Sunday, October 31, 2010

Grand Theft Auto IV : Episodes from Liberty City Review

Grand Theft Auto IV : Episodes from Liberty City Review
By Rita S



Grand Theft Auto or GTA IV was another addition to the majorly popular series made by Rockstar Games. There was so much to do in GTA IV and to this very day we are still going back to that game for a nice bit of free roam or whatever online multiplayer game tickled your fancy. Later on down the track Rockstar released another two brand spanking new episodes in GTA IV – Episodes from Liberty City which are titled; ‘The Lost and the Damned’ and ‘The Ballad of Gay Tony’.



Both episodes are once again in Liberty City (Obviously) and are placed alongside the original GTA IV storyline. The episodes are downloadable via Xbox Live Marketplace or available on disk and do NOT require GTA IV to function.


Both episodes adapt the exact same core elements of gameplay and controls so all of us GTA elders can adapt easily to the game or right away. For those whom have not played this game before it will give you a run through of the controls so you don’t have to stress at all. If you want to get into detail within the game then it does help if you have played GTA just before as there are subtle connections between GTA IV and the two episodes. Clearly it is not essential to know the links between the two but they are there just incase you did.


If you want to go from old to new then start with the Lost and the Damned which was released eight months before The Ballad of Gay Tony. In The Lost and the Damned you gain the role of Johnny Klebitz, you are a highly regarded member of the Lost biker gang and you often conflict with the leader Billy Grey. Johnny Klebitz sees no real need to go to war with the gang’s rivals titled The Angels of Death. Having said that, when in conflict, you do most of the killing... Can the Lost biker gang survive?


All the weapons that were in GTA IV are in both episodes but there are the addition of some new weapons to this episode that include; grenade launchers, pipe bombs and shotguns. As you are a gang of bikers most of the combat is done from your bike which was not a feature of GTA IV.


Another feature that has been incorporated into both episodes is a checkpoint system for each mission. Some of the missions are quite tedious and take quite some time to complete as they can involve riding to locations that are far away before your real mission gets underway. It’s nice to know that a game developer has addressed a key issue in a game, in GTA IV you could get to the last point of a mission but it would feel like it was all for nothing thanks you a cop killing you with a single bullet and having to repeat the mission all over again resulting in rage quitting. With these episodes if you die you only have to start over from the last checkpoint you successfully completed, thank-goodness!


Between the two episodes The Ballad of Gay Tony has many more different missions rather than The Lost and the Damned which is much alike GTA IV. You get to ride around with your gang members and some missions you will have to collect people, for much of the time you will feel like you are playing as Niko Bellic (The main character of GTA IV for those who don’t know). Don’t get me wrong though, both episodes are very fun, very fun indeed.


If you have played GTA previously then you may notice that Klebitz and Bellic cross paths occasionally, it’s nice to see a mutual connection between two characters. The Ballad of Gay Tony does an even more superior job of referencing characters between the two games both in cut scenes and missions. Luis Lopez, the role you play as in The Ballad of Gay Tony is somehow different from the other two characters I have mentioned. Lopez is a full time assistant to Tony Prince whom is better known as Gay Tony. Tony adds glitz and glam to the game with a chain of nightclubs. Players will have a battle on their hands with the contending devotion to both family and friends, in the episode players will learn who is true, fake and that everyone has a cost to you no matter how big or small. Lopez can be rented out to kill and does some drug dealing also and just like him there are a few new added features that will have players drooling.


Parachutes are the most prominent feature of The Ballad of Gay Tony, although there aren’t heaps of missions that will use them but when they are used gosh its fun! As a matter of fact, it’s fair to say that some of the missions that use them are the best missions that you will experience in this episode. There are specific controls that are used to control your gliding Lopez which are easy enough to handle and in some missions you will find that you need to land on targets such as moving vehicles. Other than that you will encounter many mini-game activities such as a drinking game or you can try your luck at dancing which will then involve getting lucky with a lady in the bathroom. If you want more then try your luck at the driving range or even compete in the cage fighting championship, the main point is, there are never dull moments in these episodes. In The Lost and the Damned there are also a multitude of minigames such as arm wrestling, hi-lo card games and air hockey.  


Once you feel like a break from the storylines there are online multiplayer modes for us to indulge in. The Lost and the Damned has seven modes and has the usual deathmatch, team deathmatch and race. Besides that, there are some much more interesting one of my favourites is Chopper vs. Chopper; in this mode one player rides a bike to a checkpoint where the other player controls a helicopter with a gun and has to shoot them down before arriving at the checkpoint. Another few fun modes are Witness Protection, in this mode one player is a bus driver and a team of police must protect him from being killed by a group of bikers. Club Business will also have you glued to your screen for ages, in this mode you and seven others become a biker gang and complete missions cooperatively.


In the Ballad of Gay Tony it only has four online game modes which are just enhanced versions of GTA IV, in deathmatch and team deathmatch you get such weaponry such as sticky bombs, shotguns with explosive rounds and sniper rifles. In race mode and GTA race mode they feature new street race modes also each player can drive a tank, which adds to a joyful time.



Summary: Both episodes are amazing to play whether you are new to GTA or not. Rockstar upped the ante of all that you can do in each episode. Both offer a very different story and are both worth giving a shot, not to mention that the stories and the characters are memorable more so than GTA IV. The online multiplayer modes tie the episodes up nicely for a very enjoyable gaming session overall. They are really worth the money if you want to get back into the amazing GTA. The only downfall is that the graphics of GTA are just starting to look a little past their use by date but it’s easily overlooked. Now we can fall in love with Liberty City all over again.


Rating: 9.5 / 10

15 comments:

  1. Great review, I love the episodes, they added so much into the same city and kept it fresh. Love Rockstar.

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  2. I was a huge fan of GTA back in the years of Vice City, but since then I can't bring myself to like a Rockstar release =(

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  3. I really still need to finish the main game...

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  4. This looks very promising, your reviews are the best!

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  5. Well written review, definitely informative. I look forward to your next one!

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  6. I am certain that my XBOX RRODed because of the first GTA4 DLC.

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  7. i think you need to make some new posts

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