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Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars Review - Nintendo DS

Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars Review

Posted by Thomas Worthington at Tue, Mar 31 2009 10:56:23 CDT 1012 views

Grand Theft Auto moves from console dominance to spend some time on the DS, but how does the big game on the little system hold up?

You probably wouldn’t be surprised if I told you that we here at That Gaming Site have had enough of the Grand Theft Auto series. In the past 12 months we’ve already experienced plenty of fully fledged rampages in the highly anticipated Grand Theft Auto IV, followed by the Lost & Damned DLC earlier this year. And so here we are with yet another GTA title is hitting the streets: Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars.

Chinatown arrives on Nintendo DS as a highly ambitious release. Entries in such a popular series demand a high level of polish, story-telling and content to be considered worthy of the Rockstar name. Then again, when your task is to shoehorn an enormous, open world playground into the lowest powered console on the market, generally aimed at kids and grannies, you’ve got an enormous task on your hands. But can Chinatown Wars live up the name?

Chinatown’s story follows spoiled brat Huang Lee as he arrives in Liberty city, shortly following his father’s untimely death. Huang has been tasked with the delivery of his father’s sacred sword to his Uncle Kenny. Moments after stepping off the plane in America, Lee is ambushed, robbed and left for dead in a car sinking into the sea. Getting back on his feet, Lee searches for those who have stolen his father’s sword and, as in any GTA title, gets sidetracked along the way by an array of characters fighting for city dominance and seeking his help in doing their dirty work.
Chinatown might not be the epic tale we experienced in Liberty city just under a year ago, but for a portable narrative, it is excusable. The story is told through emails and still- image cut scenes.
The lack of voice acting isn’t a problem, and in fact, the lack of a licensed soundtrack is not either. Although some normal GTA aspects may be missed, there is still enough content and atmosphere in Chinatown to make “Liberty City lite” believable and engrossing.

Chinatown War’s Liberty city is a shrunk down version of the epic metropolis seen in GTA IV, minus the third island (not that you’ll miss it). Of course, a lot of Liberty City will feel just like any other city from an open world game, but you’ll see some familiar sights from the 4th official instalment during your travels that will remind you that you are exploring a true GTA capital.

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