NYCC: Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars

At Comic Con this weekend Rockstar Games was on the scene with their new and upcoming game for the DS, Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars. While there was not much I could get out of the Rockstar guys who were at the event; they did put me in a giant decked out van that was detailed by DUB for Chinatown Wars. Inside I was shown all types of cool things, especially since it was a personalized one on one demo session; where I got to play the the game with a Rockstar employee. Normally, I would not get into a random van, especially with people I do not know. However, they promised me kitty and some candy, and in all seriousness who could turn down a kitty and some candy! Anyway, be sure to hit the jump to learn more about Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars.

The basic story of Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars revolves around a young member of a triad organization Huang Lee. Huang Lee is your normal anti-hero who is all about the perks of being in a criminal life. However, not all is as it seems as shortly Huang’s father falls victim to an unfortunate assassination. Now Huang no longer has a real source of income and the only way to start making money again is to bring his families’ sword to his uncle Wu “Kenny” Lee in Liberty Ctiy.

The basic information about the Lee family Heirloom is that it is a Chinese sword known as the “Yu Jian” that represents a false vision of honor with the family and is a symbol of being the leader of the Triad. Details about the origin of the sword were pretty far and in-between. However, within the first five-ten minutes of the game you lose the sword to an unknown group of people. This mysterious group shoots the main character Huang put him in a car and have it sent careening into Humboldt River in Liberty City.

Disoriented and confused Huang manages to escape the confines of the car by breaking through the back window and ends up swimming to shore. Where he eventually makes it to his uncle’s place, where he soon informs him that the sword was lost to a group of people who almost killed him, and wasted his uncle’s men. However, if he wants to make money and live the casual life ever again he is going to have to find out what happen to the families’ sword. As well as solve the mystery about the random people who wanted to kill him, and get revenge on the organization that killed his father.

Game play wise the game uses the controls of the DS very unique way that both require touch based controls and regular button input commands. As you are sometimes prompted to use either the touch screen or the normal buttons to assemble or hack into a secure lock to complete a mission. These sequences are usually done in a mini game like setting, or when you use the games main menu that is built to look and act like a PDA device.

The various touch screen mini games include searching for guns in a dumpster, by lifting the garbage bags. Some dumpsters are loaded with weapons and ammo as triad members usually stash weapons around Liberty City. Other interactions involve hot wiring a car, rigging together a sniper rifle, and making Molotov cocktails at the gas station.

However, the overall design of the game is very similar to that of Grand Theft Auto IV, if not almost exactly like IV. As the city is modeled directly after IV’s version of Liberty City and redone in full done 3D. Just like in IV you can expect to see various locations of Liberty City that represent their real world counterparts. This list is as follows: Dukes (Queens), Bohan (Bronx), Broker (Brooklyn), Algonquin (Manhattan), and Happiness Island (Statue of Happiness).

Just like the previous Grand Theft Auto games the game features full dynamic 24 hour day and night cycles as well as various weather effects, and dynamic shadows. Also, they have also included a bunch of mini-mission type events like the previous games, ranging from firefighter, paramedic, and vigilante missions. Oh and if you ever get bored you can start selling drugs in the game using the in game economy.

Drug deals play an interesting part in making money in Grand Theft Auto, as each area of the city usually has a certain drug to sell, and a certain drug to buy. Depending on where you sell and buy drugs you can make a quick and easy profit, while you do not get busted by the cops. There are five different types of drugs ranging from weed to coke.

However, the most promising addition to Chinatown Wars is the ability to revisit any previous mission you current played. In previous games if you wanted to replay a certain mission you either had to save right before the mission and start a new game save or you had to play from the beginning all over again to get to it. In Chinatown Wars, that is consider a thing of the past as you are able to check your stats menu and choose any mission you have already completed to replay.

In all honesty, trying to explain everything I experienced in “one hands on experience” is not enough to touch every aspect of this game. This game is jam packed to the brim with tons of exciting features. As well as featuring a story worthy of the Grand Theft Auto name. You can expect almost all the game play, online, Rockstar Social club, item trading, stat comparisons, and various other things that were in previous versions of the game. And you will probably have to pay very close attention to all this in order of complete the game one hundred percent; of course, that isn’t required to enjoy the game.

All I can say is that if you are looking for a game to get on the DS this spring; this is the game you should get. As it should cater to all your hard core hand held needs, while being sublimely awesome at the same time. Also, speaking of sublime, the game has an amazing Mp3 quality background track with multiple radio stations. Although the stations do not have lyrics to most of the songs, they do have an amazing beat and are very well done.

With that all said and done, I am looking forward to this game, are you guys looking forward to it too?

An artist from New York. Will has been writing, designing, and loving video games since he was young. He has traveled across the United States, and parts of Canada in order to learn more about the world of gaming. After visiting E3 for the first time in 2009, he has vowed to return there and show off a game of his own. In his spare time he tinkers with electronics, programming, and of course collecting video games.