chinese gangs for your pocket

I keep forgetting to write something about Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars. You know I'm not much of a gamer, but I've been aware of the game for a while now, since Nintendo announced it last summer at E3. That's "Ling" above, holding the giant frickin' sword.

The game was released last month exclusively for the Nintendo DS, and from what I hear, it's pretty much everything you'd expect -- all of the usual mayhem, violence and mature content of the Grant Theft Auto series, transplanted to the good ol' neighborhood of Chinatown: Death, Drugs and Gangs in the Palm of Your Hand.

This, of course, means lots of Asian gangsters, guns, and thugs, and characters with names like Zhou Ming, Uncle Kenny, Hsin and Chan Jaoming. In the game, following his father's murder, Huang Lee must deliver an ancient sword to his uncle to ensure his family retains control of the Triad gangs of Liberty City. But things do not go as planned.

I honestly don't much more about it than that. For those who have played it, does Chinatown Wars support and reinforce the usual Chinese gangster stereotypes? Or does it offer a more interesting, nuanced depiction (for a video game, that is) of the Chinatown gangster story?

I suspect it's probably a little bit of both... but mostly just the stereotypes. Don't get me wrong -- I love a good Chinese gangster plot. I just hope there's no inkling of Jason Statham running around doing the Crank thing in this game.

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