Published on April 29th, 2010 | by prime0
GTA: Episodes from Liberty City
Summary: Rockstar have really outdone themselves, producing more of a love letter to their fans than a game
It’s been a long time coming but finally us PC gamers get a chance to experience the complete GTA IV universe, just as Rockstar intended. ‘Ballad of Gay Tony’ and ‘Lost and Dammed’ each contribute their own gameplay and plots to the franchise but both are in stark contrast to one another. Let’s take a look at them in chronological order of their release…
Lost and Dammed features veritable rough rider Johnny Klebitz and his efforts to keep his biker gang on the straight and narrow (soft of) after its original leader returns – a meth addicted monster who is as sociopathic as he’s destructive. If we’re being totally honest, then you’ll find that the plot provides most of the enjoyment while the gameplay still has that familiar GTA IV feel, so it’s more restrained and grittier than the series forebears.
Ballad of Gay Tony on the other hand is completely different proposition; the colorful antidote to Johnny’s luckless desperation. This time players assume the role of Luis Lopez, the likeable business partner of a nightclub owner. Inevitably, Tony gets involved with a smorgasbord of organized criminals, which you’ll have to constantly bale out. It’s here where Rockstar have really outdone themselves, producing more of a love letter to their fans than a game, with oft-requested additions like basejumping, rocket-firing helicopters and even tank! The story is much sillier (but also in a very good way) yet still captivating, especially when you run into a pair of likeable idiots like Yusuf Amir and Morie Kibbitz – Brucie’s brother. Niko’s merry band really has nothing on these guys.
This standalone package is truly unmissable for anyone who enjoyed Niko’s story. It improves that game’s shortcomings, packing a whole host of improvements including better handling for bikes and a wider selection of vehicles which you’ll eventually grow accustomed to.
There are some optimization issues though, like occasional texture pop-in, and some of the new activities aren’t very friendly to mouse controls. These sorts of issues would usually be a big no-no for us, but the episodic stories are so enjoyable that needing to use a gamepad is actually a worthwhile sacrifice. The video editor is also a nice platform-exclusive and easy to use.
This compilation represents a great deal for fans. It features more of those moments which this infamous series is known for and makes Liberty City much more interesting. Essential.