genuine surprise. The flurry of questions that followed have been hanging in the air for nigh-on six months now, with the famously tight-lipped Rockstar being more than typically reticent about its latest foray into Liberty City. So it was with some excitement that IGN UK's resident GTA experts Alex and Martin made the trip to Rockstar as the veil was finally lifted on Chinatown Wars...

Alex: You're a huge fan of GTA IV - what were your first impressions of Chinatown Wars?

Martin: Well, it's obviously quite far removed from the splendour of GTA IV, but one of the first things that struck me while playing it was how accurate a depiction of Liberty City it was - having spent countless hours playing IV, rolling around in Chinatown Wars felt pleasantly familiar, with the layout of the city instantly recognisable. The 2.5D view didn't feel like too much of a compromise either - Rockstar said that this was the culmination of 10 years of GTA, and it felt that way. It nicely straddles the gap from the top-down GTA of old with the new 3D iterations, with more than a few little touches of its own.

Alex: It instantly felt like a GTA game, which for me is hugely important. I don't just mean you can nick cars and shoot people, but that the city and the story and the people you meet are stuck firmly in the GTA universe. Chinatown Wars does a pretty good job of squeezing Liberty City into a DS cart, which in itself is a hugely impressive feat.

grand-theft-auto-chinatown-wars-20090120093950087-000.jpg


Martin: Rockstar told us something along the lines of there being more lines of code in Chinatown Wars than in San Andreas - impressive, but probably a breeze of guff to confound technically ignorant people like ourselves. But yeah, it did seem to squeeze a fair amount onto the cart - this Liberty City isn't quite as extensive or as detailed as its high-def stable-mate, but it comes closer than we had any right to expect.

Alex: Alderney is missing - there's no Triad presence there according to Rockstar so therefore no need to include it, although the more cynical among us might be inclined to think it's because of size restrictions - but personally I was impressed that the layout is pretty much the same. Not street for street, but most of the key landmarks are in there, and in roughly the right place. That Irish boozer, the Statue of Happiness, Middle Park... They're all in there.

Martin: The key locations were all present and correct, but one thing that hasn't fared too well from the transition is some of Rockstar's humour and the fine writing that marked out GTA IV. It might have been through the method of delivery - the lack of voice acting, though understandable, certainly makes a big impact - but some of the humour seemed sub-par, like the restaurant Yuan Lee - the lead - operates out that's called Sum Yung Guy. That's just some real low-grade stuff in my opinion.

Alex Simmons: And it's in Wayne's World, which is a rather odd reference point...

Martin: Whereas Niko's story in GTA IV was a surprisingly measured portrayal of an immigrant, this feels like lowest common denominator stuff - about a triad protecting an ancient sword, triads operating out of Chinese restaurants and so on. We only saw a little bit of the story, so I'm possibly being a little over-harsh, but it felt like a definite step back from the highs reached by GTA IV.

Alex: I know what you mean - it's almost as if the story has been put on the back-burner a bit, especially compared to GTA IV, and that the action itself is now the star of the show. Not that that's a particularly bad thing, considering how much effort has obviously gone into making Chinatown Wars make the most of the DS. I was really impressed with how the controls worked and how the minigames and DS functions all tied together. As a lefty it was a cinch to pick up and play, even though there were no specific left-handed controls.

Martin: Yeah, it plays exceptionally well. The mini-games in particular actually feel relevant to the action and their inclusion wasn't too jarring.

grand-theft-auto-chinatown-wars-20090120093949088-000.jpg


Alex: Totally. One of my main concerns was that they'd get in the way of the main event, but they pieced together very nicely. Even the opening scene, in which the lead character had to punch his way out of a sinking car by tapping the touch-screen to break the window, worked really well and added something to the gameplay. And that's just the tip of the iceberg - the sniper mission, where you had to build your rifle by screwing in the barrel, locking the scope onto the main rifle and so on, was awesome.

Martin: I could have assembled that sniper rifle all day - it felt so satisfying, slotting all the pieces into place. Jacking into cars - and there were different mini-games depending on which car you were jacking - also felt really good, be it jamming a screwdriver into the ignition or hotwiring a car.

