GTA: Chinatown Wars

GTA: Chinatown Wars

Apparently, it’s already complete, save for a few more passes for polish and bug hunting.

Rockstar’s claims that the team that created it is twice the size that worked on the PSP’s Liberty and Vice City Stories games and that it contains more lines of code than San Andreas are good indicators of the care that’s gone into squeezing GTA on to Nintendo’s twin-screened handheld.

And playing a few missions and seeing a few sights proves that Chinatown Wars has been designed from the ground up for its peculiar capabilities. We’ve already seen its bustling Liberty City, rendered in smooth, clean 3D and unchanged in plan from that of GTAIV, other than a missing Alderney.

We’ve also experienced the driving, with vehicles sporting varying handling and featuring subtle and very useful auto-straightening steering. Now it’s a chance to sample the details that are so important to any GTA.

Central to life on the streets is player character Huang Lee’s PDA, which is displayed on the DS touchscreen. Taking the place of GTAIV’s mobile phone, it shows the minimap, which is identical to GTAIV’s, even down to the way the sat-nav works. It’s also where you access such staples as emails, the main map and now Ammu-nation. The weapons chain is no longer found scattered around the city – it’s now an online store that delivers goods direct to your safehouse.

The safehouse performs the functions that it did previous in GTAs, but will now also display trophies earned through playing the game and features a large whiteboard covered with photos of contacts and magnetic letters. Apart from rearranging the letters to spell rude words via the touchscreen, you’ll also be tapping on contact photos to access a list of the missions they’ve doled out, with the option to replay them and see online leaderboards.