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Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars HD
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this app.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars HD is a violent action game that is centered around the world of organized crime - and is entirely inappropriate for children. It is filled with gang violence, murder-for-hire, drug use, and prostitution. Players can kill police officers, civilians and other gangsters - often with no negative consequences. (It's possible to drive down the sidewalk, running over dozens of people without ever seeing your 'wanted' level increase - though if you happen to tap a police car as you drive, you'll find yourself under hot pursuit. ) Obscene language is regularly used throughout the game and sex is simulated.
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Is it any good?
While GRAND THEFT AUTO: CHINATOWN WARS HD is absolutely not a game you want children to play, it's a very good game for adult action fans. The world is lush and filled with interesting characters and has over 50 challenging missions. Like most GTA games, it's filled with sidequests that extend the amount of playable hours considerably. An iPhone version of the game has been available for a while - but the graphics are notably better on the iPad version. This is, arguably, the best looking version of the game to date. (It has also been published for the Nintendo DS and the Sony PSP.) Players can also use any iTunes music they have on the iPad as one of the in-game radio stations whenever they're driving in the game. Even better, the iPad version does not charge extra for these features.
Because the game takes place over a large area, you'll need to quickly learn to drive using the iPad's controls, which are adequate, but hardly intuitive. The learning curve is a bit steep -- and that's frustrating when one of your first missions involves escaping from the police.