Alex: I liked the way you were always up against a time limit - fail and the alarm goes off, causing the cops to close in on your tail. And on the subject of cops, what did you think of the reworked wanted system? Unlike GTA, which displayed police presence on your radar, here the number of cops on your tail depends on your star rating - so two cars for one star, four for two and so on. The police line of sight thing still works, so if you're spotted they keep chasing, but ultimately you have to shake them off by ramming them into cars and other obstacles. Simply driving as quickly as possible to get the heck out of there rarely worked because there were so many cops on the street, which weren't displayed on your HUD.

Martin: It's was a nice way of condensing the action down a little...

Alex: It felt a bit weird to begin with because I'm so used to using the radar to plan my escape route, whereas here you have to fight your way out.

Martin: But it's immensely satisfying, ramming a police car into the Humboldt river, and even more so when you're rewarded for doing so. It also makes for snappier chases overall, I think. The wanted system in GTA IV sometimes leads to uncomfortably epic chases and that wouldn't have translated well to a handheld. This way it's possible to have more bite-sized pursuits and it was an interesting solution that definitely worked - though you're right, it was jarring at first.

Alex: The cops were no slouches either and were very keen on pulling you out of your car the moment they boxed you in. Thankfully the combat system worked well. The auto lock-on meant it was easily to mow your way through dozens of enemies with ease, plus I liked the way they implemented the grenade throwing - using the stylus to determine the power and direction of a throw.

Martin: It definitely felt more akin to the GTA of old, the way the action played out on foot - but that's no criticism.

Alex: It feels much more arcadey compared to GTA IV and you're right, it felt a bit more like a throwback to Vice City et al.

Martin: I was even thinking way back to GTA I and II. The violence is a little more exaggerated - there's the lovely squelching sound when you run people over makes that helps get that across.

Alex: Ah man, the Molotov mission was awesome - lobbing Molotovs while hanging out of a helicopter, then waiting for the resulting chorus of screams as your enemies burned alive. Gloriously sadistic! Plus I liked the way had to make them, by going to the gas station and filling up bottles at the pump. Another example of a really well-integrated mini-game.

Martin: Right, though I'm sure if I went to my local Esso station and started filling empty Smirnoff bottles with petrol the attendant might want to have a word with me. You must be pleased that helicopters have made it over to the DS as well, right?

grand-theft-auto-chinatown-wars-20090120093947947-000.jpg


Alex: We'll have to wait and see - sure they're in there, but from what we've seen you can only ride them, not pilot them, although it's nice to see that a bunch of other vehicles made it in. Bikes, loads of cars, boats, jet-skis...

Martin: It's a fairly generous selection, plus the handling of each vehicle felt pretty distinctive as well. When Rockstar were discussing the assisted handling I was a little dubious as to how it would play, but it didn't feel like too much of a hindrance and was also optional.

Alex: I thought it made the whole process of negotiating narrow streets much more enjoyable, allowing you to focus on squeezing between cars rather than lining up your car to the road before flooring it. I'm definitely a fan of the auto-align. I'm also pleased additional stuff like the stunt jumps are in there, plus the toll boots (including another mini-game, where you need to flick coins into the basket) and the taxis. I also like the fact you can hail a taxi by whistling into the mic, although you'll probably just want to press a button if you're playing on the train.

Martin: The stunt jumps were a little different as well - if I remember rightly each one involved smashing through a billboard -which proved quite exciting if pulled off in the middle of a chase.

Alex: Yeah, and the tyre burn was a neat idea - revving up the engine before burning away to leave a trail of flames behind you. You could even burn victims of you timed it correctly!

Martin: Yeah, that's another example of the more light-hearted approach to Liberty City after the frequently sombre GTA IV. And burning people's a laugh. I wonder if the procession of Hare Krishna devotees return?

Alex: And the rampages? I don't know but I certainly hope so. They'd fit in perfectly with this realisation of Liberty City.

