We've played GTA: Chinatown Wars and it's our new favourite game. Not just because it's accessible yet deep. Nor because it's got radio stations crammed onto the tiny DS cart. Not even because you can spell out words with the magnetic letters on the whiteboard in your safehouse. No, our biggest reason is because Nintendo's family-friendly handheld finally has something 18-rated on it. If ever a game was going to grow your DS a set of man balls, it's this. And here's why.
1) It's man size
Remember the islands from GTA IV? Well, scratch Alderney and you've got the Chinatown Wars map. No, we don't mean the approximate size of that area, actually the GTA IV map. We've been driving around a fully reproduced Broker, Bohan and Algonquin on a DS. In 3D.
While we didn't see the subway stations during our hands-on (we were too busy trying to lose the cops), above-ground looks spot-on. There are stalls and coloured bins on the pavement, straight out of GTA IV, and the roads are instantly recognisable. Do you remember laughing at a Chinese restaurant in GTA IV called 'Sum Yung Gai?' Well, that wasn't just comic street furniture – it belongs to Kenny, the uncle of your character Huang (pictured) and you'll be picking up several of your early missions there. This isn't a compromised GTA – it's simply GTA.
2) The touch screen is used for criminal activities
Every DS owner has used their stylus for too many cutesy minigames. Not so here. Instead, you'll be using it to smash the rear windshield of a car to get out when you're submerged in water, assembling a sniper rifle from the parts in a case and even to hotwire a car. Not to mention building your own molotovs at petrol stations or looking through bins for discarded weapons.
It doesn't feel like you're doing it all for the sake of it, either. Rockstar Leeds has gone to town with the DS' feature set, using it all in ways that arguably immerse you more in the experience than any other edition in the series. And we're promised that at no point in the game will you have to blow on the microphone to put out a candle. Phew.
Above: Loads of characters can be on-screen at once. All shooting at you