So the next installment of the Grand Theft Auto series is here: GTA Chinatown Wars. I got my hands on this game and I have to say, WOW!!! Going back to its 2d roots, GTA Chinatown Wars is the first GTA game developed solely for the Nintendo DS.
The game takes place in the GTA4 version of Liberty City without Alderney, the faux New Jersey. Our hero, Huang Lee, the spoiled son of a recently murdered Triad boss, arrives by plane in Liberty City. With him is Yu Jian, a sword that Huang's father won in a poker game, and has decided to use as an heirloom, to deliver it to the new patriarch of the family, Huang's uncle Wu "Kenny" Lee. Shortly after landing, Huang's escorts are killed by assassins, then Huang is shot (in the side of the head but survived) and kidnapped. The assailants steal the sword and thinking Huang is dead, dump his body in the water. Huang manages to survive and informs Kenny that Yu Jian has been taken. Kenny explains that he had intended to offer the sword to Hsin Jaoming, the aging Triad boss in Liberty City, as a means of securing a position as his replacement. Kenny is dishonored and reduced in power due to the loss of Yu Jian, leaving him and Huang working to keep their businesses afloat.
GTA Chinatown Wars provides loads of fun things to do around town such as drug dealing and go kart racing. Of course, I enjoyed the drug dealing more than anything. Just like everyone says, "It takes money to make money", and that is the concept you have to keep in mind with drug dealing. You'll have to buy drugs then sell them, hopefully making a profit. Like real life, you have to watch out for the cops or they will bust you, taking your stash with them. Now because it's a new game for the DS, there are some new things Rockstar added to the game such as hot wiring cars and hacking into them too and the classic screwdriver into the ignition. All of these are done using the touch screen leaving the top screen available as a looking tool just in case you're being chased by the cops. Another new feat that I enjoyed saving $10-$15 for is the Liberty City Lotto cards. Like a real lotto ticket, you scratch the ticket to see if you've won money, health, food, or in some cases, property. This game also includes a GPS which makes finding missions a breeze but I primarily used it for finding drug dealers since they send you emails (also a new feature). As I mentioned earlier, this GTA game goes back to the 2d GTA games from back when. The whole 2d vs. 3d has been a touchy subject with the GTA series because some insist that the 2d GTA games were better. Of course, those people are fucking blind idiots whose opinion is about as flawed as a penis with two holes. Going 3d not only improved the series, but it helped changed the industry around altogether.
In its 2d world, GTA Chinatown Wars has a lot of the city to explore. On screen, everything looks great with the use of cel-shading. By keeping the world in 2d, this allows for a lot of action and details on screen keeping up with the living city that has become a mainstay in the GTA series. With the perspective being at an angle, the game is not a straight top-down view allowing for a little more of the world to be seen at once. Last but not least the music. In this GTA game you get a few radio stations, but not like the bigger consoles where it's full songs so that means no awesome commercials or long and pointless but funny talk shows. Once again, Nintendo's decision for crappy storage for their game leads to a game inferior to other versions.
While online play is there, the game doesn't have a focus on good online play making it more of an afterthought. Hopefully this game will make it to the home consoles for some touch ups such as more music and voice acting.