This could have been another 1 star review moaning about copy protection, bugs, system requirements and stability. Took over an hour to install, sign into all the online services, crash, reinstall with updates. My reward for this was a slideshow on the detected graphic settings and sub Playstation 2 graphics if I knocked back the detail. This was on an i5 PC with 4G of RAM and a Radian 5770 1G graphic card. But I stuck with it, loading the latest drivers, upping the texture quality and dropping the water quality and draw distance and finally managed to get it to run properly. Then I could appreciate the games.
I loved both games, especially The Lost and Damned that has to be the best biker game since LucasArts "Full Throttle". With its grimy atmosphere, "Road Rash" like races and gang wars I found it very satisfying with an interesting story, great handling bikes and plenty to do around Liberty City. The Ballad of Gay Tony takes longer to get going but is also great fun with excellent voice acting. It is the attention to detail Rockstar put in though and the sheer amount going on, which is highlighted by the length on the list of contributers at the end. The radio stations continue to provide outrageous dialogue and great music although it is a bit of a worry that the television in Luis Lopez's apartment is more interesting to watch than my own!
These are great games but far too much hassle to install on the PC platform. The review was saved in the end by riding the streets of Liberty City with my brothers to the sound of Def Lepard "A Touch Too Much". Computer games do not get more satisfying than that to an old biker!
Excellent, excellent, excellent. That's the personal review over.
Two games both with different stories based in the same city as GTAIV and there's nothing bad about that. Graphically its the same as GTAIV - excellent. Maybe somebody has experienced this little nag I have. I have quite a high end machine and it handled GTAIV without a hitch but in this game when I am on water or near water the frame rate drops a little. Not a problem just thought I would throw it out and see if anybody else has had this problem. Sound is fantastic, every detail of the city life is alive. Now to the games.
Ballad of Gay Tony...by far the better game. Excellent story line with good characters. Remember in GTAIV there was Ricky Gervais in the comedy club? Now we have Omid Jhalili doing the voice for one of the main characters Yusif. Funny stuff.
The Lost and Damned...good game but not in the class of Gay Tony.
Both stories tie in nicely with the GTAIV story. Nico and Roman make a couple of appearances and Brucie returns with his older bully brother. Luis (main character in Gay Tony) ribs him a lot about his size and over-tanned body. "Shut up you orange imp". There is a mission with Brucie and his brother towards the end of the Gay Tony game. There is an excellent racing game where you sky dive then get in a boat and finally race to the finish in a car.
What's new? New games include arm wrestling, cards and cage fighting. A few new weapons appear which are very good. Some new cars are included and unlike in GTAIV where you have to wait a few missions to get your hands on a decent fast car, they are available almost from the beginning. The 'check point' system is a huge relief. In GTAIV some missions required you to drive across the entire city to get to the mission and if you failed you would have to start all over again - another long drive. In these two games if you fail a mission it takes you back to the start of the mission action (you don't have to drive all over again). After completing missions you can replay them for better results by accessing them from your phone.
All in all for £15 you can't go wrong. One good game and one great game. GTAIV fans will love it.
Update - My brother a 'console is King' person had only played this game on the Xbox because he said keyboard and mouse was too much hassle. I bought an Xbox controller for PC (also works on Xbox) from Amazon plugged it into my PC, instantly recognised and installed without drivers, loaded this game and my brother was in heaven. He had Xbox controls on a PC game which graphically blows the Xbox out of the water.
Like so many others I have seen the natural progression of GTA with every version getting better. I have to admit that I was initially disappointed with GTA IV. I expected a bigger map, this was smaller, I expected to see plenty more aircraft, bikes and other modes of transport, but there wasn't and the fitness challenges were gone. With that I set off on a bit of a downer with the game and felt a bit cheated.
A few weeks into the game and I started to get into it, There were a few nice additions, like shooting sea gulls - damn pests more base jump challenges, drug wars that got harder the more you went at it. Biggest change here was the choice of stories to follow. These weren't just skin changes with the same games, but a whole set of different challenges and a different character story, which I believe is very much part of the game and how you come to engage with your character.
Some nice enhancements like the mobile phone, being able to quickly restart a failed mission, auto game save when a mission is complete - so no limping back to the safe house. You can call a taxi and get taken quickly to another part of the map or you can take a guided tour of the island in a helicopter - or just take it and fly around yourself.
As natural progression of the series goes, it is a bit of a let down, but if you think of it as a side step, then it is just as playable and just as enjoyable as the previous versions.
If you played and enjoyed GTA 4 or San Andreas you'll enjoy this. Great stories / missions, funny in places and superb graphic with plenty of game play. Admitted, the games, even together, aren't as long as GTA 4 main plot but still great value for money.
