3) It looks sweet, but in a violent, drug-addled kind of way
The graphics are way better than you'll be expecting. Rockstar Leeds have worked wonders creating a believable yet cartoony game world in full 3D and everything looks superb. The 3D is as solid as that found in Phantom Hourglass, but while the Zelda title looks wholly inoffensive with its bright colours and cutesy characters, Chinatown Wars looks more like the cel-shaded crime caper that GTA's loading screen artwork has always wanted it to be. The streets are rendered in bolder colours than the average GTA, but that just makes the flaming civilians stand out all the more. The game even runs smoothly when the screen is filled with enemies too – this is a tiny technical marvel.
4) The PDA will make you the most organised criminal ever
We weren't able to see the multiplayer in action, but the option for it was clearly there, accessible from your PDA, which replaces the cell-phone of GTA IV. No, we can't wait either. There's also Wifi scoring - every mission has a trophy associated with it. Show off your silvers or golds via Rockstar Social Club.
The PDA is very handy, not only offering you the usual maps, options and mission objectives, but even going further to show you turf control and trade information on 'pharmaceuticals'. It even sends and receives email within the game world and holds your contacts list. Bet Nico wants one of these.
5) You can build your own drugs empire.
Drugs including heroin, ecstasy, weed and cocaine are not only referred to by name but you're rewarded for trading them. But be careful where you deal – there are 100 CCTV cameras dotted around the city for you to find (like the pigeons on GTA IV) and they'll make some areas more risky than others, pushing prices up. Get it right, and there's a lot of money to be made. This can even become a game in its own right, as you trade stash after stash to become the most notorious druglord in Liberty City. Just don't forget to play the missions, eh?
6) You are encouraged to run cops off the road
The way to get your wanted level down in Chinatown Wars is simple – just run the required number of police cars off the road and then lie low until the dulled-out stars disappear altogether. We had an epic chase during our hands-on with the game, getting up to four stars before we finally shook the heat. It was tense stuff – and brilliant fun to boot. Forcing little 3D cars off the road and into a wall and seeing them wreck is one of those gleeful moments that GTA is famous for, and the size of the tiny cars does nothing to dampen the impact. Kaboom!
7) It makes your DS talk dirty
When you close or open the lid of your DS, you get a one-liner from a random ped. We got: "Do you want a piece of my pie, honey?" Just like a dirty New Super Mario Bros.
So when's it out? Well, to our eyes, the build we saw looks finished, so recent reports on the net stating dates of March 17 for the US and March 20 for the UK seem conservative. Judging by this, it could be any week now – buy some bigger undies in preparation.
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