Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars was one of the very first big-name iPhone games to come out in 2010, yet to this day it remains one of the top contenders for Game of the Year. We are willing to bet that most gamers reading this article have played the game at some point or other, be it on an iPhone, Nintendo DS, or Sony PSP. Now it has made its way to the iPad and the big question on everybody’s mind is whether the experience is worth playing for another $10.
For an in-depth look at the nitty-gritty of GTA:CW, take a look at our written and video iPhone reviews. The gameplay and content in the iPad version is virtually unchanged. It’s a little disappointing that no new content was added for the iPad, although considering this has been the case for every iteration, we weren’t expecting any.
However, the iPad version sees the return of some details that didn’t make the cut for the iPhone version. The big addition is pedestrian voices. People walking down the street or driving in their car will now shout at you if you’re acting juvenile, giving the world a more realistic feel.
You’ll never catch me, coppers!
You can also customize the controls in just about any way you’d like. There are four options for button layouts, and then about a dozen more options for things like having the game subtly assist you when driving, using left and right buttons for moving a car instead of an analog stick, and auto-switching weapons.
The UI has also received some attention. For one, the GPS now comes up as a window on the screen (although it still pauses the game). Other changes include a weapon wheel in the pause menu and larger boxes for the minigames.
When boredom strikes Liberty City…
Lastly, the graphics. Every detail has been brought up to the iPad’s native resolution, making it a drop-dead gorgeous game, and on the bigger screen you can see more of the game world at once. There are occasional momentary framerate drops, but in the grand scheme of things they are insignificant.
All of this said, GTA:CW is very much the game you’ve played before, perhaps even multiple times on various devices. Newcomers should certainly not hesitate, but old-time Chinatown veterans should think about whether they truly want to play through it all again before dropping $10.
Nonetheless, we enjoy the heck out of this game and think this sits among the top-tier iPad games, just as it does on every other device it has touched.