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Useful but not essential for PS3
on 24 May 2010
After a long wait, Rockstar finally saw sense and released these two games for the PS3, and as I would normally do I invested in the strategy guide to help me get 100%, not being the world's best gamer. Normally I would hold these up as essential in beating every element required to achieve completion, even after the experience I had a few years back with the Vice City Stories and San Andreas guides for the PS2 where there were a few inconsistencies in maps etc.
However, especially in relation to The Ballad of Gay Tony (this guide covers both it and "the Lost and the Damned") I wouldn't really have this down as totally essential. Because, unlike other GTA games, TBOGT requires the player to get 100% in all missions by fulfilling some criteria that are based on skill, not simply finding stuff or making stunt jumps- for example there is a mission where you have to shoot four bolts on a NOOSE APC underneath a helicopter. It took me long enough simply to nail all four expending a whole load of ammo- to get 100% in that mission you had to do it in 4 shots, so while the guide can tell you that is what you have to do, it is still down to the player to carry out the task, which I will probably find impossible. Therefore, since an in-game screen at the end of the mission will tell you what you need to do to achieve 100% the guide is not necessary in that regard, except perhaps as a reminder.
The other issue in relation to TBOGT is that the seagulls map has an error- it claims(with a screenshot) that there is a seagull in one place which is wrong- obviously, me being me, I always assume it is my mistake and that I am doing something wrong, but a quick check of the seagull finder on the GTA IV site allowed me to find the missing one that was not marked on the map and discard the incorrectly marked one. Perhaps this is a difference between the PS3 and Xbox version, or perhaps it is a deliberate mistake to help identify any online copyright infringements, but again since the info required was easily (and more accurately) available online it goes some way to proving that it is not really necessary to purchase this guide.
Saying that, it is useful to have everything together even with the errors, but if money is tight for you I would suggest that it is possible to get full trophies and 100% using only in-game and online sources. Also note that throughout the guide it does refer to Xbox controls only, but this should not have an impact on PS3 users since apart from the one seagull, I found it corresponded to every other element I came across.