Review by sixthsage
"Huang Lee? Sounds Like he should be in a Jackie Chan Movie"
Grand Theft Auto... The epitome of why we have a rating system. E is for everyone, this game is not. Most of you know the story behind Grand Theft Auto, you get to play around and blow stuff up. If you want more options and cooler cars / guns, do a few missions to unlock them and go nuts all over again.
Game play 10/10
This is the first game that has had me yelling at it because there was too much to do. Do you want to deal drugs to get enormous amounts of money? Do you want to destroy cameras to make drug dealing easier? Hell, even just running past the toll booth without paying grants it's own breed of satisfaction. If you want to just cruise around town looking for random people who give you mini-missions, that's perfectly ok. The best thing about the game play is there's no sense of rush, just do what you want and get around to doing the missions in your own time. This game is a lot of fun, with most missions taking anywhere from five to ten minutes. The game is quite easy to play, not difficult at all, but a few missions are frustrating. There are basically three ways to fail a mission. Either you Die (wasted), you get caught by the police (busted) or you do something mission specific (the truck got away, the car was destroyed, the person you were tailing spotted you, the person you were guarding died, etc...) The game is actually quite solid as far as control schemes and presentation goes. The top screen is where you do the driving, shooting, and running, the bottom screen is your interface, where you can change settings, hot wire cars, break control panels, disable (or enable) bombs. The touch screen plays a major roll in this game, but that's not a bad thing. It's well oriented and works well. I probably should mention that it's a top down animation, but it really doesn't detract from anything except the firefights, and then only slightly. Driving is now a breakneck race around hairpin curves, from the dragging burrito van, to the NRG 900 motorcycle, Driving is often a matter of life or death, with a fine line between making the turn and smashing the hell out of the motorcycle.
The story never really hooked me much. Basically, the main character was raised with the silver spoon by a rich father who worked for the Triads. He's supposed to deliver the sword and is nearly killed, with his fathers sword taken. This makes a lot of people very angry and causes you to traipse all over the god forsaken town to help everyone from drug lords to a fat cop. The story is strong, but a lot of it is very cliche. The old "find my fathers killer and retrieve the family heirloom" thing. Having said that, this isn't a game you play for the story anyway. This game you play for the pure thrill of shooting a rocket at a crowed highway and shooting another one when the cops show up. The only thing that truly hooked me to the story were the witty comments that occur between the main character and the Triad Bosses. The ideal of honor is always right below the surface, but vengeance combined with wit and a dark sense of humor tend to lend credibility to the character
Yes, I know the game is top-down, but I actually think that adds to the game. It not only functions well for the type of game play, but it also gives the game that sense of "What's next." when you're running from the cops, you don't know what's around the next corner. The sound, on the other hand, is just amazing. There are no voice overs, but that tends to get on my nerves after a while anyway. The gunshots, screams of pedestrians, and cars backfiring are all quite realistic, the only reason I give this one an eight is the stereos in the cars. There are only five stations and the music can get really annoying at times. It reminds me of show tunes. I understand that there simply wasn't enough storage space in-game to store good music, but it really could have been taken out with no real detraction from the game, or at least have set it so the default was "radio off" and give players the option. I would normally recommend turning off the audio all together, but the sound effects are much too amazing to pass up on. A sense of a busy city mixed with a set of pissed off pedestrians makes it worth the annoying music. Hence, the eight.
Play time: 9/10
Most people list this as their biggest gripe with this game. "The story isn't long enough." If all you do is missions, and don't touch anything else, you'll get about ten to fifteen hours of game play, and you'd also miss everything this game has to offer. I give this game a nine because I hardly do missions anyway. I've logged near to fifty hours and I've done maybe twenty five missions. I have more fun pestering the toll booth guy than I do running errands for a bunch of spoiled rich Triads. This game has infinite replay time, as there's so much to do. Ignore all the naysayers out there, spend twenty minutes seeing if you can run over everyone wearing a red shirt and you'll have a whole new mission. Hit rich people and it even gives good rewards...
Final Recommendation: 9.8/10
Whether you're a Grand Theft Auto virgin or you've been around the block with every game out there, you'll like this game. It keeps the ruthlessness from other GTA games while buffing the scratches out of the controls and making everything much more accessible. Mix this with the best main character of ANY GTA game, and you've got a winner. If you're old enough to buy this game (The R rating is well earned) You really should. If you're not, celebrate your 18th birthday with this one (or whatever the law says you have to be to buy this game). Other than a slight audio problem, this game should be in everyones collection.
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 04/13/09
Game Release: Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars (US, 03/17/09)
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