11 January 2010
The Grand Theft Auto franchise hijacked the Nintendo DS at a time when I was tiring of the franchise. Returning to a top-down view reminiscent of the pre-”GTA III” style, the game gives players the deep story and variety they have come to expect from Rockstar games by using everything the DS has to offer. First and foremost is the artwork. Cutscenes play out like a hip adult crime comic book and gameplay graphics are surprisingly cool given the limitations of the DS.
One of the most impressive features, however, is the clever use of the DS touch screen. You’ll find yourself using the screen and stylus to hot-wire cars, navigate a parade dragon (with flames), kick out windshields and lob grenades. I’d be hard-pressed to think of another game that so cleverly uses the touchscreen.
Fans of classic GTA gameplay will be pleased to find a fully-modeled Liberty City in 3D with changing weather effects and a 24-hour day/night cycle, tons of vehicles — including cars, trucks, vans, buses, boats and motorcycles, classic odd job and rampage missions, unique stunt jumps, and random pedestrian missions.
WiFi fans will also enjoy the multiplayer modes which include racing, Liberty City Survivor and a co-op base defense game.
Rockstar even fit in five in-game radio stations. There’s no vocals, but the variety is there — from Hip Hop to Rock. (I do miss the always hilarious talk radio stations.)
Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars was a much-needed addition to the DS library. Now if only I could drive four blocks without getting the cops on my tail ...
By Victor Paul Alvarez