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GTA Chinatown Wars: first play!

GTA Chinatown Wars PSP was an unexpected bombshell when Rockstar let slip word of it back in June. After all, why resort to the top down graphics of the Nintendo DS crime sim when Sony’s handheld can render full 3D Grand Theft Auto cities? Why? Because Chinatown Wars taps into GTA’s early roots, concentrating on black humour and addictive gameplay over pixel power. Has it made the transition from touchscreen though? We’ve had a first play, so read on to find out.

As ports go, the DS version of GTA Chinatown Wars is a top notch game to start with. As we said at launch, we found it was one of the finest games on the system, thanks to the dark comedy and mini games that didn’t feel like gimmicks. But do all those stylus induced killings convert on to the PSP, with its regular controls? Surprisingly, they do, and very well.

Rockstar’s made some smart moves with GTA Chinatown Wars PSP, making sure it feels like a game always meant for the platform first. There are extra promised missions and Rampages, graphics have been tweaked, music sounds better and hurling Huang around Liberty City doesn’t feel any more difficult with a joystick than the DS controls.


GTA Chinatown Wars DS first impressions


We took GTA Chinatown Wars PSP for a trial run with several missions. The first saw Huang driving a chaingun toting accomplice around the streets, wiping out an entire rival gang of drug dealers just for giggles. Steering worked a treat, but we were more impressed by the lighting: once night time descends, GTA Chinatown Wars PSP really outshines the DS version as headlamps come on.

The second mission saw Huang deliberately attracting police attention in a tank to provide cover. Epic fun, but it was the mini games we were treated to in betwen that show how well GTA Chinatown Wars has made the jump. They’re still the same: you can rifle through dumpsters for contraband, or unscrew car panels to hotwire them, but movements and taps the DS required you to make are switched it thumbpad rotations and button pushes. They don’t feel any less daft, and they’re just as fun as ever, so if you were worried about the touchscreen issues, don’t be.

Is GTA Chinatown Wars PSP better than the previous two GTA PSP games? For us, nothing can beat the pastel coloured shirts, bell trousers and coke-fueled silliness of Vice City Stories, but if you remember the original Grand Theft Auto and long to recreate all those old school memories, GTA Chinatown Wars PSP should be well worth a punt when it ships on 23 October. Have a look at the first screens here, and be sure to read our feature for all the secrets of GTA Chinatown Wars PSP.

Out 23 October | £24.99 | Rockstar

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