Sunday, May 31, 2009

Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars — Final Thoughts

I actually finished Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars' story sooner than I had expected. The campaign was surprisingly short, but long enough that it was able to tell its banal story sufficiently. I'll spare you having to reread my comments and criticisms from my First Impressions and Extended Play (if you really want to, click the links), suffice to say, the game's strengths and weaknesses remained consistent throughout. The story's ending was predictable and anticlimactic, but the levels leading up to it were appropriately epic, including a rocket-launcher-armed battle against an Annihilator attack chopper.

Once the credits roll and the game save, the city is your playground. Dealers stay in their locations and continue to send you trade tips. Ammu-Nation will still have weekly (in-game time) sales, and any security cameras or random strangers will still be there for you to find. One new goal that only gets unlocked after completing the story mode are the Lions of Fo, two golden statues hidden somewhere in the city (it's random for every game) which unlock something once they're found. (I won't spoil what it is, except that you shouldn't trade in your game quite yet.

Actually, I've found more useful items and missions since I finished the story mode than I did during the campaign itself. I discovered that CW has its own version of Achievements, but unlike the Xbox versions, these are actually useful, gaining you special bonuses like double body armor, regenerating health, bullet-proof cars, and more. For example, complete all the Paramedic missions, and you'll earn infinite sprinting. Ironically, this means you'd actually be better off completing these extra tasks before starting the main missions if you want to take full advantage of their benefits. Even still, they provide goals to strive for after completing the story.

Overall, Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars was, and still is, worth the money. If you're a fan of previous GTA games, especially the ones on the PS1 and PS2, you'll feel right at home with CW's lighter tone and varied gameplay. I've yet to try its multiplayer options out — maybe I'll append this review once I get the chance — but for a single player experience, there are very few DS game I could recommend more. CW will remain in my DS for a long time to come.

Yea: huge, detailed city to explore; tons of missions and bonuses; drug trading eliminates the money problem, and makes for a fun distraction; witty dialog
Nay: short, boring story; unreliable aiming; speeding through the city not nearly as fun as the console GTAs

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