Review – Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars

Chinatown Wars Reviewed For The iPhone

The instant Nintendo DS, and PSP classic is now available for the iPhone and iPod Touch, but does it stand up to it’s counterparts?

First off, the game sells for $9.99, making it one of the more expensive apps found on the App Store, but at the same time much cheaper than the other versions available. It’s a very good deal.

Overall, I am happy to say that the game makes good use of the touch sensitive controls of the iPhone. While free roaming on foot, you use a virtual joystick that has now become common for most avid Apple gamers, found on the left corner of the screen. It’s surprisingly easy and fluid, feeling closer to an actual gamepad than a lot of other games on the phone.

On the other side of the screen are your kick, punch, and jump buttons that you’ll use as you navigate your way through the wide open environment. When nearing a vehicle, an icon at the bottom of the screen appears, letting you “borrow” a ride in typical GTA fashion. Perhaps the most challenging aspect of the game comes in the form of driving the multiple types of cars available to you. The on-screen controls, do not work nearly as well as they should here and can cause some frustration when involved in some intense missions. Thankfully however, the game does offer a driver assist system that works well, but shouldn’t really have been needed.

On the visual side of things, Chinatown Wars looks very similar to it’s Nintendo DS counterpart. The colors are sharp, and the characters are all as dark and twisted as you remembered them to be. I never really had an issue with slowdown, or lag, and the iPhone proves it is more than capable of handling such a massive game. That leads me to my next point, the game is grand in scale, and might just be the biggest iPhone game attempted too date. The city is large, and you can avoid the storyline objectives altogether if you choose, and spend countless hours roaming the streets, beating up pedestrians, running from the cops, or doing whatever else you do in the GTA universe. Add to that numerous side missions, and you can be sure that the game has some weight to it, something most games on the device are lacking.

Anyone familar with Grand Theft Auto games will feel at home here. It’s not a cash-in on the name, or a half-hearted attempt at making a “real” game for the iPhone. Like other GTA games, you can save your game and check your stats at various apartments scattered throughout the city. You’ll meet old friends, and make some new ones as well, all while being involved with a very well paced, and intriguing story. The violence and the profanity, is all crammed onto the tiny device, and it stands up well against the other versions current available. That’s not to say it’s not without it’s faults. The controls while acceptable, just are not as good as players should expect them too be. They are far from terrible, but they will be the cause of your death more than once, I guarantee, leaving you with the feeling that the game has somehow cheated you.

Then again, with a $9.99 price tag, it is hard to complain and is a must download for any fan of the Grand Theft Auto series.



Nearly the same experience found on the Nintendo DS

Nice graphics

Includes all that GTA goodness, hookers and baseball bats included


Controls not perfect, especially when driving or in heated gunfights

More expensive than most Apps