Martin: Definitely - it feels more like an out and out videogame than GTA IV. What was your take on the security camera system?

Alex: I think it's a good idea, although I hope it doesn't become overbearing. Certainly, I'll look to make cash by wisely flogging on whatever I happening to be carrying, but I cannot see myself spending hours working the market to maximise profits. I can see that people will - the whole finance system that underpins the game is pretty deep - but personally I'd rather go crazy with an Uzi than sell acid on a street corner.

Martin: I'm also more inclined to dish out some bullets than get into fiscal negotiations, but I'm pleased it's in there, as it adds some depth for those who think being able to shoot people isn't enough. The idiots.

Alex: It's also worth noting that the security cameras work a bit like hidden packages of old - there are a specific number dotted around the city. Take them all out and you'll get something sweet. What did you think about the missions we played?

Martin: Genuinely varied, which will be welcomed by those who found GTA IV a little repetitive. Like we said earlier, the integration of mini-games was always thoughtful - personal favourites were assembling the sniper rifle and cracking the safe. And there seems to be more scope than the typical drive from point A to point B, take out X and drive to point C.

Alex: That's one thing I didn't really get a feel for - how much there is to do outside of the main campaign. Obviously there's Clucking Bell, the security cameras and so on - but I wonder what other incidental stuff will feature

grand-theft-auto-chinatown-wars-20090120093945900-000.jpg


Martin: From what we saw of Yuan Lee's apartment - where it was possible to get on the internet, and where a whiteboard collated in-game information and allowed you to replay missions - there will be a fair amount. And of course there's the drug-running mini-game that's likely to consume many people.

Alex: So, as a fan of the series, how do you think it compared to, say, GTA IV? Personally I think it's exactly the kind of game I'd want on DS, in the same way that Liberty City Stories and Vice City Stories worked really well on PSP.

Martin: The Rockstar rep was trying to tell us it's the best GTA yet - I wouldn't go that far, but I'd say it already looks like a better proposition than the PSP outings. I never felt those games sat happily on a handheld and felt shoehorned onto the PSP, whereas the bespoke nature of Chinatown Wars means it's got much more going for it.

Alex: I played through both PSP games and enjoyed them but this has certainly been made from the ground up with the DS in mind, which will definitely work in its favour. Also, amidst countless pet care and self-help games it's a joy to actually get stuck into something with a bit more of an edge. In that respect Chinatown Wars is definitely something the DS is in need off.

Martin: Yeah, the first 18 rated game on the DS - I can't wait

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Wed, 28 Jan 2009 00:11:43
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I've been more excited about this since I found out that use of the stylus is limited.  Not sold on the shooting yet, I'd have to see more how it works.  

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Wed, 28 Jan 2009 10:51:07
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aspro73 said:
I've been more excited about this since I found out that use of the stylus is limited.  Not sold on the shooting yet, I'd have to see more how it works.  

Good to see you Aspro. Nice to see someone interested in this game here. I think Edgecrusher is but he sticks to GGWeekly, where we all hang out during the week mostly.

What exictes me about his game is the return to OTT ridiculous stuff like blood stains on the floor and mototovs from helicoptors. Just complete carnage. And that its a proper GTA game as long and as full as a home console version based on a solid engine. It really snuck up on me. I had played the Max Payne conversion on gba by the same devs so I knew that they were a team that could build handheld experiences that emulated console games very well.

I hear you are an Animal Crossing fan? We have a massive thread here, if you have City Folk we can exchange codes?

Me, travo and SteelAttack have the game.

Edited: Wed, 28 Jan 2009 11:01:07

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Wed, 28 Jan 2009 17:22:06
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I'm getting WiiSpeak. Soon.
This game? I dunno. I have a shit ton of DS games to pick up and few extra bucks to spare.
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Wed, 28 Jan 2009 20:02:56
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Yeah but it's only $40 and if Rockstar is spending as much time on it as they have it's going to have to be at least decent.  They need a piece of that DS market and if they can set up the franchise they'll have enough money to buy Luxembourg (finally!).

gg, yeah I'm a big AC fan, but I'll PM you on my situation later, but essentially I am broadband-enabled only through a USB device and my home consoles are packed up right now and I'm limited to handhelds.

