This month’s Nintendo Power has lifted the lid on several games, including the much sought after Nintendo DS edition of Rockstar’s now legendary Grand Theft Auto franchise, sub-titled ‘Chinatown Wars’. The first concrete details of the game have now been revealed.
Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars is set to be a true Grand Theft Auto game, complete with sandbox gameplay, an open-world environment, and a gritty crime narrative that will garner it an M-rating from the Entertainment Software Ratings Board. The game will not take place from a top-down view as in the Game Boy Advance edition and classic PC games, nor will it be a behind-the-car affair like the latest iterations. Instead, Chinatown Wars will take a different approach, with Rockstar opting for an isometric camera angle, complete with cel-shaded polygons and black borders for stylish effect. There will be good touch-screen implementation and whilst mini-games are to be included, they will be of a “tasteful” nature, coming along with a streamlined interface to make the game as accessible as possible for the DS audience.
The user interface is set to be based on a Personal Digital Assistant style layout, with it being a hub for email, contacts, the world map, a music player, Global Positioning System, as well as tracking of various statistics that can be uploaded to the Rockstar Social Club website via the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection. Icons will be of a finger-sized proportion, making it simple to tap on them, and missions have been designed specifically for short bursts on the DS, with the average DS owner wanting to play for shorter periods of time and Rockstar obliging by providing more of an arcade quality to proceedings.
Following the massive success on the PSP, can the DS version be as popular?
In-game aiming will be done using the Directional-pad, whilst auto-targeting is carried out by pressing the R shoulder button. There will also be a subtle auto-steer to help navigate the city, plus if players fail a mission, to avoid frustration they can jump back to the action sequence. Weapons include the chain gun and flamethrower, and a large portion of Liberty City has been modelled in the game, although different routes will be taken by players than the ones available in the console games. More good news is how there are currently no probems with load times, draw-in distance or the overall frame-rate, with lots of pedestrians, cars, and so on all cluttering up the screen, yet not slowing the game down as a result. The ‘Wanted’ system is included, with the objective being to disable police cars by any means necessary, and there will be the inclusion of real-time weather effects, complete with a twenty-four hour day / night cycle and lots of radio stations to listen to (leaning more towards instrumental tracks, though, rather than vocal-filled ones due to media card size restrictions). Rockstar pointed out to Nintendo Power that there are 800,000 lines of hand-optimised source code included in the game so far, but did not reveal any details on any of the multi-player and Wi-Fi features.
Could this prove to be the biggest DS seller over the Christmas period in the North American market, out-pacing the PlayStation Portable duo of Liberty City Stories and Vice City Stories? Be sure to let us know your thoughts by posting below…