by Daniel de Bruyne
GTA Chinatown Wars was originally released on the Nintendo DS earlier this year and now the boys from Rockstar have ported it over to the PSP.
While the game was met with critical acclaim all around, the sales were not great which makes you wonder if the PSP audience are more likely to pick it up and enjoy it when compared to the DS market. One of the greatest features of the DS version was the use of the stylus and how well Rockstar understood what a mobile game should be.
Was the port to PSP successful or have Rockstar wasted their time? Find out by reading our full review below.
“I love this city!” is not something you’ll only hear npc’s mumbling as you pass them by, but after a short while you might find that sentence coming from somewhere else…your lips. Flying in from out of town, you will start this epic journey as Huang Lee, son of a recently deceased and well respected syndicate boss with the simple task of delivering a valuable family heirloom in the form of a sword to your uncle in Chinatown, but simple is just not fun, so having barely got off the plane you will quickly find yourself mugged and shot at with a plethora of issues to deal with, and the fact that the precious sword goes missing and leaves you on the bottom rung looking to make amends, with plenty of motivation to climb your way back up.
Here is where this release earns big points, in that there are no long waiting periods or lengthy intro videos or cut scenes to introduce you to the game or keep you from your road of rampage (as you have already waited long enough for developer splashes and intro screens as the game boots up), this game puts you to work from the get go and in no time you have already witnessed your first murder, jacked a car, driven over a bunch of hapless civilians and “Wow, that’s some good shit, I can feel my dick shrinking already” pretty much sets the tone for your deliciously lucrative drug dealings.
Although the PSP is well equipped for more advanced 3D views, the traditional top-down view has been faithfully retained in this PSP release of GTA so with that nice wide PSP screen, navigating whatever mode of transport you are using is slick and easy. You are outfitted with a sort of “all in one” GPS system which not only helps you plot new destinations or get back to old ones, but it also stores all of your e-mails (you even get spam), keeps track of important contacts, keeps you informed of your current objectives and trade portfolios, purchase ammo from the “online” ammunition store, change the radio station, hook up with friends for multi player games and of course save your game. A lot of these features can also be used from your safe house/s (as you can own many) where you keep your trophies, stash your drugs, get away from those pesky pigs that are around every corner annoyingly motivated to bust you whether you’re driving like a bat out of hell, dealing drugs, gunning down gangs or adding to the cities road kill count.
Liberty City is designed to be the ultimate hoodlums’ sandbox with tons to do, besides for the obvious car jackings which are quite a bit of fun as you will need to remove kick panels, crack coded alarms and bust sticky ignitions with a screwdriver among others, you will also find yourself digging in dumpsters for weapons, food and other stuff, (I even found a dildo, no I’m not kidding), racing against rival gangs, delivering meals in noodle runs, hitting ramps at high speed for extra credit, playing lotto scratch cards, hijacking taxis and making money from fares, joyriding on jet-skis and boats, chauffeuring porn stars to their auditions while they rock the limousine to their pleasure, making Molotov cocktails and burning down stores, the list just goes on, and what is great, is that doing all of these things with the control set-up is easy on the PSP.
Chinatown Wars looks and sounds great as with all GTA releases, the funky soundtracks coupled with the dynamic lighting and smooth pixel display keeps everything easy on the eyes during the day, night, rain and fog, while at the same time giving Liberty City that menacing pale hue so distinctly necessary in large crime infested filth polluted cities. It does seem that this game is a bit heavy on the UMD and battery life seems to suffer more than most games, but nothing to worry about.
You can pick up GTA Chinatown Wars and play for hours with tons of little tasks to keep you busy, or you can just run a few quick errands or drug deals while you are waiting in that annoying queue or taking the bus home, there is always something to do. Seriously though, this game is not for youngsters and the user rating should be adhered to as there is a lot more than to encounter than just bad language, in fact I think this game creates job opportunities, in that real criminals should just pick up a copy of this game to let out all their criminal tendencies during the evening, so they can get a decent day job.
In my opinion, besides for GTA Chinatown Wars being rather adult in genre and nature, this is the way hand-held games should be made, especially with the technology now available for hand-held devices and I personally give the developers of this game two thumbs up for making such a well rounded and fully comprehensive title, most definitely a proverbial notch on the action shooter holster for Rockstar games on PSP.
9/10 and Addictive
Last Updated: November 19, 2009