Great Wall of Rockstar

It’s obvious that Rockstar is taking Chinatown Wars, a fully-fledged Grand Theft Auto title for DS, very seriously; not least by its lofty claims and almost implausible facts. The team at Rockstar Leeds, previously credited for the “Stories” releases on PSP, has grown even bigger to handle the DS game, and mouthpieces at Rockstar throw out jargon like near-million lines of code, to emphasise its magnitude.

The game wears its influences on its sleeve, picking and choosing elements of GTA’s 12 year history to create a unique amalgamation for DS; the game’s Liberty City is a slightly restrained version of Grand Theft Auto IV’s New York pastiche, while the level of action and choice of weaponry (including mini-guns and flamethrowers) comes from a less reserved era of the now stoic franchise.

It stems from a sense of visceral brutality that is almost synonymous with Asian gangs, rarely seen without a stained meat cleaver and dealing in extortion and drug crimes. Chinatown Wars sees a tangled matrix of Chinese triads, in the midst of a violent war.

Watch a brand new trailer for Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars, here at Ready-Up!

The Grand Theft Auto series has had a spotty history on handhelds, with the forgettable Grand Theft Auto: Advance by Backbone, but Rockstar Leeds’ track record has proved they are up for the task. Their first ever game in fact (while under the moniker Mobius Entertainment) was an incredible port of Max Payne to Gameboy Advance, nailing every element of Remedy’s bullet-time shooter on an ultra restrictive platform.

While it’s a shame for Rockstar Leeds to quit PSP before San Andreas Stories, I’m the DS will be the ideal proving ground for the British studio to strut their stuff in a completely unique Grand Theft Auto game. Used to ports and slighty-tweaked re-releases of Rockstar franchises (including The Warriors, Manhunt, Midnight Club and Table Tennis), Chinatown Wars lets the Leeds studio have full creative control, within the expansive GTA world.

With the unique control system of the DS, the bottom screen takes on many faces, allowing you to fiddle with objects and touch elements of the screen; be it a PDA that lets you receive emails, or a car’s ignition box for you to hot wire. Maybe it’s a sniper rifle you fit together, a new gang member’s back that you tattoo for recognition or a door lock that you smash open, revealing easily tangled wires.

Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars looks like yet another great handheld game under Rockstar Leeds’ belt, and more than enough reason to dust off your DS Lite this March 20th; I know I will.







One response to “Great Wall of Rockstar”

  1. Lorna avatar

    This actually looks pretty good…now if there was just a Bully DS, I’d be so far over the moon I’d fall off the edge of the universe…

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