Back in January of last year, Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars stormed onto the App Store and showcased just how robust a gaming experience could be possible on the iPhone. You essentially got a full-fledged GTA experience, comparable to and in some ways exceeding the versions released for the Nintendo DS and Sony PSP, for roughly a third the price. Even more than a year and a half later, it still stands as one of the best games on the iOS platform.

Chinatown Wars was easily worth its price of $9.99 when it released, and was a complete steal during the few price drops its seen in its lifetime, most recently being $4.99 this past February. But today, Rockstar is dropping Chinatown Wars to its lowest price ever. Currently you can pick up the title for just $2.99 for both the regular and HD versions of the game.

Really, $2.99 might as well be 99¢ for a title of this caliber. There is so many hours of gameplay in this game that for 3 dollars there really isn’t a better ratio of content to price available. Not to mention the ridiculous amount of time you can waste just getting lost causing mischief in the sandbox world of Chinatown Wars. If you really need more convincing, check out our exhaustive original review as well as our look at the iPad native version. But at this price, if you haven’t jumped on GTA: Chinatown Wars yet for whatever reason, now’s the time to do it.

  • Nightshift Nurse

    I'm sorry, but in what undoubtedly minor way did the iOS version of Chinatown Wars (the one which received a massive downgrade to the driving control in order to make it remotely playable) manage to exceed either the DS or PSP versions?

    Jesus...I find this site helpful, but the blind, stubborn devotion to the belief that iOS makes everything better is getting tiresome.

    • Anonymous

      From what I've read, the iOS version combines the visual quality of the PSP with the touch controls of the DS.

    • Anonymous

      Not sure if you're new here but this site is 99% dedicated to iOS gaming.  OF COURSE their going to say the games are better on the iPhone/iPod Touch.  You wouldn't go to a PS3 blog and complain about bias would you?

      On topic, the iOS version of the game simply combines the better screen of the iPhone and the enhanced graphics of the PSP version.  While I don't agree with TouchArcade, I can see why some might prefer this version. 

      • Nightshift Nurse

        I would if the bias on display had absolutely no grounding in reality whatsoever.

        Again, enthusiasm (which I appreciate) is worlds apart from fanaticism (which is the insistence that iOS makes everything better - no question).

    • Janketyjankjank

      Sounds like someone hasn't actually tried the driving controls. I find them to work exceptionally well, and yes, I've played the DS and PSP versions of the game. You are a moron to come onto an iOS gaming site and expect us to not be happy with touch controls. Get a life.

    • Janketyjankjank

      Sounds like someone hasn't actually tried the driving controls. I find them to work exceptionally well, and yes, I've played the DS and PSP versions of the game. You are a moron to come onto an iOS gaming site and expect us to not be happy with touch controls. Get a life.

      • Snipyro

        You too should get off your high horse and realise it's just his opinion. I've played both as well, and while the iOS version does have the best graphics easily (and good touch interface for the minigames), the PSP just has a better controls due to it having physical buttons/joystick. Just because it's an iOS site, doesn't mean we all have to agree the iOS version is always the best.  

      • Nightshift Nurse

        There's a huge difference between enthusiastic, thoughtful critiques and the kind of borderline propaganda that typifies much of the coverage and commentary here. Furthermore, yes, I expect to come to an iOS site and find at least a shred of skepticism among its visitors. But what I typically see are raging fanboys who genuinely belive they need to like something simply because it's on iOS. Protip: serviceable doesn't equal good. You should be happy with good control setups, but critical of merely serviceable ones.

    • http://twitter.com/JaredTA Jared Nelson

      Eh I think you're reading too much into it. I just say the iOS version is comparable to versions on dedicated gaming machines, which it is, and in some ways I think it's superior. If you really need me to list what I prefer about this version:

      -The touch-based mini-games like hot-wiring a car, and really most of the user interface, is much better on the iOS touch screen. Whipping out a stylus to do things on the DS is a pain, and they feel shoehorned in to working with the physical-only controls of the PSP.

      -The loading times are way better on iOS than the PSP, though not as good as the DS.

      -The graphics are a lot better than the DS version, but not quite as good as the PSP. The HD version comes close, though.

      -The absolute #1 reason I would take this version over the others is because it's on my phone, with me at all times. I don't have to worry about toting around an entirely separate device just to play this game.

      -Obviously, the iOS version is and always has been the cheapest of the 3 options.

      I'm not really saying any are definitively BETTER than the others, but they each have their strengths and weaknesses.

