Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars follows the trials and tribulations of Huang Lee, a young Triad who travels to Liberty City after the mysterious death of his father, in search of answers. As you navigate your way through the streets of Liberty City you will uncover the truth behind an epic tale of corruption within the Triad crime syndicate itself.
On your hair-raising journey you'll not only meet a series of unscrupulous, dangerous and downright loony gangsters and family members, you'll also have to scour Liberty for a stolen legendary sword that once belonged to Huang's father and return honour to his family's once great name.
Back to basics
Unlike Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories and Vice City Stories, Chinatown Wars' design is a throwback to the original smash hit games that graced PS one. Here, you're given a top-down perspective of the map but with the ability to rotate the camera 360 degrees for an isometric view of the action. The city itself is an exact recreation of the Liberty City found on PlayStation 3 in Grand Theft Auto IV, so those of you familiar with the side streets and key locations of 2008's blockbuster will have an advantage over pursuing patrol cars and rival gangsters.
Chinatown Wars is also light-hearted in tone compared to that of its PS3 predecessor, with missions such as sabotaging someone's car by dropping a rotten fish into the radiator, or throwing boxes from the back of a speeding truck down busy highways taking precedence here. And with a line-up of ludicrously funny characters, you'll be giggling throughout each of the hilariously written cutscenes.
Mission structure is hugely varied too. One minute you could be tasked with driving to a location on the map to steal a vehicle, and the next you'll find yourself driving an ambulance at a seriously steady pace so as not to trigger a defibrillator mini-game with your on-board patient mere inches from death. It's moments like these that make Chinatown Wars such fun to experience, and with each mission being short in length they are perfect for playing.
Deal or no deal
One of the core gameplay elements in Chinatown Wars is building up your criminal empire on the streets of Liberty City. Here, you can pull up your map on your GPS system and locate potential business highlighted all through it. You'll discover new clients all around the city as you explore it, and once unlocked, you will then be contacted at intervals to notify you of new deals they may have that you can take them up on.
The idea is to strike deals at a reduced rate, and offer your services at a much larger profit elsewhere in the city to increase your earnings, earn kudos, and pay for new weapons, ammo and explosives that you'll need to stockpile as you progress throughout the story. There are a huge number of mini-games in Chinatown Wars too, such as hotwiring cars and trucks, picking locks to safes and arming bombs on the backs of trucks.
These are acted out by using a combination of the X, L and R buttons in conjunction with the analog stick, which must be rotated in certain directions to complete your objectives. Moments such as these are a huge amount of fun to experience, adding something completely new to the Grand Theft Auto series and offer up welcome breathers in-between the frantic action and high speed driving that you'll find yourself constantly engaged in throughout the lengthy single player campaign.
The social club
As well as a huge amount of story missions for you to play through, there is a wealth of additional extras too including Rampage, Taxi and Vigilante missions. Chinatown Wars also features six types of Wireless multiplayer challenges (via Ad Hoc Mode) that range from racing your friends through the streets of Liberty City, to capturing the flag style matches with a van crammed full of stolen contraband.
These modes are fast, fun and frantic, providing plenty of additional hours of gameplay when you have finished with the single player. Should you wish to better your scores in single player missions, you have the option to replay any of these as much as you like. Once you have achieved your highest score, you can then access the Rockstar Social Club via your PC, which connects to your Sony Entertainment Network account and lets you upload scores and stats to share with friends and other players across the globe.