- M-rating (18 in UK)
- Most of Liberty City from GTA IV (excluding Alderney)
- 800,000 lines of hand-optimized source code (more than GTA San Andreas)
- Social Club will be added for sharing stats with other players
- True GTA game - sandbox gameplay, open-world environment, gritty crime narrative.
- Top screen brings all the action, while the lower screen lets the player control elements like the PDA, GPS, radio, and use Molotov Cocktails and grenades
- Stats can be uploaded to Rockstar Social Club website via Wi-Fi
- Missions designed for shorter periods of play, arcade quality
- Failing a mission allows the player to both instantly start the mission over and to use "Trip Skip" if the objective is far away
- New Wanted system focuses on ramming cop cars to disable them, lowering your wanted level after so many cars have been disabled
- Real-time weather effects, 24-hour day/night cycle
- Five instrumental radio stations
- Drug Dealing system gives the player a new way to make fast money where they buy/sell six different drugs to make a profit
- Any completed mission can be replayed from the player's safehouse. (Vice City Stories had this feature, but was limited to viewing the cutscenes and The Ballad of Gay Tony had this feature without opportunity to view cutscenes)
- Certain actions trigger touch screen mini-games anywhere from hotwiring a parked car to throwing change in a toll both to assembling a sniper rifle prior to an assassination
- The player can play scratch cards to earn extra money, weapons, and even a house.
- The player can use gas stations to assemble Molotov cocktails.
- The player can recruit gang members.
- The player can now earn money by giving people tattoos.
- Local co-op and other multiplayer modes
- Rockstar Social Club using internet connection, allowing the player to unlock some missions and trade item as well as recording statistics.
Graphics & Controls
- Top-down camera angle with 360 degree swivel
- Cel-shaded polygons w/ black borders
- The GPS / map system is "identical" to GTA IVs in appearance and functionality
- Good touch-screen implementation - "tasteful" minigames, streamlining interface
- UI based on a PDA - hub for email, contacts, map, music player, GPS, stat-tracking
- Finger-sized icons
- Aiming with control pad, auto targeting with R button
- No problems with load times, draw-in or frame rate
- Lots of pedestrians, cars, etc. on screen
- New discoveries (such as gas stations) are added to the map
- Subtle auto steer
- Like other GTA games, in Chinatown Wars, you can catch a taxi - whistle into the microphone or hold the X button so the taxi will stop
- The Rhino returns
- Trains passing overhead, as well as circling cars and pedestrians
- The Speeder Boat returns
- Minigun and Flamethrower are now included
- Ammu-Nation has gone online. You order weapons with your PDA and they show up at your safehouse
- Grenades and Molotovs are thrown using the touch screen - you touch one and drag it, with an indicator on the top screen (where the action is) showing you where it's going to land
- The A button is used to fire weapons
- One minigame involves assembling all of the parts of a Sniper Rifle with the touch screen, before using it to assassinate a designated target
- All weapons exept for thrown weapons have lock-on capabilities