APP OF THE DAY - Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars HD (iPad)
Of late, the iPhone has been honoured with so many amazing game apps that it has rapidly become a serious rival to dedicated handheld games consoles, such as the PSP and Nintendo DS. Its touchscreen, portability and unbelievably cheap pricing structure on the App Store each push the right buttons.
The iPad, however, has been slugging along behind, kicking its heels. Not many of the A-list titles have made it onto the tablet yet. But that's all about to change. Here, my friends, is that game that Apple's 10-inch wonder has been frothing at the mouth for...
Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars HD
Wow! What can we say? GTA: Chinatown Wars was brilliant when it first emerged on the Nintendo DS, superb when it hit the PSP (both of which costing £29.99 new), and a major revelation on the iPhone. Now the iPad version is here, and not only is it the best by a country mile, it's almost impossible that it's available for a paltry £5.99.
This HD edition of the game has been upscaled to 1024 x 768 to match the screen resolution of the iPad perfectly, and boy does it look sharp. There's the occasional stutter in the animation, although not during gameplay thankfully, but the graphics are exquisite - partly thanks to a higher polygon count on vehicles and the like.
The plot is, obviously, the same as all of the other versions: As Huang Lee, you must deliver a ceremonial sword to your Uncle Kenny and avenge your father's murder, but naturally not all goes to plan... Mayhem ensues.
However, the presentation is so much better on the 10-inch real estate afforded by the iPad's touchscreen that it draws you into the story so much quicker and more effectively.
Also added to the iPad GTA:CW, that was missing on the iPhone, is ambient sound effects; pedestrian voices, and other aural surprises that help you feel like you're in a moving, breathing world. And the user interface is, obviously, adapted to fit the bigger screen.
Controls are fully customisable (essential as the iPad is more unwieldy as a handheld gaming device), but almost everything else is the same as the iPhone version. The minigames, perhaps, are slightly easier with the larger touch display, but other than that, it's all extremely similar.
For its price, GTA:CW is unbelievable value for money. Not only is it the best version of the game we've seen to date, it's, perhaps, the best game currently available for the iPad. And it's worth a purchase, even if you've played the other iterations before.
Like the game? Let us know in the comments below...