GTA: Chinatown Wars PSP Hands-on

We headed to Rockstar's London offices, grabbed a PSP, and wrought bloody havoc on Liberty City once again.

When Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars hit the DS earlier this year, it did so to rave reviews, bringing carnage, destruction, and drug-dealing to Nintendo's handheld. Now the game is coming to the PSP, where GTA has already had a great deal of success with the Stories series of games. We finally got a chance to play it on a recent visit to Rockstar's London offices, and we're happy to report that it looks to be shaping up well.

You can't go too far wrong with a chaingun.

It’s a fairly straightforward port, with a few additions and some tweaks to transfer the touch-screen elements of the original's minigames to the PSP, and to take advantage of the more powerful hardware and higher-resolution screen. Graphically the game now looks perfectly at home on the PSP, with both the action and the drawn cutscenes looking just as shiny as PSP owners would expect them to look. The sound has also been kicked up a notch with extra radio stations built in to take advantage of the fact that the whole game now sounds much better thanks to both remastering and some additional material, including new radio stations.

The minigame challenges remain, and one of our first ports of call was a convenience store to try some scratch cards. Scratching off the relevant panels was just a matter of tapping X rather than scraping with the stylus, and it provided the chance to win cash, guns, armour, or health, as before. The car theft tools were similarly modified, though they were a little more fiddly than we might have hoped. You need to roll the analogue stick around to unscrew the panels under the steering wheels of older cars, or use it to move your PDA's access cable around on more modern vehicles to disable their electronic security. The latter presented us with some problems, as the game required a greater degree of accuracy in positioning than we could manage with the combination of the nub and our fat fingers. We hope that by the time the game hits store shelves, this system will be a little more forgiving.

The missions we played were all fun too--rolling round town in a tank to distract the police while a fellow gangbanger made mischief was enjoyably destructive. Another mission involved tearing up Jamaican gang territory with the aid of a chaingun mounted on the back of a truck, and it was suitably bloodthirsty; seeing rival gang members cleaved in twain by our speeding truck was incredibly satisfying.

The controls feel responsive and sharp--targeting works just as well as it did on the DS, and the driving mechanics have the same autocorrect features, meaning that even with the analogue nub's limitations, weaving in and out of traffic, as well as into pedestrians or the boys in blue, is a simple and fun affair.

Well, isn't that considerate?

The game will be out in late October, and it looks like the team up at Rockstar Leeds still has a little bit of work to do to get the game shipshape for launch. Given the history of frame-rate issues and texture-popping in Liberty City Stories and Vice City Stories on the PSP, as well as the recent QA issues with GTAIV's port to the PC, we look forward, with a certain amount of scepticism, to seeing the final build, and we hope that the issues do get fixed as promised and that the game lives up to its massive potential.

Written By

Want the latest news about Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars?

Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars

Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars

Discussion

106 comments
kwildgun
kwildgun

To all you guys wishing and hoping for a GTA San Andreas Stories, SO AM I, but it might not happen cause that game takes up about 5 gigs. The PSPs UMD holds about 1.8 gigs. they would have to pull a rabbit out of there but for that one. They could make it download only, the only broblem with that is people who don't use playstation store would be left out. I hope it is posible. Until thin I'm crossing my fingers. HERES TO HOPING THE PSP GETS THE BIGGEST SAND BOX GAME OF SAN ANDREAS IN THE NEAR FUTURE!!!

Shigin
Shigin

@jeffv541 Yeah, figured as much. I mean, that game looks like it could be one of the better J-RPGs out there. All systems included. I HAVE to get me a PSP.

jeffv541
jeffv541

@Shigin Yea Crisis Core is worth getting a PSP alone

HendrixJ92
HendrixJ92

The DS one was a great little game. It still felt like GTA to me. But, I still wish this had the 3D stylings of the Grand Theft Auto Stories games. I would have LOVED a San Andreas Stories but, hey, what can you do?

WiiandXBOX360XD
WiiandXBOX360XD

the ds one was awsome at first i thought it would suck but then i played it and it was waaay better then any gta game on the psp but the psp ones are fun to =p

devilgonnatempt
devilgonnatempt

This looks quality and I am excited at getting my hands on it but I also cant help thinking that Sony are desperately running out of ideas for the PSP so they're scrounging whatever decent games come along! Sounds sad really

Gtgamer13fresh
Gtgamer13fresh

Cant wait for this game! FYI there is going to be a heavy metal station called Anvil (taken straight from R*'s website).