      • Nightshift Nurse

        Whipping the stylus out in the middle of a boss fight in Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow was a pain. In the vast majority of DS titles it's seamless...borderline muscle memory. This just sounds like your straining to find something fundamental to complain about.

        Have you ever played the digital release on the PSP? The load times are practically nill.

        So it doesn't have the best graphics. Why even bring it up then? When has being number two ever been something to brag about? Particularly when the version in third place is rocking hardware that's the rough technical equivalent of an N64.

        Never mind that the totally separate device is dedicated gaming hardware, with intuitive features like...buttons...and overall better suited for the highest-quality gaming experience one can have on the go. But I get the convenience angle - even if it does tend to get a bit overhyped...so I'll give it to you.

        No arguments about price. That's really the single area where the iOS version trumps its cousins.

      • Nightshift Nurse

        Whipping the stylus out in the middle of a boss fight in Castlevania: Dawn of Sorrow was a pain. In the vast majority of DS titles it's seamless...borderline muscle memory. This just sounds like your straining to find something fundamental to complain about.

        Have you ever played the digital release on the PSP? The load times are practically nill.

        So it doesn't have the best graphics. Why even bring it up then? When has being number two ever been something to brag about? Particularly when the version in third place is rocking hardware that's the rough technical equivalent of an N64.

        Never mind that the totally separate device is dedicated gaming hardware, with intuitive features like...buttons...and overall better suited for the highest-quality gaming experience one can have on the go. But I get the convenience angle - even if it does tend to get a bit overhyped...so I'll give it to you.

        No arguments about price. That's really the single area where the iOS version trumps its cousins.

      • http://twitter.com/JaredTA Jared Nelson

        Personally I've never been comfortable whipping out the stylus for any game on the DS. I either like games that are all buttons, or all stylus. Switching between the two is totally inconvenient.

        And no, I haven't played the digital download version of the game, I only felt the need to buy it once on PSP.

        Seriously, if you like the DS or PSP versions better, then rock on my friend. I like them too, I played through them both when they came out. You are getting entirely too worked up over a 3 dollar video game, and trying to turn this into some sort of console war or something.

      • Anonymous

        BUTTONS. GIMME BUTTONS G-DAMN IT. EVERYTHING IS BETTER WITH BUTTONS !! iOS SUCKS. Buttons Rule!!!
         
        There, I summed up everything you wanted to say here. Now quit trolling. You've spammed this page enough already. 

      • Snipyro

        He was actually making valid points, even if a bit too aggressively, so you seem to be the only one who's trolling on this page. I'm sure we can agree the iOS and other gaming systems each have their pros and cons. The iOS and other gaming systems are not perfect, so it strikes me as a good thing to have people discussing about it. 

      • Anonymous

        Once you post the same 'valid' points a dozen times on the same page, its not discussion anymore. Its better known as trolling. And what valid points really? iOS version doesnt have buttons? Duh! Go to the forum thread and see how many people have absolutely zero issues with that. And then there are people like me who DO have issues with the controls and the game. But unlike this troll, I dont think the whole world thinks and does things exactly the same way I do. If others found the controls good enough, good for them! Only an idiot will go and tell others that their experience is wrong/invalid. WTF man?

      • Nightshift Nurse

        Here's a surprise, another "happy" iOS user acting like a total douchebag and completely missing the point in the process.  What a schmuck.

      • Anonymous

        How about having a valid point to begin with instead of making up baseless conspiracy theories about TA coverage and complaining about lack of buttons in an iDevice huh?

    • Joe T

      @8f5c9e71aef8867dd00660ce0d2b39f7:disqus - Totally and utterly agree...
      The iOS version does not simply combine the PSP graphics and the DS controls. The DS had a D-Pad and touch screen - big difference. 

      I have played 3 versions of this and personally find the iOS version least fun to play due to the controls.

      • Anonymous

        Thank you for this comment. I own a DS and iOS system, was about to leave on a trip, and wasn't sure if this was something I'd want to pick up before I go. I suspected that probably I'd prefer physical buttons for something like this, but it's nice to read someone saying, "I played the various versions, go for one of the other ones."

      • http://twitter.com/JaredTA Jared Nelson

        Why don't you just try the lite version and see for yourself? Obviously real physical buttons are the best option for traditional games like this, but the virtual controls are actually really good in this game too. It would suck to deny yourself a great gaming experience just because some person doesn't like virtual controls.