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Wed, 28 Jan 2009 21:13:03
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aspro73 said:
Yeah but it's only $40 and if Rockstar is spending as much time on it as they have it's going to have to be at least decent.  They need a piece of that DS market and if they can set up the franchise they'll have enough money to buy Luxembourg (finally!).

gg, yeah I'm a big AC fan, but I'll PM you on my situation later, but essentially I am broadband-enabled only through a USB device and my home consoles are packed up right now and I'm limited to handhelds.

Oh no.

Interestingly Rockstar for some bizaare reason said that they are using this game as an indicator as to whether these sorts of games would work on Wii too. The assumption being that the nintendo consumer is the same across portable and home console.

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Wed, 28 Jan 2009 21:44:14
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It's a broad assumption, yeah, but I think for the most part it holds.  

When I read that I heard, "If this game fails it's because of the audience, not our crap game".

I can't see it failing though.

It's smart though, like what SEGA has been saying about their counter-programming strategy on the Wii. There is an experienced base of gaming users on the Wii who are hungry for content that mirrors their other pop-cultural inputs -- who are not currently being served.  

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Thu, 29 Jan 2009 11:02:05
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aspro73 said:
It's a broad assumption, yeah, but I think for the most part it holds.  

When I read that I heard, "If this game fails it's because of the audience, not our crap game".

I can't see it failing though.

It's smart though, like what SEGA has been saying about their counter-programming strategy on the Wii. There is an experienced base of gaming users on the Wii who are hungry for content that mirrors their other pop-cultural inputs -- who are not currently being served.  

I hear that Chinatown wars is the only 18 rated game on DS. They might have been better served dropping the F-Bombs for a 15 rating. I'm not sure that the newer GTA players will associate this game with the the modern GTA games. They might not recognise the top down view older gamers remember from PC and PSX.

But the problem is if gamers see this as a cheap, knock it out licenced title like so much on gba and DS actually is.

I like what SEGA are doing, but I don't think they are being as brave on the system as they appear to be. From Platinum games interviews it sounds like SEGA took them as a package and that they have complete creative freedom. SEGA said they wanted a wii game and this is what Platinum came up with. The Conduit was 75% finished and self funded mostly, SEGA just have to do the marketing and distribution and throw some cash to High Voltage. House of the Dead isn't that much of a risk given Umbrella Chronicles 1.5 million sales.

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Thu, 29 Jan 2009 20:27:20

Hey look:

http://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/news_index.php?story=22073

The launch of Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars on Nintendo DS will be key for Take-Two's future on the giant's market-leading Wii and DS, says Cowen Group analyst Doug Creutz.

Creutz, who says he came away from a management visit with Take-Two feeling "bullish" both about the market and the company itself, said in a note to investors that Chinatown Wars will be "an important test of Take-Two's ability to make inroads on Nintendo's wildly successful DS and Wii platforms."

And the analyst suggests Nintendo has something to gain, too: "Nintendo wants their platforms to appeal to all gamer segments(not just casual/family) and views Take-Two's IP as an important driver of core gamer interest," he says.

Creutz also observed that Take-Two's already begun an "increased focus on costs" at Rockstar following the recently-signed profit-sharing deal with the studio's key employees.

Finally, Creutz said Take-Two's management continues to be "frustrated" with used games sales trends spearheaded by retailer GameStop. Take-Two in particular frequently expresses concern at lost revenues due to resales.

Take-Two is "examining ways to ameliorate the problem,
which includes strategies around online play and downloadable content which extend the lifespan of AAA titles," Creutz concludes.  

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Thu, 29 Jan 2009 21:03:26

gamingeek said:

I like what SEGA are doing, but I don't think they are being as brave on the system as they appear to be. From Platinum games interviews it sounds like SEGA took them as a package and that they have complete creative freedom. 

 I see what you are saying -- that SEGA may be spinning faced with the reality that Platinum has delivered them.

