This is a guest review by Blues
Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars (GTA CW) is not the first time the GTA games have made their way to the Nintendo handhelds, in the past sticking to the top down style of the original games and being limited by the capabilities of the Gameboy Colour and the Gameboy Advance the results were average at best, the DS has finally received a GTA worthy of a Nintendo handheld. Itís amazing that this game has seen release on the DS given the shift in audiences over recent years and the tendency for GTA to upset people, Nintendo has let Rockstar release a game that is uncensored in its language, acts of violence and drug trading and surprisingly has not got it censored in Australia. They also let Rockstar make a GTA for the DS that is big in size and aims to keep you occupied in Liberty City for a while, all the while making a game that is a load of fun.Story
The game starts off Huang arrives in Liberty City, his father has been killed and a sword that is important to the triad has been stolen, an assassination attempt later Huang is out on the streets looking for revenge while helping rebuild his Uncles reputation and doing odd jobs to try and get names so he can avenge his father. It is the usual tale of revenge, honour, deception and betrayal, all told through still (or very slightly animated) screen cutscenes with text and emails that get sent to your in game PDA/GPS. If youíve been spoilt by the big console versions it might be a step down from proper cutscenes, but youíre not playing GTA 4 here and sacrifices have to be made to fit in all the game play and full on cutscenes and voice acting are pretty limited in the best of DS games. The story is serviceable enough for the game and while it isnít award winning it doesnít suck either, the main thing youíll be focussing on is the missions and the handheld Liberty City. Gameplay
The story missions are what forms structured part of the game and thankfully the missions vary enough to keep things from getting stagnant given that there are quite a few GTA games out there now, but it is still your usual GTA experience and you have your simple group of missions; taking down someone, deliveries, escorting people about or make an example of someone. There are plenty of missions and the addition of the touchscreen minigames can pop out of nowhere and mix up the gameplay a little, the most common example given is assembling a sniper rifle there is also going down to the petrol station and filling up bottles to make Molotov cocktails, escaping from sinking cars, keeping people alive while you transport them to the hospital and hotwiring parked cars, every now and then a new action will pop up so it pays to keep the stylus close and ready to use. While there is no complaints about the missions themselves, in fact itís the first GTA where I havenít gotten to a mission so annoying that I stop playing for a while and let the game gather dust, the missions are very much on the easy side. While not everyone will have the same amount of ease getting through missions you will be hard pressed to find a moment where you throw the DS across the room. The missions are not usually long which is most likely due the portable nature of the DS and you canít save during a mission, thankfully you can save anytime outside of a mission and it also autosaves whenever you complete a one as well, gone are the days of only the safehouses being your save point.
While there is plenty of missions given to you through the story portion of the game there is thankfully lots to do on the side. The whole of Liberty City is open to you from the beginning, early on you are introduced to the Drug trade which I will go into later and you are given the means to go hunting down the surveillance cameras which serve as this games secret packages. Additionally there are plenty of races dotted around the city and plenty of vehicle based missions like firefighting, delivery, rushing people to hospital and vigilante missions all you need to do is steal the right vehicle, rampage missions also make a return. There is plenty to do in the game should you get tired of story missions, next to the story you will probably sink a lot of time into the games Drug trade. Essentially it involves moving around the city trading with the dealers, most of the time you probably wonít deal with them until you receive a tip-off from them about someone wanting to offload some cheap drugs or are willing to pay generously for some, money in the game is not in abundance and if you want to be able to purchase properties and purchase weaponry chances are you will need to put in the legwork. On top of the usual vehicle based missions there is also warehouse raids and hijacking supply vans from the different gangs or Ammunation, neither of these have shown to have a high yield other than getting some drugs or powerful weapons earlier than you can buy them, this also means ammo is limited so you probably wonít use them until you want to stir up some trouble while getting about the city as the missions never get so tough that you cannot get through them without a trusty SMG. The culmination of all these missions and oddjobs should keep your overall game time over 15 hours at least, unless you rush through the story and do the minimal in which you could probably reduce that time but then youíre not really getting the most out of the game and youíll never get anywhere near 100% completion.