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Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars HD (iPad) Review - -

Gameplay 8.9
Graphics 8.9
Sounds 8.0
Value 9.0
Developer: Rockstar
Review Date:
September 2010
Andrew Bistak


Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars HD

We've seen this game on the DS, the PSP and even the iPhone/iPod Touch but what happens when it comes to the iPad? The answer is HD and a very sweet resolution of 1024x768. Before this release, the iPhone/iPod Touch was the definitive release to have, however on the iPad, it creates a totally new experience with a lot more gaming real estate and of course the innovative touch screen controls.  This version has also been optimised for the iPad as well that boasts extremely fast load times and flawless graphics.

So what's it all about? The story revolves around Huang Lee whose Triad father was murdered in a gang attack and he has been given the arduous task of delivering an ancient family sword to his uncle in Liberty City... and of course seeking blood for the death of his father. Unfortunately for our protagonist Huang, he is ambushed from the airport and after a vicious attack, he is left for dead which creates the catalyst needed to fuel his revenge. Although Huang has  been disgraced by his family for losing the sword, you will help him slowly make his way up the food chain in this virtual sandbox game, thanks to the varied missions.

As the title is a free roaming sandbox game, it gives a healthy amount of freedom to the player and the scope of what you can do in this virtual city is quite amazing. Whether driving around the city, engaging in different missions, avoiding the police and even masquerading as a paramedic, it's these little aspects that will make this game so memorable for hardcore and casual gamers because you're not boxed in. The game does have a darker side, whether it's the sexual innuendo or dealing in heroine, this game is strictly for adults!

In relation to missions, you perform a gamut of missions for your uncle which generally involve force but if you want a break, there are dozens of side missions and fun to be have by exploring Liberty City. This generally involves in you getting hunted by the police but that's the joy of GTA, channelling your wicked side for enjoyment. As I've played the iPhone/iPod Touch version before, picking up the controls was a relatively easy experience. However as there is more gaming real estate to play, the controls were a lot more intuitive and easier to use as opposed to the tiny iPhone/iPod Touch. Whether I was exploring the city, shooting, driving cars or completing missions, this is what the future of iPad gaming is about.

Other fun things about the game which were entertaining on the DS version is the use of the touch screen such as hot wiring cars, sniping and other mini-games which assist in keeping things diverse. Thankfully to help you with your missions, Huang has access to a PDA which assists with missions, maps (GPS) and e-mails in the game and even gives you some statistics of how you're performing. As the story and certain gameplay scenes are so cool, it's hard not to spoil anything and let's just say, this game needs to be experienced!

Like the original game, the iPad version is played via a top down view which works quite well as the graphics mimic the other titles in this series from the cell-shading graphics. The game uses still cutscenes to progress the story but the star of this title for me is definitely the smooth and sharp graphics. The attention to detail by the developers is brilliant and they have succeeded in making Liberty City come to life. It's the move to HD on the iPad that makes Chinatown Wars look so good with increased polygons, new special effects and of course silky smooth graphics. The sound effects of Chinatown Wars mimic the virtual city well and you hear a variety of background sounds to help bring the city to life. Sadly, the game doesn't support the radio stations from the console versions, however the unique aspect of the iPad version is that you can listen to your music stored on the iPad. Some one off shock jock comments would have been nice though.

Final Words?

This is a must have game for the iPad to not only showcase the power of this device but prove that it can actually host in-depth and entertaining games. The controls will take some people a little time in mastering but if you are persistence, it's definitely worth the effort and best of all, it's quite affordable priced in the iTunes store. It even supports some cool iPad multiplayer features like races and even a defend the base type of thing with up to 8 iPad owners. This is the future of gaming on the iPad, unlike the shovelware that plagues iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad.



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