Even with the limited audience (by rating) that Rockstar has inflicted on CW, I see it doing well.  It's so cheap, if the hype can firmly establish that this is NOT GTA2 with asians I think it will move.  

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Fri, 30 Jan 2009 12:04:40

I hope so, the thing is though, that because of the DS's limited visuals, it has bright, cel shaded graphics that would appeal more to a DS audience anyway and mitigate the violence rating, so I just don't see the need to limit themselves by saying F*** all the time.

It's not the smart thing to do. I hope that gamers don't just ignore this game as a cash in portable game.

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Sat, 31 Jan 2009 10:20:03

aspro73 said:

gg, yeah I'm a big AC fan, but I'll PM you on my situation later, but essentially I am broadband-enabled only through a USB device and my home consoles are packed up right now and I'm limited to handhelds.

wow so similar to the same exact situation i've been in the last several months.  can only play on my consoles on sunday and most of the time i can't be bothered to be unpacking and reconnecting and so on just for a couple of hours of playtime.

not sure about chinatown wars yet.  i hated the first gta and gta london and regardless of what people say this still reminds me of those.  i have to wait and see.  looking forward to reading impressions and opinions from the people here at vgpress whose views i respect more than any game journalist and whose taste i can mostly rely on.

___

Listen to Wu-Tang and watch Kung-Fu

The VG Press

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Sun, 01 Feb 2009 14:08:27
One thing that encourages me is that the camera rotates so the controls aren't all messed up given your direction.

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Sat, 07 Feb 2009 13:52:21

Joystiq preview

Screenshots don't do the game justice. The graphics are quite impressive, with full 3D models, an incredible amount of texture variety, and a very steady framerate. Of course it comes nowhere close to the fidelity of the PSP games, but the team at Rockstar Leeds has created a sharp, clean look that works within the limitations of the DS hardware.

The title is rather misleading, as the game's scope extends far beyond Chinatown. Liberty City is fully re-created, minus Alderney, and anyone who has played GTA IV knows full well how much territory there is to cover. Almost everything you'd expect in a GTA game can be seen on the screen. Pedestrians are active participants in the environment, stopping at hot dog stands, opening umbrellas when it rains, etc. The audio is equally impressive, with some great tunes to be heard on the game's variety of radio stations

Chinatown Wars is very easy to get in to, but in typical GTA fashion, there's a lot to do. The mission variety is terrific. In the hour we spent with the game, we were able to partake in simple drive-by shootings and the aforementioned sniping missions. We do know there are other odd jobs for the player to partake in, the most publicized being the game's drug trade system, along with activities like food delivery and firefighting. Rampage, a classic GTA mode, also makes a much-welcomed return.


Edited: Sat, 07 Feb 2009 13:55:46

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Sun, 08 Feb 2009 13:36:04

Grand Theft Auto Chinatown Wars : more screenshots

Grand Theft Auto Chinatown Wars : more screenshotsGrand Theft Auto Chinatown Wars : more screenshots


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Mon, 09 Feb 2009 01:08:26
Sweet (Sniper Rifle).  I just pre-ordered on amazon.com $34.99 USD.

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Mon, 09 Feb 2009 11:48:25
I just read, the game has online co-op. Shame my internet security negates online DS play.

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Mon, 09 Feb 2009 19:32:43

http://www.officialnintendomagazine.co.uk/article.php?id=7106

Grand Theft Auto is coming to DS and it's looking awesome. But that's not all you need to know about Rockstar Leeds' epic new iteration of the most controversial series in gaming history.

Since its surprise announcement last year, we've wondered exactly how on earth you could fit Grand Theft Auto's vibrant world of guns and gangsters onto the DS without making some serious compromises. We feared a repeat of the disappointing Grand Theft Auto Advance we saw four years ago on the GBA, but one hands-on session with Chinatown Wars has changed all that. No doubt you'll have a lot of questions about the game - so we're going to answer them for you.