Shigin
Shigin

A note before I say anything else: I'm not a "fanboy" of any kind, going by the general definition of fanboy. I could very well be one of the most open minded gamers there are in this world; there's no system I hate. None at all; I've played at least one great game for each system I've touched. And I'll play ANYTHING if I just can (perhaps with the exception from those "imagine" titles that there are so many of on the DS). I'm even all for making changes in game franchises, even if they were great as they were (think Metal Gear Solid: Acid). So, let's move on... "DS s-u-c-k,i had it for a week and sold it,it F-ing s ucks!!" I'd like to dedicate a big facepalm to you. If you only had it a week, there's no way in freakin' hell you had enough time to play NEARLY all games for it, and therefore you're in no position to say that. Now you're just displaying stupidity. Personally, I've played nearly all high-quality games (by my definition anyway), and I have enjoyed the crap out of them. I don't require decent graphics, anyway. I'll play anything as long as it is fun. Besides, almost every 2D game for the system is b-e-a-utiful. And I love 2D. (No wonder, I grew up with it.) But God, I hate people in general so, so much. One fanboy hates another. The other hates him back. It's one giant vicious circle that makes me consider never visit a place that may cause a conversation of such ever again. Anyway, to be on-topic, I don't see how it's necessary to port/remake it. But I suppose it gives a wider audience a chance of enjoying this game, so I'm obliged to be all for it. But it's not like I'll buy a PSP just for this. But... there's a few other PSP games that compells me to do that, anyway (Crisis Core, MGS: PO among more). I just need the money.

tomtomwolfwolf
tomtomwolfwolf

looks ok,not ''AWSOME'',but ok. @ DS fanboys stfu DS s-u-c-k,i had it for a week and sold it,it F-ing s ucks!! bad grfx,bad gameplay.anyway its way overrated

metalkid9
metalkid9

Why are people saying things like "where is SA stories R*?" They didn't even announce that they are working on it. It's as if it was supposed to come out or something. If it is it's news to me. Oh and btw I'm getting this game. It looks amazing!

woonsa
woonsa

Looks nice, I'll give this game a go.

judgmentcain
judgmentcain

...what is everyone's problem? I swear. If you don't like going back to the bird's-eye view for ONE FREAKING GAME, grumble quietly to yourself and play something else, geez. Personally, I've been missing the top-down GTA format, and I'm glad to see this. I'd buy it now just to spite all of you. Give it a rest. Great work, Rockstar!

acfjosh
acfjosh

OK sorry for my outburst earlier ill try to be nicer to this now. Ok put it simply the PSP doesnt need this game. It could handle a toned down version of GTA IV for christ sake, instead rockstar give us this lump of pure crap! PSP has two fully grown GTA's which are pure class. WE dont need this

shentonio
shentonio

Look guys, the DS version of this game got so highly rated because of the PLAYABILITY. R* are fully aware that they couldn't produce the high quality graphics of other platforms, so they opted for a slightly top down view and made the game fun to play. I would choose playability over graphics any day, and being as this is a port of the DS version the game will still be fun to play. I understand the frustrations of my fellow PSP owners as it has been a bit of a slow year, but I would rather have this game sooner rather than later instead of them trying to remake it. And who's to say we won't get another stories game in the future/ If Chinatown Wars sells well, maybe they will do another one? I'm getting this anyways, should be a good end to the year for PSP gamers with Motorstorm, Assasin's Creed and this coming to PSP. : )

stufferz
stufferz

ds fanboys are the f*ckin worst

jpr60231
jpr60231

god cant they let the ds have one great game 2 them selves besides psp just hatin cuz it got a higher rating then the gta on psp so the went small on it psp is lucky it has enough to make like the gta on the ps2 i dont c y they wont this i mean the ds will want the gta liberty city but it cant handle it

Vargasr
Vargasr

i won't buy this game, i hated it on the DS, and looks like they don't changed anything.

Comduter
Comduter

People need to stop b**ching about this game not being in a "behind 3rd person view". It still is fully 3D, only an isometric 3D game. What matters is the content and gameplay, and those who enjoyed it on the DS know that it plays very well. *R never claimed that they were going to remake this game for the PSP. They only said that it was going to be a port with enhanced graphics, more radio stations, and more missions. That's it. If you don't like it, then play Plants Vs. Zombies instead. Great game!

cube-gage
cube-gage

Look, they know its gonna sell a hella lot more than the DS version. Which is fair enough. The game is good, but I do hope we will see another 3d gta on the psp. And with the psp go just being released the platform has afew more years of life left in it so I expect a gta SA stories will come one day. I do hope this version of chinatown wars has REAL MUSIC STATIONS. Some how I have a feeling its gonna be the same midi crap from the DS. Well that p.s me off, as it wouldnt be that difficult to put some music in the game. Im not all that bothered about all the radio DJ,talkshow, advert etc voice acting. I just want the great selection of music that modern GTA offers.

jameskaranu
jameskaranu

Still 2 dimensional. Pliz change man. Have u played Police force 4 PSP. I hope Rockstar is hearin this "move towards 3D and not those overhead views and cartoon pictures on videoshoots."

