In the wake of Rockstar's Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars [App Store] our forums have been host to a great discussion surrounding the game, and something that has been popping up quite a bit of debating the merits of each of the different platforms that Chinatown Wars is available for. The iPhone currently holds the advantage when it comes to pricing, but without real physical controls or good targeting system for fighting, both the Nintendo DS and Sony PSP versions hold their own in this battle.
The DS obviously lags behind in the graphical department, but makes up for it with the second dedicated screen for navigation and stylus mini-games-- All of which feel much more immersive than the button mashing alternative on the PSP. In regards to whether the PSP or iPhone is host to better graphics, it really seems to be a toss up. The textures in the PSP version appear more crisp and detailed, especially when looking at any signs and the PSP features better shadows, lighting, and reflections. The higher resolution (and seemingly higher quality) iPhone screen combined with the softening of textures and edges of in-game objects makes the iPhone a worthy competitor in visual quality, especially when combined with the high frame rate the game runs at.
Something that isn't immediately apparent until you're comparing the games side by side is how quiet Liberty City is without the pedestrian chatter. You can go rampaging through the streets and it seems everyone is yelling at you on the DS and PSP. It creates a noticeable lack of atmosphere on the iPhone when switching back from the other two versions.
Which version is the "best" is really a matter of personal taste. The PSP's higher quality textures can often look gritty at times, and while some may prefer the softer look of the iPhone textures, others could see them as blurry. It's hard to compare the DS, especially because of how different the game feels with two screens and how obvious it is that the touchscreen mini-games were designed for a stylus, not buttons or fingers. Also, neither the PSP or iPhone can compete with the requisite DS microphone gimmick of actually whistling to hail a cab.
So which version do we recommend purchasing? Really, you should buy Chinatown Wars for whatever platform you have with you the most when you want to play games. For many people this will be the iPhone, but if you prefer to conserve your battery and play 3D games on a dedicated gaming device, both the DS and PSP versions are totally worth having. Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars is a great game, and it doesn't really matter what platform you're playing it on, as long as you're playing it. You really shouldn't miss this game.
App Store Link: Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars, $9.99