Appearing earlier this year on the Nintendo DS, Rockstar and developer Rockstar Leeds did not wait long to bring over the hit Chinatown Wars to Sony’s PSP, a console where the GTA franchise is no stranger to success with past titles such as Liberty City Stories and Vice City Stories. By porting Chinatown Wars to the PSP, Rockstar made it clear they felt this GTA would appeal to a wider audience than just Nintendo fans, but also took the opportunity to utilize the PSP’s power and give this game the graphics and feel it deserves. Some might just call it a way to cash in while others will say the DS isn’t where the GTA mature audience really was in the first place. Regardless, GTA: Chinatown Wars for the PSP is a fun game worth your bucks if you couldn’t get your hands on the DS version back in March. Did I give away the review’s ending?
Not a lot has changed. You play as Huang Lee returning to Liberty City after a couple years of absence to deliver an antique sword previously owned by his father the Yu Jian, to his uncle. Shortly after arriving, you get attacked and left for dead, losing the sword at the hands of your assailants. With the help of your uncle, your quest to get the sword back begins. From that point, Chinatown Wars becomes what players have been accustomed to seeing in a GTA game: creating havoc and chaos, getting rid of your enemies and completing your missions while getting some sweet.
With the game originally being released on the DS, some changes to the controls had to be made. What once were touch-based controls have now been mapped to the analog stick and button combinations. Driving and character movement is much more precise on the PSP because of the analog stick. You still have the option to customize your controls to use the directional pad more often. You may want to stick with the analog stick as much as you can though. Also, the weapon switch system and the thrown weapons have a much more natural feel this time around and certainly gained a lot by going away from the touch-based controls.
Outside of some minor changes, Chinatown Wars for the PSP remains faithful to what was presented on the DS. The same amount of side missions (including new ones featuring a hard-nosed TV journalist) and tons of hidden collectibles scattered around Liberty City are all paired with a good selection of cooperative and competitive multiplayer modes. The Rockstar Social Club support has also made its way to Chinatown Wars PSP in the form of trading items with friends, unlocking new missions and posting your game progress to the web.
Fans of past GTA games on PSP might feel a bit off at the beginning because of the over-the-top view, but try to see it as a throwback to the old 2D GTA from the PC days and you’ll be okay. Actually, this view gives the game a bigger sense of realism even if the camera will play some tricks on you during a few missions. Still, the camera can be rotated and adjusted at any time so following the action can be done without much hassle. Bringing Chinatown Wars to the PSP would also mean a few revamps in the visual department without undergoing a complete revamp. The game looks sharper thanks to an improved lighting, the 2D/3D cel-shaded look remains a strong feat and the still-image cinematic are crisper but don’t introduce anything new.
The audio in the PSP version isn’t plagued by the limitations given by the DS. There still aren’t any real character voice-overs, but the game takes advantage of the PSP audio capabilities to create better sound effects coming like the cars smashing, explosions and weapon firings. Additionally, the in-game radio system from the DS has been expanded with six additional radio stations, each featuring new artists and tracks. This is a great addition for those who care to have a much more diverse musical choice while creating chaos.
Truth be told, if you already played the DS version to death, getting this new PSP edition may not be a good idea since it’s basically the same game with a few but noticeable improvements. However, if you never played the DS version, don’t miss out on this one. Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars for the PSP is a great game that deserves your attention and a place in your GTA collection. The only negative holding this title back is the fact that it’s basically a port. Sure it’s a nice port, but not something worth playing again if you already went through the DS version multiple times.
- Image folder specified does not exist!