Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Game of the Week: Grand Theft Auto - Chinatown Wars (Part II)

continued from Part I

The missions so far (I’m nowhere near done with the game yet) are typical GTA fair. Steal cars, drive stolen goods around, intimidate people for money, kill people for money and power, deal in the drug trade, race fast cars, etc. The thing is, it all works perfectly. Driving is a treat, and simple to control. As your map is on the bottom touch screen of the DS, while the game’s action takes place on the top screen, the game compensates for having to look down at the other screen by using an automatically straightening out your car if you are driving on a road. It won’t make turns for you, but this comes in mighty handy while involved in high speed pursuits. Pursuits that will happen very often, as anytime you bump into a cop car, they will come after you – but this is one of the game’s most fun aspects. Cops chasing you, and having a wanted level, turns the game into a round of bumper cars as you need to smash the cop cars up in order to lower your wanted level.

The touch screen is not only used for the map – in the pause screen, it’s a touch screen PDA with all the pertinent game info. When you steal a parked car off the street one of a few different mini games may pop up asking you to perform tasks – jam a screwdriver into the ignition and jiggle it, open the steering column and twist ignition wires together, or hack into the computer and start the car electronically. The varied uses of the touch screen are really fun and seem oddly organic in the game experience – they never seem simply tacked on just because there’s a touch screen to use.

Out of the cars, it is extremely easy to lock onto targets with the right shoulder button for either melee attacks or to fire at them. Running around is fun, especially hopping over walls to look for new dealers. Oh, right, the side game.

So, remember when you were in high school and you had that Texas Instruments graphing calculator? In my math classes, all the kids and I had this game called DrugWars on it. No graphics, just text. The point of the game was to buy drugs at low prices in one area from one dealer and sell them at higher prices in another area. Well, aside from all the missions and story in GTA:CW, and aside from all the hidden things to search for and find, properties to buy, aside from territories to explore, and aside from random people to run over and terrorize, there is a side game that is like an updated and way cool version of DrugWars. The main reason that I’m nowhere near done with the game is because I’ve spent maybe 50-60% of my time with it just running around town buying cheap acid, ecstasy, coke and weed and then selling it to fools across town who don’t know how cheap I just got it for.

All in all, the game is way more fun than I thought it would be, or even hoped it would be. It seems there is no shortage of things to do, and everything works well when doing them. If you’re a hardcore gamer and don’t mind a few dozen F-bombs every few seconds, dust off your DS and pick up this game as soon as you can.

+ Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars Review [Gamespot]

- Goodchild

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