rambo793
rambo793

PEOPLE WHO SAY THE GRAPHICS SUCK GET A "-1" RATING! aND GUESS WHO'S DOING THE RATING?? tHE DAMN ds PLAYERS!! Ill tell you guys why this sucks. We PSP owners have been waiting for another great 3d third person GTA game ever since Vice city stories knocked us off our bloody heels!! and now we get an OVERHEAD VIEW?? Rockstar what is wrong with you?! I thought you guys would give us SA stories or something new for the psp. But you give us a direct transition from DS to PSP. Man, Im really disappointed. I Loved VCS and LCS. Here comes Chinatown for kiddies.. Go ahead psychos, rate my comment a "-1"..!

cvc78
cvc78

Why the hell could they not make it more 3rd person than lets just copy the DS version which took the original gloss out of GTA i for one will not be purchasing this for that fact . Lets have some PROGRESS .

Jak_Napier
Jak_Napier

looks alright, i like the wider screen though on the PSP, but then again with the more compact PSP Go, it'll look sharper and clearer cause its more compact.

Justin200782
Justin200782

San Andreas stories would be beast if rockstar made that good thinkin Hi-Buzz

LeoGoBezerk
LeoGoBezerk

It seams that they didn't improve graphics from DS and this is really bad. At least they can increase resolution of textures... 7.5 on PSP compare to 9.0 on DS as i presume.

Death-X-
Death-X-

Back to the classic view, my favorite =D

hi-buzz
hi-buzz

Hey Rockstar.... I still would like 2 know where is " GTA: San Andreas Stories...." for psp..

FusionRain
FusionRain

i wounder will they keep the overhead view cuz they could change it...

AngelCage-2
AngelCage-2

the graphs looks superb if you compare them to the DS version graphs... but are crap to PSP standar. LCS and VCS habe higher quality level, and are kinda old games... there are lots of games on PSP with even better graphs. Oh well, maybe the game is good. I love full 3D GTA... so much freedom.

PabloZ618
PabloZ618

well, CW was an incredibly fun game on the DS and I also think this game will be good too but it makes me sad thinking that there will be no more GTA DS games because the original CW sold poorly :(

gobrock
gobrock

gta, almost like the gta 1 and gta 2 versions, from up... It's kinda fun to see a new but classic gta!!

majorstefan
majorstefan

Now we just need episodes from liberty city on ps3

snooker8th
snooker8th

i'll be buying this from the PSstore... definitely

hman1111
hman1111

i dont know why everybodys saying that the graphics are crap dont compare it to some powerhouse console like a ps3 or a 360 look at the screenshots of the psp and then compare them to the ones of the ds and see how much more clear it is

shentonio
shentonio

Come on guys, give it a chance! Sure it won't look like the 'stories' games, but it is a port from the DS. I'm just glad that it's being ported onto a system where the GTA gmes have been accepted by PSP owners and have sold really well, unlike Chinatown Wars on the DS which sold pretty poorly in comparison. Cani't wait for this personally, just can't decide wether to get Motorstorm Arctic Edge or Gran Turismo too (can't get both!).

acfjosh
acfjosh

WTF IS THIS!!! PSP S ARENT AS CRAP AS DS'S GRAPHICS LOOK AT THAT SH**!!!!!!!!!!!}

Gear_Gamer
Gear_Gamer

this will be great. But the 3rd person is still better

PS2to-the-end
PS2to-the-end

yes!. i bought a DS just so i could have this game and played the hell out of it for like ever. now that its on the psp, more of a reason to buy it again... but i think this version will be better. im gettin it

LeFt_4_BEd
LeFt_4_BEd

this shud b sweet...though i dnt tink itll b worth it to BUY the game(jus dwnload it).....awesome as it maybe,it looks a little off putting......i mean, you wud expect MUCH better graphcs...still, at least it looks fresh........

KaizerJinn
KaizerJinn

sweet! look forward to this game. should feel more at home now. =D

Zartan3000
Zartan3000

Thank goodness Chinatown Wars is coming out on PSP...Now where is Gay Tony please?!?

bogeta24
bogeta24

one thing to say.....VOICE ACTED CUT SCENES BETTER BE IN THE PSP VERSION

macxtc
macxtc

this is the PSP and not some dinky screened, kiddie rated DS unit... I'm thinking this looks an awful lot like ScarFace... and that game SUCKED (with a capital 'S') please don't mess up our wonderful, violence and profanity laden GTA, with some 3rd person hack of a shooter stitched to a tactic's game....

Barzenak42
Barzenak42

Guys..give it a chance. It is a great game on the ds and even if it was the exact game it would rock on the psp. I own it on the ds and both the PsP games...this one should not be passed up.