      • Anonymous

        Basically because I figure I'll just pick up a DS copy for cheap at some point. For me, the main selling points on the iOS version would be the price point and the timing, but the trip isn't going to be THAT long and I've got Street Fighter IV and Orions 2 (among other things, purchased because of this site) to dig into.

      • http://toucharcade.com Eli Hodapp

        That's the reasoning behind not wanting to spend 10 minutes trying the free version of the game?

      • Anonymous

        Among other reasons. GTA's not incredibly compelling to me, honestly. I mean, they're solid enough games, but if it weren't for the 'killing time on the trip' thing I probably wouldn't have even looked at the article.

      • http://toucharcade.com Eli Hodapp

        Yet it's compelling enough for you to get involved in the comment thread. Curious.

      • Anonymous

        Yes, just because I was vaguely interested given the timing and the price point, skimmed the comments, someone made a remark which tipped me towards the 'no' category, and I wanted to thank them. I appreciate the time which the writers of Touch Arcade are taking to personally talk to me in hopes to persuade me to try out Rockstar's port of a no doubt solid game, but I think I'm still going to pass, thank you.

      • Nookster

        Haha, well played Alrai.

    • Nookster

      Agreed, the iOS version looked nice, but the poorly grafted controls are garbage. The DS and PSP versions demonstrate as clearly as the blue sky why we aren't ditching physical buttons on every platform that isn't a touchscreen phone.

      Sad to see so many posters trying to attack your point of view with unconvincing arguments and verbal abuse.

  • Khlee518

    Don't support retina display..

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=501323522 Jason Mannello

    i have zero interest in this cus its top down and every other top down GTA knockoff was impossible to play cus of the controls. I'll stick to Gangstar. thats an awesome game and a perfect example of what these games should be on iOS. can't they just port GTA2 at least jeez

    • Janketyjankjank

      This is better than gangstar in almost everyday possible. Keep living that delusional dream of yours.

      • Janketyjankjank

        way*

      • http://twitter.com/21tigermike Michael A. Robson

        Not saying much.. avoid both like the plague.

    • Pelican

      Where do you get off saying that you have zero interest in this because it's top-down, then within the same paragraph complain that they should port GTA2 at least jeez..?

  • Anonymous

    I love GTA! Best game ever made however, this is one of those games that u just gotta have a console for...none of this miniature stuff.

  • http://twitter.com/Scykei Thicky

    Should I buy the HD version too? I have no iPad. :P

  • http://twitter.com/21tigermike Michael A. Robson

    Keep going, Take two... keep milkin that mid-2000's trend setting game about beating up hookers... Yeah.. Milk it, milk it..

    • Dollor

      Seriously, accusing Rockstar/Take Two of milking is among the most stupid things I've ever heard. They've released 4 games in 10 years and with 3 spin-off titles for handhelds.

      • http://twitter.com/21tigermike Michael A. Robson

        4 games that are... what... essentially the same engine, and the same game over and over and over?

  • Anonymous

    Y U NO ADD INTERNATIONAL TO HD VERSION?!?!

  • Druciferbriggs

    I own all three versions and the iOS version is my favorite, driving didn't take long to get use to at all. Plus the game actually has a good story and tons of content.

  • Raven

    They do not sell it in my country. Thanks Rockstar...

  • http://twitter.com/tomi676 Tomasz Doniec

    WTF this game NEED Retina Display support without this on my iPhone 4 this game simply look awful :/ ROCKSTAR PLEASE !!! 

  • Anonymous

    Why do game nerds always get on the internet and argue about meaningless stuff. I was hoping to read the comments and actually get some pertinent info on the game, I was disappointed but not surprised.

  • Noah

    I hope a lot of people buy the game at this price point, esp if we want to see MORE games from this developer. They have said it hasn't been profitable so far, so this really might be the final test before they decide to pull out of our iOS market or stick with it for the long haul.

  • Guest

    No retina display? Kind of disappointing for a notorious developer. Won't be buying because I don't foresee any updates(especially for retina). 

    • http://twitter.com/21tigermike Michael A. Robson

      Notorious?? haha

  • Anonymous

    I would say $2.99 is the equivalent of a lot less than $.99 for a game of this calibur. One of these days I hope the majority of people get out of the .99 mindset so we can see more high-quality titles. $15.99 for Final Fantasy 3 is acceptable IMHO. Not making it universal is a money-grab tactic. At least for GTA's case you can pick up both for $5.98 if you want which is still less than each cost a few days back