The Ballad of Gay Tony was the first episode I played through, and also seems to be the longer of the two. I finished it in about two days, and I was really buzzed to be playing some new content within gta 4 which I really enjoyed and have replayed so many times. The missions are fun and link into the original story, showing Niko and other characters. The added night life is also fun, you can dance in clubs and have drinking games which often lead to waking up in some unusual situations. You are also able to play as a bouncer in the clubs. I thought Yusef was a funny character. 5/5
The Lost and Damned is a good game also, but I felt disappointed when comparing it to the other. It also was shorter to me as I finished the entire game in one sitting which lasted just over 400 minutes according to Steam. The bike handling improvments are good, but are flawed too. In one of the missions which involved chasing bikers I ran out of ammo so I stole a car to ram them and it was impossible. The characters were not as likeable (in my opinion) as the ones in The Ballad of Gay Tony, however in this game you seem to interact with the original games characters alot more which actually answers a few questions from the original gta 4 game.
If you're a fan of GTA you will enjoy it, you're paying £15 for two games so you cant go wrong!
EFLC does require you to install the same Rockstar Social Club and Windows Live that the main GTA IV did, however there is an option to run in "offline" mode when playing the single player campaign. (DVD required in drive).
Two campaigns, in terms of length probably about the same as a city section from previous GTA's though with a bit of padding - in LAD you get gang wars and in BGT there's snatching drugs from rival distributors to flesh out the main story missions. The social interaction with other characters is still a feature but can be ignored unless you're questing for 100% completion.
Now GTA isn't known for its high moral stance and there's little change here. Very adult themes running through both stories and definitely not one the kids should be playing. Lots of "F" and even a few "C" bombs in there, plus the infamous brief male full frontal scene.
The difficulty level ramps up fairly quickly in both stories. I started out with the biker gang story in Lost and Damned. Now I admit to quite liking the character of Johnny Klebitz, nowhere near as grim as Niko in GTA IV and I loved the little one liners particularly during the bike chases. However - and without giving away the story - I felt the sequencing of the story was a bit out. Even without having read a guide or FAQ beforehand, you can see where things are going and that gives little incentive to pursue the side missions and towards the end I just wanted to finish off the story. I also found many of the missions lacked imagination - ride to a location an take out several enemy waves or fight through a warehouse or building then have to evade a 3 star wanted level.
Turning to BGT, the first thing that is stands out is the "pink" tint on everything, even down to the onscreen text and GPS trails on the map. It's important to note that the character you play (Luis) is (so far as I can tell) straight, but just a word of warning that confirmed hetero's such as myself may find the "gay" settings and references a bit awkward or squirmish. Rockstar also seem determined to push the conroversy envelope, the first proper mission puts you in a dance club where, if you successfully complete a dancing mini-game, you promptly escort a female character to the toilets for a quickie. Classy. (Although maybe there's a hidden message too - after subsequent romantic encounters, Luis mutters about getting a penicillin shot!). Anyhow, if anything, BGT throws even tougher missions at you from a very early stage. To offset that, you do get access to better weapons and higher rewards much earlier but having to play a mission several times just to advance the story doesn't encourage you to try the new feature of replaying a completed mission for a higher score. There's a bit more variation and interest in the BGT missions but many still amount to the same old gunfight and/or police chase.
I actually broke off replaying GTA:SA to do EFLC but in truth I really can't wait to get back to the older game. I don't know what plans Rockstar have (if any) for future GTA's but IMHO they need to take a long hard look at the conceptualisation. While still enjoyable, the same old same old is getting a bit tired - at times it was more of a chore playing through compared to titles such as Fallout 3 or Oblivion with a more dynamic, RPG or open ended approach. I very much wanted to award EFLC 4 stars but in truth it's closer to 3 stars.
Assuming you have already played at least one Grand Theft Auto game this is more of the same.
Two additional mission packs that are both stand alone themselves and from the main adventures of Niko Belic in the GTA4 itself. However both tie in and you will see some familar scenes from another angle if you have played the main game first.
The graphics remain good, the in car entertainment has a couple of new radio stations, adverts and news stories but isnt completely re-recorded.
The Lost and the Damned is the story of a biker gang, but thankfully the Bike controls have been improved since the first game so are a little easier to control.
The Second Ballad of Gay Tony is in my opinion the best of the two, tieing into the lost diamonds story from the first game.
If you enjoyed any of the other games then no reason that you wont enjoy this one, but if not this isnt the place to start and isnt going to convert anyone that hated previous versions.
First things first, the packaging was excellent, easy to open and easy to install. It was a bit lengthy on time though... For best ease of gameplay, have a computer controller aswell instead of the keyboard otherwise it will leave you with 20 - 30 buttons to remember. Speed of gameplay and quality will vary with your computers statistics. E.g. Memory, speed etc. The best parts are: - Driving (Easy controls, detailed style) - Vehicles (Detail of vehicles, easy to compare to real vehicles, realistic damage) - Combat (Realistic explosions, gunfire, sound effects and weapons, not forgetting gore!) - Detail (Just truely AMAZING graphics on the right PC)
Downsides: - Swimming (Can't dive underwater) - No garages (So if you have a vehicle for keeps, you can't permanently have it) - Camera angle (Some might find the way the cameras move when in motion annoying/unhelpful)