What's The Story?
You are Huang Lee, a young member of the Chinese Triad Crime syndicate on his way to Liberty City after the assassination of your father in Hong Kong. Huang is on his way to meet Uncle Wu 'Kenny' Lee and deliver the Yu Jian sword. What his uncle doesn't know is that while the word is revered, it was actually won by Lee's father in a card game. So in actual fact, your in-game father was a bit of a cad - drink, drugs and women were more his thing.

So despite your father's misdemeanours, you're on a mission to solve the mystery behind your father's death, partly out of a sense of justice but also because it'll ensure you get a big chunk of cash from your recently deceased Dad.

Of course, upon landing at Francis International Airport, you get ambushed and end up frantically trying to escape a car that has been driven into a river. Punching the window out with the touch screen sets you free, and you can begin your quest to find would-be assassins.

How Does It Work On DS?
As you can see from the screens on these pages, it's a top-down interpretation of Grand Theft Auto that will be familiar to anyone that has played the pre-3D GTAs of old. But that's not to say it's a step backwards for the series - this is still very much a fully-blown Grand Theft Auto game and it squeezes every last drop of graphical oomph out of the humble DS. Cruising around the streets of Liberty City is much more impressive than the screens on these pages might at first suggest - the action moves fast and the in-game and cut scene art style really works. On foot, you can lock on to targets and switch between them quite simply, and the gunfights are frantic - Rockstar hasn't held back when it comes to the weapons available and the sheer number of people on screen at one time is extremely impressive.

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How Is The Touch Screen Used?
Alongside the usual map and weapon selection, your PDA is used to communicate with the other in-game characters and take on the various missions, but most intriguing are the context-sensitive mini-games that regularly pop up. In the time we spent with Chinatown Wars, we assembled a sniper rifle, cracked a safe and rummaged through a skip with the touch screen - and it all worked really well. These interludes are not the tacked-on mini-games that we've seen so often and they genuinely add to the experience rather than get in the way.
Chucking grenades and Molotov cocktails around is also down to the flick of a wrist on the bottom screen. In one mission we administered some fiery justice from a helicopter with infinite Molotov cocktails at our disposal. Also, there's a nice touch with the mic - you can whistle for a cab if the mood takes you.

Is It Really A 'Proper' GTA Game?
A thousand times yes. Right from the impressive intro sequence the tone is set - there's lots of swearing, the cut scenes are bursting with character and once you get to play the game itself, it's genuinely surprising just how much Rockstar Leeds has managed to cram into Chinatown Wars. There really are no half measures here.

On first impressions, the missions are as varied and imaginative as ever, and the side missions are plentiful. In particular, the drug dealing element - controversial as it may be - has enough depth to be treated as more than a mere side quest. Obviously this is a game for adults, so younger gamers should be steering well clear, but from what we saw it offers empire-building potential as you ferry your contraband across Liberty City, buying and selling to turn as big a profit as possible.

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How Big Is It?
Huge. For those familiar with the series, the map is based upon the Liberty City of GTA IV, with only one of the four boroughs - Alderney - missing. To have squeezed all this into one DS cart is quite an achievement in itself, so add in all the missions, cut scenes, weapons, mini-games and side quests and you've got an impressive package. The team at Rockstar Leeds have previous form here - they crammed GTA: Liberty City Stories and Vice City Stories onto PSP and have done a similarly impressive job here.

There's a full day/night cycle, dynamic weather, the usual in-car radio stations and there's an autosave function when you close your DS. Rockstar Leeds has performed a minor miracle in terms of cramming in the extras and quirks that make GTA games really stand out from the crowd.

Will It Be Any Good?
It's looking very promising indeed. The driving is fast-paced and fun, the on-foot combat is chaotic and overblown, and as long as Rockstar maintain the same sense of mission variety that it is famed for, then we're onto a winner here. Chinatown Wars could be an absolutely massive title for the DS in 2009. Roll on 20 March...

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Country: US
Comments: 31738
News Posts: 1717
Joined: 2008-06-22
 
Mon, 09 Feb 2009 21:34:15
Looks so freaking awesome, i was a fan of the original GTA so this is a great reminder of that game.
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