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02/17/09 Rockstar Games
02/17/09 Rockstar Games
02/17/09 Rockstar Games

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Review: Grand Theft Auto IV: The Lost and Damned

By Miles Taven 23rd Oct 2009 | 3,084 views 

“We are brothers for life, lost forever”

When Microsoft first announced its exclusive deal with Rockstar Games, all the way back at E3 2006, nobody was quite sure what that meant for gamers. We were quickly assured this wouldn’t be your standard 'extra few weapons and cars' DLC, instead it would feature entirely new gameplay. After a delay or two, and almost a year after the release of the main game, the Lost and Damned finally released on XBL, and changed our perceptions of what DLC really was.

So, the question on everybody’s lips was: 'who’s the new leading man?' Well, his name is Johnny Klebitz and he’s the vice president and acting leader of “The Lost MC”, also known as “the Lost”. It’s not long before you meet the President of the gang, Billy Grey, who’s fresh out of rehab, presumably rehabilitated. He isn’t exactly happy with the way Johnny’s been running things, making pacts with rival gangs (namely “The Angel’s Of Death”) in order to deal with business more freely, so he reverts things back to the old ways; the ways that nearly ruined and financially crippled the gang. Also on the scene is Johnny’s mess of an ex-girlfriend Ashley, who seems to be constantly off her face on drugs and always getting into trouble. The story, as you might expect, takes a few twists and turns, but I’ll leave them for you to discover yourself. A nice touch for TLAD is that it doesn’t take place before or after Nico Bellic’s journey, rather, alongside it. Some missions will be entwined with a few from the main game, such as Roy Boccino's Diamond mission. It’s great to see how these missions pan out from a different angle.

First thing I noticed when I started playing was the gritty, black paint splash “theme”, which features on the HUD and the game menus. It’s a nice touch that I didn’t expect. The game itself looks like it has more of a grain effect, which I found odd, but it’s not too noticeable and not bad in any way, though I can’t quite make out why it was made like that. Plenty of new songs have been added to various radio stations, I didn’t hear any new Laslow though! Most of the new songs fit the theme of the main game, which is to be expected, and the voice acting doesn't disappoint.

The gameplay hasn’t been massively shaken up, as you can imagine, however a few enhancements and tweaks have been made, and all for the better. Ever got towards the very end of a tiring mission, only to be killed, sent straight back to the start of the mission and have to endure playing the exact same scenario all over again? Not anymore! At least not in TLAD. This comes in the shape of mid-mission checkpoints, normally after a cut scene. Although the DLC doesn’t add this feature to the main game, it’s still very welcome! As you progress through the game you acquire the ability to call for back up, should things ever get too difficult for you to handle on your own. Clay and Terry will be your assistance. You can also build up their toughness, increasing their health and weapon skills, making them pretty strong.

Gang Wars add to the DLC's value. There are three different variations, all of which you will already have experience with. The first is a set location, with around 20+ rival gang members to dispose of. Next is the “Cruising War”, where you have to take down a gang on the move. Lastly we have another chase, but this time there is one enemy you can’t let escape. I might add, for every successful gang war you complete, new weapons will spawn in safe homes. Also available, as you might already have guessed, are races. A nice addition to these, should you be so callous and unfair, is the ability to hit other racers off their bikes with a baseball bat. Who said life was fair?! Oh, one more thing, seagulls replace those awful pigeons.

The new weapons are a pleasant surprise. There are six in total. I always expected new weapons, ever since the DLC was announced, but I never expected them to be this fun! Pipe bombs are a bit like grenades, unfortunately they don’t act like those in Left 4 Dead, they are however good for taking out clusters of enemies. The Assault Shotgun AKA the “Street Sweeper” packs one almighty punch. There isn’t anything this baby can’t take down; it's probably the best new weapon on offer. The other weapons are a Pool Cue (plays out like a baseball bat), a Grenade Launcher, Sawn-off Shotgun and an Automatic 9mm Pistol which is much improved over the original. Over 20 new vehicles are also available, most of them bikes unsurprisingly, but they all seem to handle a lot better than those in the main game, which was one of my main gripes with the main game. Multiplayer has also been mixed up. Several modes have been removed and replaced. One new mode features the cleverly named Chopper VS Chopper battle, where a lone biker is pitted against a fully armed attack helicopter, and the biker has to survive for as long as he can.

There are 22 main missions to TLAD, pretty impressive for DLC. Add to that a few side missions. Depending on how focused you are on the story, you can get 10+ hours out of this. The new story and gameplay alone is worth the 1600 Microsoft points ($20) being asked of you. The new weapons, vehicles, multiplayer modes, side missions and replayability of the game just make up the rest of what’s an awesome piece of DLC. For any Grand Theft Auto IV fans out there, this is a must have. The Lost and Damned is leading the way in what DLC can achieve and it’s worth every penny. TLAD is available on XBL now, or you can pick up the retail copy of Liberty City Stories (which also includes the Ballad of Gay Tony) on the 29th.

VGChartz Verdict


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Opinion (11)

AlkamistStar posted 04/11/2009, 05:25
Love the Episodes. I didn't buy the CD, because i got this game as DLC. So why not Gay Tony also? Either way, loving these titles.
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d21lewis posted 23/10/2009, 09:50
I'll play it when I buy "Episodes".
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piggychan posted 23/10/2009, 11:40
well they could but then Microsoft did give out $50 million to R* for the extra content..
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SlinkyStudio posted 23/08/2009, 02:21
Why not bring this out on the PS3?
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piggychan posted 10/04/2009, 02:00
I just noticed the new songs and radio commentary on this.. also if you go back to the original GTAIV you can hear the new songs and stuff along with the original DJ chat and songs on there too.
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nordlead posted 06/03/2009, 04:45
arg, how did this get stuck as a X360 game. This should be XBL.
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