Given the fanatical popularity that Grand Theft Auto had, it’s a wonder why it took so long for a similarly conceptualized game to make its way to our lovely iDevices. Gameloft’s Gangstar: West Coast Hustle has done just that, and opens you up to a Miami-esque landscape chocked full of gangs, guns, loot and plenty of latino flavor to keep you busy for hours.
The game whisks you around town as an ex-con, engaging in countless drug and gang fight scenarios earning cash and increasing your badass infamy all the while. To complete your missions, you are able to use a decent selection of weaponry and drive more cars than you can shake a stick at. The more missions you complete, the more cash you earn and the more successful you become in this shameless romp n stomp sandbox game that will look and feel very familiar and thus quite comfortable to most gamers out there.
Gangstar offers a bevy of customization options that will allow most players to make the experience as enjoyable as they want it to be. Driving can be done one of three ways, though the default accelerometer controls seem to work best. Additionally, when cruising the strip in your vehicle of choice, you are able to play the game’s rather fitting built-in soundtrack or load your own songs from your iPod and listen as you ride. Sweet.
As you progress in the game, you are able to purchase a predictable but satisfying variety of weapons with which you can slay your enemies and/or the innocent prostitutes galavanting about town.
The game features six different chapters to plow through, all of which would take the average player roughly 7-8 hours to complete. Along the way there are also a whole bunch of achievements to, well, achieve for all those completionists out there.
Right from the start, the controls in this game are very intuitive and feel natural, so walking around and fighting adversaries is nice and easy with no learning curve in sight. Can’t all gang warfare be this user-friendly?
Driving is a bit of a Herculean task at first, but with a little practice it becomes second nature to most. The game is also rather easy on the eyes. Bright colors and pristine vistas help make the game nice to look at, which most people will appreciate right out the gates.
The missions aren’t very challenging initially, and the game does a great job easing players into the experience feature by feature so that anyone can have a good understanding of the game before the bullets really start flying.
There are several facets of this game that leave room for significant improvement. The character models are very blocky, leaving me reminiscing about my 007: Goldeneye days (Miss you, Natalya) when N64 was king. Also, the building artwork is pixelated and wildly unrealistic. This is easy to get past though, because after a couple of missions as you’ll simply get used to it all.
Driving in itself presents a whole laundry list of improvements that could be implemented. The vehicle damage is minimal and almost nonexistent, as the car will simply start smoking if you abuse it enough.
Also, in these types of games I want to be able to barrel through telephone poles, potted plants, etc. But instead these items bring my vehicle to a halt, making driving very frustrating at times. On that note, the accelerometer steering controls can sometimes be a bit too sensitive, rendering high speeds and accurate driving nearly impossible.
The missions are also slightly repetitive and get old after a while, but they’re differentiated enough that it keeps you intrigued without too much of a fuss.
Gangstar is fun. It isn’t as deep and interesting as its Grand Theft Auto predecessors, but it holds it’s own given the platform limitations the iPad presents. Don’t go into this app with incredibly high expectations and your experience will be more than satisfactory. There’s a kooky, crime-infused storyline to follow, which is just enough to give you an intermittent chuckle and lets you know what exactly is going on. There’s also plenty of gameplay to enjoy and nice scenery to gawk at, so it’s certainly worth checking out.
With an AppAdvice rating of 4.0, Gangstar is a should buy, especially if you feel like your iPad could use some sprucing up in the games department. That being said, what are you waiting for?