Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars Review
PSP | DS
Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars box art
System: PSP, DS Review Rating Legend
Dev: Rockstar Leeds 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: Rockstar Games 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: Oct. 20, 2009 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1-2 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Mature 3.5 - 3.9 = Good

I'm of course speaking about CW's mini-games. On the DS these seemed fairly novel and were mostly enjoyable due to their intelligent use of the system's touch-screen. Although the PSP doesn't have a touch-screen, these mini-games are still found in this version of the game. Instead of using touch-screen controls, you'll need to use the analog stick, X button, and left and right buttons in order to perform the same tasks. Unfortunately, while these mini-games aren't terrible, they lose something in the translation due to the lack of a touch-screen. It's a small gripe, and one that doesn't really detract from the enjoyment of the game, but it does make the mini-games feel somewhat out of place.

Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars screenshot

With the increased storage provided by the UMD as opposed to a DS cart, the PSP version of CW has also seen an increase in its music. While the soundtrack still isn't filled with a ton of licensed music that everyone recognizes, it suits the game very well and sounds great. CW on the PSP has over one hundred extra minutes of music scattered between six additional stations (eleven in this version compared to five on the DS) that help to make the soundtrack more diverse. In fact, the audio as a whole even sounds a bit crisper; from the standard blasts of gunfire to the overheard conversations of random passersby.

Fans trying to squeeze every last bit out of this great title will also want to make sure to check out the Rockstar Social Club. After signing up for an account you'll be able to play some in-browser Flash games in order to earn extra cash, unlock special vehicles, and even unlock some new missions in CW. The flash games are nothing too deep - for example, trying to catch items in a laundry cart or shooting flying food in order to make the perfect omelets - but they're enjoyable enough considering they'll net you some exclusive in-game content. There are also a ton of other features to check out like maps that show the locations of the game's drug dealers, security cameras, rampages, etc. that definitely come in handy when going for one hundred percent completion.

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Overall, CW for the PSP is a slightly better version of the game than the DS original. Although the mini-games do feel a little out of place without touch-screen controls, everything else is just as good if not better than it was on the DS. This isn't to say the DS version is bad, because it too is a phenomenal title, but the PSP version just ever so slightly edges it out when you consider all of the new additions, visual polish, and tweaks that were done for it. You honestly can't go wrong with either version, and now that it's on both available handhelds, there's no excuse to not have a great time with one of the best GTAs on the market.

By Adam Brown
CCC Staff Contributor

RATING OUT OF 5
RATING DESCRIPTION
4.8
Graphics
The cel-shaded visual style of CW looks even better on the larger, higher resolution PSP screen.
4.6
Control
While the mini-games lose something because of the lack of a touch-screen, the analog nub makes driving and running around feel more precise.
4.7
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The sound here is a little crisper than in the DS version and there's a hundred-plus minutes of music added to the soundtrack.
4.8
Play Value
With additional new missions in this version of the game, there's even more to love this time around.
4.7
Overall Rating - Must Buy
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • Take your game online with the PSP's Wi-Fi capabilities for head-to-head and co-op multiplayer mayhem and chat, trade guns and commodities with your friends, and more on the Rockstar Games Social Club.
  • Utilizing the superior audio and visual processing power of the PSP, Chinatown Wars is reborn with noticeable boosts in graphic and sound quality.
  • Mature storyline with over 70+ story missions; plus dozens of side quests, collectibles, contextual mini-games, and the all-new mission replay feature.
  • Addictive drug dealing side game adds street economics to the mix with six different drug types, 80+ drug dealers, and a supply / demand driven narcotics economy.


  • Screenshots / Images
    Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars screenshot - click to enlarge Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars screenshot - click to enlarge Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars screenshot - click to enlarge Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars screenshot - click to enlarge Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars screenshot - click to enlarge Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars screenshot - click to enlarge Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars screenshot - click to enlarge Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars screenshot - click to enlarge Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars screenshot - click to enlarge Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars screenshot - click to enlarge Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars screenshot - click to enlarge Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars screenshot - click to enlarge

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