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PSP Review – Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars

November 5, 2009 Written by Joseph Peterson


Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars first made its appearance on the Nintendo DS back on March 17, 2009. Rockstar recently decided to bring the title over to the Sony PSP, but revamped a bit.

The player assumes the role of Huang Lee, who arrives in Liberty City after the murder of his father, who was a Triad boss.  Upon his arrival to the city, Huang is looking to find out what happened to his father and exact revenge. This is done in typical GTA fashion with various missions that must be completed to advance through the story.

There are plenty of things to do in this bout inside Liberty City. It will definitely keep the gamer interested for hours on end. This is the Liberty City featured in GTA IV, and the entire city is available to explore on the handheld with the exception of one island (Alderney).


Those wondering if this is a watered down GTA need not worry. The game is a full fledged title with all the elements one would expect in a GTA title. This also includes minigames for the user to enjoy, such as selling drugs to make some money, hotwiring a car, etc. Many of the minigames involve using the analog nub or various other buttons.

The game has been revamped to be more suitable for the PSP. It’s been optimized for the wider screen and features more missions and radio stations. Overall, it is a more fluid experience than its DS counterpart.

Graphically, the game takes a different approach than most Grand Theft Auto titles. It features more of a cell-shaded style. The cutscenes feature still images and text–no spoken dialog.


The viewpoint of the game will be familar to long time fans of the series. It pays homage to GTA 1 and 2 with a top down perspective. This perspective is different, but it translates nicely onto the PSP. Those fairly new to the series will have to spend some time with the game before they feel comfortable with the view.

The game’s communication system revolves around Huang’s PDA system, which features an email function. The map, which can be viewed via GPS, is also accessed here. The GPS also allows the user to set markers so that directions can be given on the fly to a specific place, just like in GTA IV.

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